Washington Jewish Week Spotlights Rabbinical Student Mikey Hess Weber | Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

Washington Jewish Week Spotlights Rabbinical Student Mikey Hess Weber

News

By Carolyn Conte

Originally published in Washington Jewish Week on Feb. 20, 2020

mikey_hess_weber.jpg

Mikey Hess Weber

Mikey Hess Weber

Mikey Hess Weber, 34, is the spiritual leader of Towson University’s Hillel. Originally from Laurel, Weber lives in Hampden with her husband, Scott, and two cats. She commutes to Philadelphia to Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

“I wanted to work at Hillel, and now I’m finally doing it. It’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of,” she said. “Listening, building relationships, giving resources and texts along their Jewish journey.”

What made you decide to found and lead the Jewish Student Union on your college campus?

Hood College [in Frederick] was a Lutheran school. At the time there were not many Jews, like seven on campus. Looking back, it was not where I would have chosen because it did not have a Jewish community. I was active in my synagogue, and then in Hebrew school, until graduation. All of a sudden, I felt really lonely. I went to the campus chaplain one day. I really wanted to pull people together, build up a community, be connected, and have a way of celebrating Jewish time together. She worked with me and helped make that happen. By graduation there were 20 members, some non-Jewish who wanted to learn. We learned a lot together.

Your time at Kibbutz Ma’agan Michael left you with a lasting love for koi fish. What is the story there?

I moved to Israel when I was 26. There was something pulling me to Israel. I didn’t know anyone there but there was something waiting for me. I didn’t grow up in a Zionist home, my parents weren’t always talking about Israel, but all of a sudden I wanted to be there.

I fell in love with the kibbutz and stayed for about a year and a half. I enrolled in Ulpan, a Hebrew immersion program. Ulpan requires you to work [when you’re not learning Hebrew]. There’s a preschool, or the grocery store, for example. They posted a place at a fish farm, which nobody wanted. You had to work at 5 a.m. and wear these gigantic overalls, and go to the fish ponds and catch fish to inject them with antibiotics. In the end it turned out to be the best job. I especially loved working with the koi because they were just so beautiful.

What brought you to Towson’s Hillel, and what are your duties there?

Hillel is with young adults at the moment when they move out of their parents’ home and navigate personal identities, decide what’s important to them, what they want life to look like.

My job is to provide a pastoral presence. I am a resource that they can come and talk to me, and know I keep their confidence.

Second, I’m teaching Jewish learning. In a class with 10 students, we talk about questions that come up in college like relationships, roommates, grades, how to combat that stress with Shabbat.

We got a grant from Jewish Women’s International to do programming around gender equality. We’re also hoping to start a Rosh Chodesh [group], which is every time a new month starts. Women traditionally get together and meet and have practices such as a meditation circle. That time is used as a way to get female-identifying persons into the community.

More News

College News

In Seattle’s protest zone, rabbis at chaplaincy table create new rituals to heal - Rabbi David Basior ('15)

“I experienced curiosity about our presence,” Basior, the rabbi at Reconstructionist congregation Kadima, told The Times of Israel about that first night. “Someone came wanting a blessing. I asked a little about themselves and gave them a blessing. It was pretty ecumenical. They didn’t identify as Jewish and I didn’t ask.”

News
College News

Learning on the Job: RRC Students Provide Spiritual Counseling and Jewish Experience Online

As the coronavirus pandemic forced nearly all communal life online, RRC students drew on every aspect of their training and RRC’s support to serve in a radically changed environment.

News
College News

Yardley native finds faith, path to become rabbi

Nora Woods received her rabbinic ordination at a private and socially distanced ceremony at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote.

News
College News

Rabbi Solocheck ordained

Rabbi Lily Solochek, spiritual leader of Adas Yoshuron Synagogue in Rockland, on June 7 graduated from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

News
College News

Mazel tov to our New Rabbis

With great pride and joy, we introduce the rabbis of the graduating class of 2020/5780.

News
College News

Closing Circle Music Collaboration 5780 - Eilecha (from Psalm 30) by Adam Cerino Jones

In May 2020, three of our rabbinic students, Koach Baruch Frazier, Solomon Hoffman and Adam Cerino Jones, gathered video and audio from other members of College community to create this beautiful musical piece.

News
College News

Spotlight: Rabinnical Student Koach Baruch Frazier

I definitely want to continue to be with the people who, in my eyes, are neglected by spiritual caretakers — people of color, queer folks, people who are at the margins, disabled folks. How can I best support, particularly spiritually, the people who have for many years been neglected? So wherever that happens to be, that’s where I will be.

News
College News

The Four Children Of COVID-19

By Janine Jankovitz Pastor; Photo: eJewish Philanthropy

Originally published in eJewish Philanthropy on April 1, 2020

News
College News

How to Have a Kid-Friendly, Meaningful Virtual Seder - Rabbi Tamara Cohen ('14)

If members of your crew seem a bit disappointed that this year will be different than all the others, remind them that this whole scenario is actually kinda fitting: Mitzrayim means “narrow place.” “We’re experiencing narrowing very literally right now,” Cohen says. “What we can take from that is not just a message about our own longing for liberation, but our responsibility to help others who are in places of constriction. In many ways, it’s the right holiday to have this happen.” Look on the bright side!

News
College News

A Rabbi’s Cure for Coronavirus Anxiety - Rabbi Emily Cohen ('18)

“Now, I’m not a doctor, epidemiologist, sociologist, or psychologist. I’m a rabbi. I’m someone who does a lot of thinking about how to hold communities in moments of joy, fear, and pain — and, often, how to hold communities experiencing multitudes.”

News
College News

A Moment of Crisis Can be an Opportunity for Connection - Rabbi Ari Witkin ('19)

…we at the Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit, and the broad array of communal agencies we support, are grappling with what it means to navigate the programs and resources we offer amidst this unprecedented moment of public health concern.

News
College News

Rabbi Darby Leigh ('08) authors chapter in newly released book

Rabbi Leigh is one of few deaf rabbis in the world. As an expert in Torah, who has travelled extensively teaching Torah analysis, he could offer the full analysis of moving in deaf and non-deaf religious worlds.

News
College News

Rabbinical Student Koach Baruch Frazier named LGBTQ Jewish Hero by Keshet

“I express my Jewish identity at the synagogue, at work as I serve people and my community, and through my social justice activism.” This includes drumming for justice “using my djembe — an African drum — that provided the cadence, much like a heartbeat, to help us as we marched in Ferguson.”

News
College News

Rabbi Sandra Lawson (’18) named LGBTQ Jewish Hero by Keshet

“We are raising a generation of Jews to look past whomever their grandfathers’ rabbis were. One of the things I want the larger Jewish community to understand is that rabbis today are a diverse group. Many are people of color. Many are not straight. Many might be married to non-Jews. My difference, my diversity, is helping people become aware of that.”

News
College News

Rabbi Sharon A. Kleinbaum ('90) Appointed to US Commission on International Religious Freedom

“We welcome the appointment of Rabbi Kleinbaum to USCIRF.” said Chair Tony Perkins. “Rabbi Kleinbaum is a widely recognized leader in both faith and politics, which will make her a great asset in the complex environment in which we advocate for communities and individuals around the world who are discriminated against or persecuted for their beliefs.”

News