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

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

New Sacred Music Inspired By COVID - Rabbinical Student, Solomon Hoffman

Originally published in Religion Unplugged on April 7, 2021.

News
College News

The Forward Spotlights Rabbi Darby Leigh ('08)

“This has been 1000% my experience,” he continued. “I have continuously been aware on a daily basis of living in a society that is not set up to meet my needs. But this is true for so many people – gay, trans-, bi-. If you’re a person of color here you are not living in a world set up for you. If you are a person with a disability you know this society was not set up for you”

News
College News

Film chronicles the work of Rabbi Kevin Hale ('97)

The film follows the work that Hale, the Northampton rabbi, does to restore two Torahs that were among nearly 1,600 scrolls saved in Prague, capital of what was then Czechoslovakia, after World War II. Workers in a Jewish museum in the city had stored Torahs and other valuables from synagogues that had been shut down following the German occupation.

News
College News

Reconstructionist congregations partner across the miles - Rabbi Nitkin-Kaner ('16) and Rabbi Weissman ('17)

Little did these two rabbinical students imagine that within a decade they would bring together their Reconstructionist congregations — one located in Ann Arbor and one in Attleboro, Massachusetts — for joint worship services and holiday celebrations on a platform called Zoom.

News
College News

The Well & Jewish News’ 36 Under 36: Rabbi Ari Witkin ('19)

The great joy of his job is supporting Metro Detroiters leadership in the work of building and strengthening our community. In addition to his role at Federation, he currently serves as the part-time rabbi of Temple Beth Israel in Bay City.

News
College News

Rabbi Shira Stutman ('07): Hanukkah celebrates a Jewish victory, but this year the rebuilding matters more

It’s about that moment immediately after the Jews won — when, surveying the damage in their country and among their people, they realized how much work there was still to be done, and then chose to get up and start doing it. It is, in other words, the perfect allegory for the United States in 2020.

News
College News

How Faith Groups Are Bringing Sermons to Screens This Holiday Season - Rabbi Rachel Weiss ('09)

Rachel Weiss, a senior rabbi at the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, said her congregation has created meaningful ways to celebrate the holiday online. Together, they’ll be cooking latkes together, watching movies and lighting candles virtually. “Because we do it on Zoom, we have windows into everyone’s homes and it’s incredibly moving to be able to see candles lit all over,” Weiss said. “It’s like windows into 100 different sanctuaries.”

News
College News

Rabbi Moti Rieber ('04) quickly takes reins as interim in Topeka

As most congregations can attest, it was hard enough preparing a virtual experience during the High Holidays this year. But try doing it with a temporary spiritual leader who has been on the job for only a matter of weeks. That was exactly the situation at Temple Beth Sholom in Topeka. Congregation president, Alan Parker, said the experience turned out fantastically thanks in large part to interim rabbi, Moti Rieber, who lives and worships in Overland Park. 

News
College News

New Rabbi at Attleboro Synagogue - Rabbi Alex Weissman ('17)

“Synagogues are one of the few places that have the potential to meaningfully, rigorously, and generously, build relationships across age, ideology, religiosity — and so many other things that keep people apart,” Weissman said. “We live in a world of isolation, hyper-individualism, and division. Synagogues have the potential to be an antidote, to show up for each other, to learn from each other, to rejoice together, and to grieve together.”

News
College News

Data Breach Notification

Recently, we were notified by one of our software vendors, Blackbaud, that they experienced a ransomware attack from February 2020 to May 2020.

News
College News

Trauma, Healing & Resilience for Rabbis, Jewish Educators and Organizers - Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg ('18)

“This guide offers, I hope, valuable context, distillation of terms, tools, and most importantly, questions that rabbis and educators can ask to engage the ongoing process of integrating trauma awareness into our Jewish communities.” - Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg

News
College News

Rabbi takes a non-traditional path to Temple Sinai Cinnaminson - Rabbi Michael Perice ('20)

He started out small, reading books and going to services more often. But no matter how much his newly excavated faith grew, he said, becoming a rabbi was still the farthest reality in his mind.

News
College News

Boycotting Twitter to protest its handling of anti-Semitism could backfire - Rabbi Emily Cohen ('18)

In that sense, the digital walkout’s mission is one I fully support. But, of course, effective action is a little more complicated than that.

News
College News

Lessons From Transitioning in the Pandemic - Rabbi James Greene ('08)

Then, in early March the world changed forever, and my role at Camp Laurelwood went from incoming ED to Crisis Manager.

News
College News

What it’s like to start a job as a rabbi mid-pandemic - Rabbi Michael Perice ('20)

When Perice started the job last week, he was still living in Philadelphia. He has met his congregants only once — right before he started the job when he made the 40-minute drive to the congregation for a socially distanced Shabbat service held in the synagogue’s parking lot.

News