The Waterville Jewish Leadership Initiative empowers 2-3 students each year to invigorate and enrich Jewish life in Waterville. Students work with Rabbi Isaacs and Beth Israel Congregation Education Director, Melanie Weiss, as Hebrew School teachers and social entrepreneurs in Waterville. Students are paid for working on all of the following projects:
1) Teaching Hebrew school with the Beth Israel Congregation (BIC) staff.
2) Curriculum development with the BIC staff that endeavors to make Hebrew school more engaging, substantive, and fun.
3) Participating in advanced Jewish learning with Rabbi Isaacs for 3 1-hour workshops a semester.
4) The creation and execution of one Jewish program for the greater Waterville community, that brings new depth and creativity to the local Jewish life.
5) Outreach to new students.
The 2015-2016 Waterville Jewish Leadership Initiative Fellows
This school year I’ve participated as a fellow for WJLF (Waterville Jewish Life). This has entailed me reading Jewish theological texts with Rabbi Isaacs as well as other students, and spending time with congregants at Beth Israel synagogue in Waterville. These learning sessions have not only expanded my understandings of Jewish theology and argumentation, but also my conception of the Jewish community. I’ve learned with Jewish peers at Colby, and congregants at synagogue that have welcomed us with open arms.
My name is Gabriella Foster and I am a first-year from Nashua, New Hampshire. As a Waterville Jewish Leadership Initiative fellow this past semester, I have had the privilege of providing a student from the Beth Israel Congregation, who cannot attend the usual Hebrew school times, with weekly lessons via Skype. In our lessons, we learn Hebrew-reading skills and discuss portions of the Torah. These weekly lessons have been a great opportunity to practice my own Hebrew skills and to share my love of Judaism with such a motivated and eager learner. I was always very involved in my congregation in Nashua, and have greatly enjoyed this opportunity to get involved in the Waterville congregation. I am looking forward to working more with the Beth Israel community in years to come! (P.S. Since my focus as a WJLI fellow has so far been education-based, I felt this photo was a very appropriate choice.)