Meet Natalie Weiss, our new (but very familiar) Director of Admission and Membership.
Natalie started her exciting journey on July 1, 2020, in a position that TBA leadership created for the first time ever-- a bridge between the school and the shul. Not only is Natalie enthusiastically embracing the challenge of defining this new role, she's embracing an even bigger challenge-- navigating a very relationship-oriented position during a time of social distancing.
But despite the absence of in-person opportunities to connect with parents during car line or schmoozing at our monthly community shabbat dinners, Natalie has an advantage-- she's been a member of the TBA community since 1996. She's also been a Pressman parent, was previously an employee of TBA, and has many lifelong friends through the school and shul. Before working as Shalhevet's Director of Admissions for ten years, Natalie spent five years as TBA's Membership/Havurah coordinator for Sheryl Goldman, spent five years involved as school parent/Parents Association President, and five years as the Pressman Admissions Director.
Natalie was born and raised in Ladera Heights and was a member of Temple Akiba. At the age of 9, her family moved to Beverly Hills and joined Temple Emanuel. Her parents were very involved in synagogue life and raised her to have a strong Jewish identity, but there were certain elements she didn't really know much about, like the rules of Kashrut and keeping shabbat. But things changed after she went back to Israel on her own to study. There she learned Hebrew and became a passionate Zionist and considered making Aliyah.
Natalie met her husband, Aaron, at Camp Hilltop in Malibu during the BJE's LA Ulpan reunion weekend. She was there as a counselor and he was a rep for Hebrew University. They had both been working for different organizations sending high school and college kids to Israel. She worked for the American Zionist Youth Foundation and Project Otzma for the Federation. They both spent their junior year abroad at Hebrew University (one year a part).
Natalie lived in Israel during the Gulf War and attended Yeshiva University's master's program at the School of Social Work. She worked with immigrants who were in the cottage craft industry from Ethiopia and Uzbekistan in the town of Ramla. When she returned to the US, she moved to NYC and worked at the UJA Federation with the financial services division, and her husband earned his PhD at Princeton. Their first daughter was born in NY. They moved back to LA to be closer to family and to pursue the family business.
Natalie decided it was really important that their children know more about Judaism than she did. She and her husband, Aaron, prioritized sending their children to Jewish day school. They began to look for a synagogue and decided to try out TBA. What sold them was during services, when Rabbi Netter walked by and heard them shushing their daughter. Rabbi Netter told them they didn't have to do that, and they realized TBA was the welcoming and family friendly environment they were looking for.
They became Pressman parents and really immersed in synagogue life as well. They went to Shabbat services regularly and TBA became their second home. Natalie is thrilled to be back working at TBA, and similar to her own journey, looks forward to helping Pressman parents and other members engage in synagogue life.
She is often reaching out to Temple Members to connect, but also encourages members to feel free to reach out. And she's always up for a socially distant coffee or zoom chat!
When you do chat, feel free to ask her about owning a Harley bike for 5 years, teaching childbirth classes for 14 years, and taking her kids to live in Israel (Ra'anana) for a year. She's got an interesting story to tell, but especially can't wait to learn your story!
You can reach Natalie at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org