Beth Israel Congregation announced Rabbi Rachel Blatt as its new director of lifelong learning.
Blatt, who has been involved in Jewish education since college, graduated from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, American Jewish University, in Los Angeles in May.
As director of lifelong learning, she will develop educational programs for adults, families and children, oversee the youth programs, create engagement and learning opportunities on Shabbat for youth and young families and assume responsibility for the religious school next year.
Blatt has a wealth of experience in Jewish education, having served as the assistant director of a religious school, as a Hebrew schoolteacher and as the head of Judaics for Camp Ramah.
Her path to the rabbinate began during a conversation with a Hillel adviser, who noted that Blatt was involved in a family beginners’ minyan, was teaching Hebrew school and was a Judaics minor.
“[The adviser said] ‘You do realize you can do all of this professionally, right?’” Blatt recalled. “I went, ‘I can?’”
She attended graduate school at The Davidson School, where she interacted with rabbinical students and saw how they were digging deep into Jewish texts. She thought the rabbinate would be a meaningful discipline to pursue.
The job at Beth Israel Congregation was the first interview she had, and the synagogue reeled her right in.
“They have a sense of community and excitement and interest in innovation that I was really drawn to,” she said. “The community just wants to learn, and they want to grow, and they want to get to know each other, and they want to be a Jewish family.”
Blatt is married to Rabbi Marc Blatt, and they have twin 4-year-old daughters.
Beth Israel hosts Shabbat services to welcome Rabbi Blatt on Sept. 5-6.