There are so many thank yous for this incredible moment to come to fruition, people who expand the chambers of my heart, who have helped me grow along this journey ensuring that I can arrive here and now. Toda Raba for your wisdom, kindness and generosity of time and resources and love.
First and foremost, a Toda min Halev to Hakadosh Baruch Hu, for bringing me to this community of teachers, colleagues. People who I have tremendous respect for their avodah in this world and how they bring humanity, brilliance and compassion to everything they do. Thank you Rav Avi and Rabba Sara for your vision and devotion to us all.
Thank you to my family and friends for supporting me constantly in my “yeshiva-bachura” years from the vision to the fruition. You are the core reason that I am able to come to this work with strength and love, since with you I learned that this was a path I could take. Talking ideas through with you keeps me able to rise to the occasion again and again. And to my aba, Rabbi Ronnie Cahana, for being my spiritual mentor and chevrutah in the ways of the heart and soul.
To the people who brought me to the doors of Maharat:
Rabba Sara, Rabba Rachel Kohl Finegold, and Laura Shaw Frank. You all spoke to me with gentleness and firm eagerness as I was considering this path, making it more and more viable. You have opened up celestial gates for learning and transformation for me and I will not foget that toyva.
Rav Jeff- it is an honour to learn Torah from you. Your vast knowledge of Torah coupled with care for the personal is immense. Thank you for teaching us to detect the pastoral opportunity behind every shayla; I learned what it means to study halakha and live by it. And of course, your willingness to step outside of the box and think creatively in Halakha helps me also take bolder steps forward. Thank you for showing the way and being a Rav I can turn to with my shaylas. It’s wonderful to celebrate this day honouring you all the people and students you’ve touched!
Rabba Wendy: You open Torah with the keys of clarity and fun that will stay with me, always. You bring sincerity and earnestness in your teaching as much as in your insistence for adventure and seizing opportunities to learn from everyone around us! What a mentor!
Rabbanit Devorah: Thank you for seeing me where I was at, over and over again. I could turn to you in challenging moments, no words needed, but a whole world of communication between us. Thank you.
Thank you for all my teachers of Pastoral Torah: Dr. Esther Altmann, Rabbi Erin Leib Smokler, Dr. Caroline Peyser-Bollag. This world expanded my love for pastoral care and showed me the depths of human experience and how interconnected we are at all moments.
Rav Avi for teaching us the power of showing up with love and bravery. Maya Bernstein for sharing her wisdom, song and play. You both bring your heart to teaching in a way that opens the pathway for our hearts to be opened.
Rabbi Adam Mintz, Rabbanit Tanya Farber, Rabbanit Liz Shayne, all brilliant minds. Studying talmud with you was like looking at a detailed complicated map, where you show the beauty and clarity that is always waiting to be surfaced.
Thank you to everyone who keeps Maharat running and who have kept it running in the past: the administration, board and support staff. Amanda Schecter, Jennifer Feldman, Liz Offenbach, Kay Bros, Jude, Rachel Zorbaron, Erica Schwartz, Jacquelynn Burmester and many more.
Thank you to my fellow students, colleagues. I have tremendous gratitude for ways in which you continue to teach me. The varied interests and life experiences we all carry and yet how we can show up for each other like family. Thank you to my chevrutot I’ve learned with over the years and especially to Tamar Eisenstat. I now know what it means for someone to be the cornerstone. Thank you for trusting me and building with me a foundation for torah learning and a deep friend for life.
Thank you to my mentors through the years at Maharat in different placements. I learned so much by the way you lead with humility, kindness and boldness of vision: Rabbi Barry Dolinger, Elizabeth Ochs, Rabbi Lev Meirowitz Nelson, my peers and mentor in my chaplaincy training at NYU Langone.
And thank you to mentors who brought me to this moment, even before Maharat: Rabbi Aviva Richman, Jen Taylor Friedman, Prof. Barry Levy, Sonia Lypsic and Chaim Martello.
And thank you for the Dorot family. This year in Israel, exploring aspects of myself, and leadership that calls me; spirituality through art, song and community building was a tremendous gift that I will carry with me.