Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell, ’08: Institute for Jewish Spirituality and Orot: Center for New Jewish Learning
It has been incredibly gratifying to help nurture Jewish mindfulness practice on the local level, around Chicago, and on a national level. I am seeing how this work must be made manifest locally—where it can be integrated into the daily lives of the people in our communities⎯as well as nationally, where we can bring people together from across the country (the world, actually!), train teachers, and build resources and networks that can inform and support what is happening on the local level.
Sometimes when we are sitting together in meditation in the regular Tuesday night sessions at the Center for Jewish Mindfulness at Orot, I look around at the full room of people in meditation and realize, "We did it! We have created a real community of practice. It is diverse in age, gender and religious orientation, and yet we are one community. We have created a real, living resource for Jewish mindfulness meditation.”
Rabbi Renee Bauer, ’05 Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice of South Central Wisconsin
Our Sacred Scriptures teach us that we bring holiness into the world not only by praying and celebrating holidays, but also by creating a more just and equitable society and opening our hearts to those in need. When I first thought of being a rabbi, it was in the context of creating social change. At RRC, I learned how to think about my work on a variety of levels: historical, religious, textual and spiritual. This allows me to understand my nontraditional rabbinical work as a “real” rabbinical job. My training also gave me the basis to do the serious interfaith work I do, and to value it as important to the broader community.
Rabbi Elisa Goldberg ’99: Community Chaplain
I am blessed to help people find and name the sacred in their lives. Through compassionate listening, reflection and prayer, we bring out the holy in the mundane details of life. Recently, I was called to be at the bedside of an elderly woman who was dying. She was at peace with her life, but nervous about what was coming next. We talked about the journey of her soul through her long life and what she hoped was coming next. At the end, we held hands, looked into each other's eyes and chanted the shema. I was able to offer her a sacred vessel into which she could pour her powerful emotions and questions. She gave me the blessing of witnessing the beauty and dignity of the human spirit.