As the Director of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Program and as a Spiritual Leader at Kehilla, I have had the honor and joy of witnessing the multitude of emotions that accompany rites of passage, and the joy and trepidation of stepping into something new. Over the past 16 years, I’ve participated with hundreds of families on this journey, and now it’s my turn to share a transition with you.
Beginning this fall, I am sharing my duties as Bar/Bat Mitzvah Program Director with Natalie Boskin. Unfortunately, I have chemical sensitivities that have been affecting my health and cognitive abilities, and I need to spend limited time in some environments, including Kehilla’s building. While this has been frustrating to discover, it has also been very liberating, as I now understand the reason for some of the challenges I have been experiencing and can finally find ways to move forward.
While I deeply feel the sadness of this loss, I’m also filled with joy and pride that Natalie Boskin has taken over some of my duties. Natalie was my Bat Mitzvah student a number of years ago and we had a wonderful time learning and laughing together. In fact, it was in my living room that we, along with Natalie’s study partner, Zoe Leonard-Monrad, came up with the movements for Modeh/ah Ani that are now enjoyed beyond the walls of Kehilla.
After graduating from college, Natalie returned to Kehilla and began teaching her own Bat Mitzvah students, as well as working as the School Assistant. It soon became clear that Natalie would be the perfect fit to share my role. She knows the program from both ends, loves to grapple with Torah, and has fantastic organizational skills. We will be working as a team, with Natalie on site under my guidance. Her title is now Youth Programs Coordinator and I will continue to be the Director of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Program. I am continuing in my role as Spiritual Leader and am available to meet with congregants off-site. I will also be building my yoga teaching practice, with a focus on people with scoliosis and back issues (you can find out more about that at www.raziyoga.com).
I am grateful to Michael Saxe-Taller, Rabbi David, Rabbi Dev, Hazzan Shulamit, Sasha Gottfried and all the Bar/Bat Mitzvah teachers for helping to make this transition as smooth as possible. Every High Holy Days I stand on the bimah and I’m filled with awe as I look onto the congregation and see so many families who have participated in our Bar/Bat Mitzvah Program. At these moments I feel the power of participating in the modern version of a village. I continue to feel that I carry the love and support of this village everywhere I go.