Kevah: Profiles

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Featured Kevah Group: "The E-manatees" - What's in a Name?

Posted by David Kasher on 31 October 2016 | Comments

Location: San Francisco
Topics: Biblical Narratives, Jewish Law
Learning with Kevah since: December 2012

The first thing one notices about this group is their unusual name. The "E-manatees." This group was started by Lisa Mann, a Product Manager, and Abby Porth, Executive Director of the JCRC of San Francisco.  Lisa and Abby learned about Kevah at a Rosh Hashana service at Congregation Emanu-el in San Francisco. When the time came to choose a group name, the "Friends of Lisa Mann" playfullly decided to riff off of their organizer's last name. So what team mascot started with the "mann" sound? The unusual water creature pictured above: the manatee! Thus "The Manatees" were born.
There was, however, one remaining step in the naming process.

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Educator: Dr. David Ariel

Posted by Sivan Orr on 9 March 2016 | Comments

Name: Dr. David Ariel
Joined Kevah: March 2015
Current Kevah Group(s): Vilna Shul Kevah, Combined Jewish Philanthropy Women's Philanthropy Leadership 


Tell us about your experience teaching for Kevah
 

I teach two groups currently. One is a group for women who have served as presidents of the women's philanthropy division of Combined Jewish Philanthropies, the Boston Jewish federation. This group studies a whole series of contemporary social and communal issues by looking at Jewish sources that address today's issues. The second is a group of people involved with an historic synagogue in Boston, the Vilna Shul, which is creating a new kind of urban Jewish community. This group studies the eastern European origins of American Jewry and the culture of Ashkenazic Jewry. 

Kevah offers a unique teaching opportunity by allowing me to fashion a curriculum in response to the adult learners' needs and interests. I don't start with my curriculum; I respond to what they want to learn and organize my teaching around that. Kevah's constructivist model of engagement with Jewish sources makes it possible to ask questions about personal meaning that may not be possible in other settings. We can actually discuss what the sources mean in our own lives.

What do you love about teaching Jewish texts? 

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Educator: Rebecca Schwartz

Posted by on 24 August 2015 | Comments

rebecca schwartzName: Rebecca Schwartz
Joined Kevah: November, 2012
Current Kevah Group: Women of Valor

Tell us about your experience teaching for Kevah.
I have taught several groups for Kevah in the past few years and enjoyed them all. The past few groups have been women-only sessions with a lot of personal discussion tied into the text and tradition.

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Host: Joe Sousa

Posted by Kim Mark on 1 July 2015 | Comments

joe sousaName: Joseph Sousa
Group: Organic Torah
Location: Cambridge, MA
Description: A diverse group of adult Jewish learners
Focus: Torah insights regarding ownership, property, and our social obligations
Learning with Kevah since: February 2015
Current Educator: Dr. Natan Margalit

Tell us about your experience leading a Kevah group - what has been rewarding, unexpected, enjoyable?
The most fulfilling part of leading a Kevah group is the joy that comes from helping to bring a diverse group of Jewish learners together to share in an accessible yet serious Talmud Torah experience. The most surprising part of the experience is the speed at which a group of mostly strangers transformed into a small learning community. Everyone was so kind, respectful and yet attentive, participatory, and engaged.

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Educator: Rabbi Bridget Wynne

Posted by on 26 May 2015 | Comments

Name: Rabbi Bridget Wynne
Joined Kevah: Jan 2011
Current Kevah Group(s): Jewish Parenting, Jewish Thought, and Big Thinkers

Tell us about your experience teaching for Kevah.
 
I love offering Jewish learning that speaks to people's real lives, and this is exactly what I do since each Kevah group selects the topics they want to explore. As each group "gels" and people learn more, we adjust even further to really address issues members care about. I love that our purpose goes way beyond acquiring information. Most of us are bombarded with information, but not with opportunities to deepen our wisdom, grow spiritually, explore how to live with greater meaning, expand our senses of compassion and gratitude. These sorts of big life questions are part of the Kevah groups I lead, no matter what our specific topics are. To live as purposefully as I believe Jewish tradition invites us to, we need one another, and we need diverse sources of wisdom. Kevah gives me a chance to help make this happen by building face-to-face learning communities.


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Host: Beth Rutchik

Posted by Kim Mark on 2 April 2015 | Comments

Name: Beth Rutchik
Group: Mill Valley Torah
Location: Marin County, California
Description: A Women’s Group 
Focus: Human Triumphs & Tragedies
Learning with Kevah since: 2011
Current Educator:  Rabbi David Kasher

Tell us about your experience leading a Kevah group – what has been rewarding, unexpected, enjoyable?

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Educator: David Bernat

Posted by Kim Mark on 5 March 2015 | Comments

Name: David Bernat
Joined Kevah: 2014 
Current Kevah Group: CJP Young Women's Group

Tell us about your experience teaching for Kevah

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Educator: Josh Mason-Barkin

Posted by Kim Mark on 2 February 2015 | Comments

Name: Josh Mason-Barkin
Joined Kevah: September 2014 
Current Kevah Group: "Young Couples of Kol Emeth" in Palo Alto

What do you do when you are not teaching for Kevah?
I’m founder and principal of The Motech Agency, a full-service design, media, and digital strategies consultancy that serves synagogues and Jewish non-profits. In other words: I help Jewish organizations do tech. I also run a small photography business, JMB Photography. When I’m not in my office/studio/cave-of-gadgets, I’m enjoying time spent with my wife, Sara, and our very-two-year-old son, Charlie.

Can you share a particularly memorable moment that took place in one of your Kevah Groups?
Recently, participants were trickling in before we began, and we were casually chatting. Someone asked, “What’s new with everyone?” and people were talking about travel, or about traffic and the weather. Seemingly out of nowhere, a participant who’d just sat down spoke up. “I just came from the beit din and mikveh. I’m officially a Jew.” After some hugs and congratulations, he told us about his experience at the mikveh. His first official act as a Jew had been to serve as a witness for the next conversion. His second was to come to our Kevah session that night to learn Torah. As an educator, it was an amazingly powerful and humbling moment, and it infused the text study we did that evening with a certain kind of magic. It was a very cool reminder of what a privilege it is to serve as a facilitator of thoughtful and meaningful Jewish learning and to be part of this community that has grown around it.

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Host: Liz Noteware

Posted by Kim Mark on 1 January 2015 | Comments

Name: Liz Noteware
Group: Beth Sholom Evening Learners (SF)
Description: City-dwellers in their 30s-40s affiliated with Congregation Beth Sholom
Focus: Using Jewish perspectives as a framework for living and/or parenting more meaningfully
Learning since: 2013
Current Educator: Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Tell us about your experience leading a Kevah group – what has been rewarding, unexpected, enjoyable?

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Group: The Duality of the Jew

Posted by on 22 February 2013 | Comments

The first time I visit the Hardly Strictly Torah Kevah group, there are in attendance two women and three men, all in their mid to late twenties.  

They've all already hit the breakfast spread: one small table covered with bagels and lox, capers and onions -- an early morning Jewish dream.  I’ve come to this particular Kevah group, deep in the financial district of San Francisco, by way of the trans-bay train.  The others have arrived in true formal office fashion: button up shirts, patent leather shoes.  They’ve got jobs to go to, budding businesses to run.  The group is filled with young entrepreneurs, leaders and visionaries: one chapter in the hopeful and bright future of the Jewish community.  

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