About me +

 

MY PATH TO PRACTICE. 

Judaism holds an important place in my life, and I tend to see things through a Jewish lens. It’s been that way ever since I was a teenager when I tutored b’nai mitzvah students while in high school. I’ve worked for Jewish organizations for most of my life, ranging from camps, synagogues and non-profit organizations. Looking back, it was the immersive experiences that made the difference in how I felt about being Jewish. I’m a first generation American, and though my parents z”l were not particularly religious, their personal experiences both before, during, and after the Holocaust played a large part in how they translated Judaism for themselves and us once they came to America. Their losses and mine had a huge impact on me and my sense of social justice.

I find it hard to define myself simply, not for any egotistical reasons, but because my varied interests have carried me into different career territory. I resist the one word answer to “So, what do you do?” because at different points in my life, I’ve been a teacher, consultant, counselor, writer, and artist….and continue to use the skills gained in those fields in my work.

As a Jewish education professional, I work with organizations to help them identify and train their future leaders, conduct effective outreach activities, and work on getting the resources they need to carry out a plan of growth. You can read more about that here.

WHERE IS JUDAISM HEADED? 

We all share in a response to that question, since Judaism is us.  Where are you headed in your spiritual journey? Do you have goals for yourself that involve something greater than the everyday? If you are curious about the future of Judaism and Jewish practice, I hope you read my blog. I will talk about the change that needs to happen (outreach, leadership development, new ways of doing things) and how you might play a role in that. I’ll also share ideas, tips, and tools that you might be able to use in your programs, organizations, or synagogues. I hope you get inspired to ‘Reclaim Judaism’ as the vibrant, exciting opportunity it is for those who want it to be part of their lives. I also think that reaching out to the under-affiliated is hugely important.

WHY I HAVE GRATITUDE 

I’m happy to hear that my blog posts have made the rounds to Boards of Director meetings, Education Committee meetings, and more. I hope that some of these posts stimulated more conversations about Jewish education and practice. If so, please let me know, I would love to connect with you. My request is that you attribute properly, and include links to this blog’s home page or other content.  Please share your successes with me and subscribe!

Is there a way that I can help you or your organization in any way?

Things I’ve done  

  • Developed new marketing materials and recruitment strategies for re-branding efforts, established new social media presence on several platforms
  • Trained future leaders for non-profit organizations
  • Wrote grants, negotiated articulation agreements with education providers resulting in over $175K gross revenue for institutions
  • Taught courses in Bible, Comparative Religion, Jewish Issues, Parenting, Jewish Values, and Jewish Identity
  • Edited a teacher aide curriculum, implemented in 3 schools within two years
  • Developed concept for and created new membership groups
  • Wrote curricula and teachers guides for middle-school/teen population: “Prophets Guide to Saving Society”, “Superstars of the Bible”,”LogIn to the Bible”, “Friending God”

I’ve worked in many types of non-profit and Jewish organizations. 

Currently, I am the Director of Leadership Training and Development for a Jewish educational non-profit. Previously, I directed one of the largest supplementary high schools in North America (15 years) and supervised staff, created and conducted professional development workshops, worked in camping (17 years as camper, counselor, teacher, adviser, assistant director), planned and led service learning programs, developed and taught art and science workshops, conducted career development workshops, counseled individuals, and created and led outreach programs. I hope that my experience will add authenticity to my blog posts as they distill over 35 years of  experience working in these formal and informal settings. I would like you to journey with me as we envision a different future for the Jewish community.

Connect with me on Twitter: @ruthschapira

Advertisements

6 responses to “About me +

  • Elisa Heisma

    Hi! Very nice and helpful blog. One question do you accept submissions from other Jewish bloggers as guest writers?

    • Ruth Schapira

      Dear Elisa, Hi, thanks for writing and reading! Yes, I’d be happy to review what you’ve written via an e-mail and would certainly post here if it fits within the framework of this blog. ~Ruth

  • Ravit Bar-Av

    Dear Ruth,

    I have read many of your posts and as a mother of two Jewish/Israeli teens I have always relate to your optimistic concern about the future 🙂 For me, being Jewish is way beyond religion – just like you wrote in one of your recent blogs. I am trying to teach my kids that concept and hopefully with time and maturity it will sink. I also learned that for them, our visits to Israel are the most meaningful way to connect with their heritage and the best way to build their identity as individuals who belong to a much bigger entity. Recently I have learned about Naale Elite Academy http://www.elite-academy.org which is now also a program I represent in the US. Elite Academy is a HS initiative in Israel fully covered by the Israeli Education Ministry and the Jewish Agency, where Jewish kids entering 10, 11 and 12 grade can apply for studies in Israel. Families can choose the appropriate school according to their level of observance and their kids will learn Hebrew, acquire an Israeli HS diploma and will find that deep connection to their heritage. If any of your readers would like to learn more they are welcome to write me at naale.eusa@gmail.com
    As always, I look forward to your next post,

    L’Shalom,
    Ravit Bar-Av

    • Ruth Schapira

      Dear Ravit,
      Thank you for your interest in reading about Jewish teens. It sounds like you’re focused on teaching your kids all the right things, and your commitment through your actions and especially manifested in your choice of career, will teach them a whole lot about what’s important to you.
      Kol tuv,
      Ruth

  • rfaintich

    Ruth,

    If you would like to cross post your blog to the Kehillah Co-Operative (the new national virtual community for Jewish youth professionals) we would love for you to do so. (www.kehillahco-op.groupsite.com) Feel free to just copy/paste the content and note it as cross-posted in our Blog section.

    Kol haKavod,
    Robyn Faintich

    • Ruth Schapira

      Robyn, thanks so much, I totally forgot about registering for the kehillah site, but now I have! I look forward to seeing you there.
      Kol tuv, Ruth

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s