Alumni & Student Profiles
Meet our Alumni and Students: Creating and Sustaining Change Around the World
Rabbi Getzel Davis, Rab`13
Associate Rabbi and Jewish Educator at Harvard Hillel
Rabbi Getzel Davis stands at the forefront of a national movement that seeks to welcome college students more fully into Jewish living. With passion and wisdom honed during his years at Hebrew College, Rabbi Davis reaches out to non-Orthodox students and those who have yet to find their way to Judaism. “My goal,” he says, “is to regularly interrupt people’s lives with moments of meaning, connection, and liberation.” That could mean teaching classes with clever names like Shal-Om and Jew Curious, or counseling students in need. The work is most rewarding, he says, when he helps students “take risks to aid in their own growth and to strengthen the good of the world.”
>> Read more about Rabbi Davis
Rabbi Suzie Schwartz Jacobson, Rab`15, MJEd`15
Rabbi, Temple Israel of Boston
For Rabbi Schwartz Jacobson, encouraging community members of all ages to lean into their questions and try new ways of finding meaning is an essential part of her rabbinate. In whatever role she is serving—as Assistant Rabbi and Director of Education at Temple Israel, Boston or as a leader in the Greater Boston community—she is always inviting people to try new things together to expand their hearts, minds and souls. Rabbi Schwartz Jacobson’s deep spirituality and entrepreneurial prowess is in full view with her newest initiative at Temple Israel—the Spiritual Practice Lab. It grew out of a partnership with a small group of members seeking to build stronger connections to their prayer practices. With the Spiritual Practice Lab, Rabbi Schwartz Jacobson has created a place for participants to experiment with the form and content of the liturgy and to discover ways to turn tefilah [prayer] into a spiritual practice.
Rabbi Shahar Colt, Rab`16
College: Barnard College
Major: American Studies
DIrector of Congregational Learning
Congregation Dorshei Tzedek, West Newton, Mass.
What significant work experiences did you have while attending rabbinical school?
Two years ago, I began planning a teen beit midrash program. After a year and a half of networking, pitching the project, finding partners, doing outreach and publicity, and developing a curriculum, the program opened its doors this past October. Starting and running the program has been a great learning opportunity; I’ve benefitted from an incredible team of advisers. Moreover, I’ve been able to hone my teaching skills more than at any time since doing my teacher training six years ago.
How has Hebrew College prepared you to serve in the world as a rabbi?
I have been exposed to a whole new range of Jewish text and tradition, and have reached a significantly different relationship to Jewish prayer from when I started rabbinical school. I’ve also noticed myself becoming more in tune with the Jewish calendar. Being in school with such bright, committed, and careful thinkers has allowed me to explore a wide range of conversations about Jewish life and practice in exciting and new ways. Looking to the future, Hebrew College has provided me with an outstanding support network of amazing colleagues.
Rabbi Elie Lehmann, Rab`17
College: Columbia University and Jewish Theological Seminary
Major: Religion and Rabbinic Literature
Senior Jewish Educator, Boston University Hillel
What significant work experiences did you have before coming to Hebrew College, and how did they help inform your decision to attend rabbinical school?
Prior to rabbinical school, I studied for two years at Yeshivat Hadar and then spent a year abroad working with grassroots organizations in Burma and Kenya. My time at Hadar really grounded me in serious "lishma" learning and also gave me the opportunity to help teach "tanakh" and rabbinics to middle-schoolers and to visit with nursing-home patients. My experiences there learning, teaching and building community helped me realize that I could make a career in the rabbinate combining those three passions. As Rabbi Yitz Greenberg says, there is no better way to recognize someone’s infinite value than to share of yourself with them. That’s what I tried to do during my year abroad. I came to realize that Hebrew College was the only rabbinical school that could nurture a similar feeling within me.
How has Hebrew College prepared you to serve in the world as a rabbi?
Judaism is central to the lives of each and every student at Hebrew College, and yet it looks quite different person to person. Learning from teachers and with students who come from very different Jewish backgrounds and interests than my own has helped me gain the language and resources to have productive and meaningful encounters with Jews from across the spectrum. Hebrew College has broadened my perspective of meaningful Jewish expressions and helps me to engage others from where they are comfortable.
Rabbi Philip Sherman, Rab`13
Rabbi, Temple Beth Elohim
Since he was a child, Rabbi Sherman has felt comfortable within Jewish community. His connection to Jewish life was warmly shaped by his grandfather, who was a spiritual leader in a small town in Iowa and often invited his grandson join him on the bima. He has been on a mission to share that connection with others ever since. “It is a blessing for me to be present with seekers as we learn together how to live a life of purpose and meaning through the lens of Judaism,” explains Rabbi Sherman.
Rabbi Sara Meirowitz, Rab`13
Co-director, Beit Midrash
Sara Meirowitz is on the vanguard of day-school education. At Gann Academy, a pluralistic Jewish high school outside Boston, Meirowitz is a core part of the Judaic studies team that is pioneering a new approach to Jewish learning. As co-director of the school’s beit midrash program, she is helping to implement a revamped curriculum that provides students with a base of meaningful Jewish literacy while giving them the flexibility to pursue their Jewish passions. Meirowitz brings to the position a strong background in traditional text study, honed through more than two decades of study in day schools, adult-learning programs, and rabbinical school. A graduate of Yale University, she is a gifted writer, editor, teacher, and poet. She spent several years studying in yeshivot in Israel and teaching in Jewish institutions in Israel and the United States.
Filling a Void in Israel
Rabbi Lila Veissid, Rab`11
Rabbi Lia Veissid serves as the Rabbi on Kibbutz Ha-Ma'apil in her native Israel, where she lives with her husband, Yossi, and their daughters Alma (18) and Ella (13). The kibbutz (population 800), is located in Emek Hefer, in central Israel. Founded in 1945 by the very secular members of Ha-Shomer Ha-Tzair movement, the kibbutz has gone through many changes in recent years, and is now more open to embrace religious and cultural aspects of Judaism it previously shunned. Rabbi Lila leads Kabbalat Shabbat and festival services for her community. She provides pastoral counseling, teaches classes on Judaism, and works with the younger children's groups around the holidays. As of last year, Rabbi Lila serves as the Regional Rabbi for the Emek Hefer communities for the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism. She facilitates life-cycle events on her kibbutz as well as in other communities in the region, and works with B'nai Mitzvah groups and with many boys and girls who choose to have a Torah-reading ceremony. Rabbi Lila is a member of Shomrei Mishpat - Rabbis for Human Rights. She is an active member of Zayit, a local Jewish renewal organization, engaging in projects of learning and celebration for the entire population of the Hefer Valley, young and old, traditional and secular. Rabbi Lila feels that her years at RSHC not only provided her with knowledge of text and music, but also strengthened her belief in community action, in pluralism and in the possibility to make change happen.
Thinking about a career in the rabbinate?
Read Rabbi Dan Judson's article "Jewish Lessons on Meaningful Work" for some helpful advice about finding meaning in your work.