Our 9th blog entry was written by Rabbi Sharon Clevenger, Middle School Rabbi of the Rashi School in Dedham, MA. Rabbi Clevenger has been coordinating the Rashi-Leo Baeck partnership for 6 years, with different partners at the onset. Every year she directs her energies to working closely with her partners, Ayelet and Zivit from Leo Baeck, in order to continually improve upon the Mifgash experience. This is a great example of how a partnership enables true friendship to grow among the professional leaders, alongside the process of creating the most meaningful Mifgash for their students.
THE TRUE MEANING OF INTERSECTIONS- TZMATIM
BHC Educators’ Mifgash- June 4, 2015
Greetings from Haifa!
My name is Sharon Clevenger. I am the Middle School Rabbi at the Rashi School in Dedham and I am blessed to partner with Ayelet Shatzov and Zivit Albert at the Leo Baeck School in Haifa. We have partnered for four years, and this mifgash represents the first time that we have been able to sit together for hours and dream, plan and dream some more.
Our relationship has developed over time. For the outset we were collegial but it was a bit like parallel play; they did their thing at Leo Baeck, We did ours at Rashi, and we would bring our groups together and it would be petty good. But over the years we have come to know and love each other, and to trust each other as both partners and mentors. Ayelet and Zivit have many more years of experience than I do. I often ask for their advice, and when they give it, I listen.
Last night, we were drinking coffee in Zivit’s living room when they asked me a question about how to deliver the message of acceptance or rejection to students who had applied to their program. My answer doesn’t matter. What matters is that they trusted me, and American Rabbi and teacher with less experience than them, to advise them on how to sensitively communicate with their students. I felt that our partnership grew even stronger in that moment.
The Israeli program is called Tzmatim. The word means intersections. We have long searched for a better name because we didn’t think that Intersections really captured the essence of what we build. Over this mifgash, we have realized that the name is perfect, because just as we have built many points of intersection between our lives, so do we seek to build many points of intersection for our students.