Humans of Beth Am Blog

Rabbi Rebecca Schatz: When Dreams Become Reality

I had my baby naming at Temple Beth Am and it's been an honor to serve this wonderful community as a rabbinic intern these past 2 years.

I grew up in a very musical family. Every Friday night my family would make music together before we lit candles. Everybody played a different instrument and the whole extended family would join in.

My dad is a professional musician and my siblings and I were always in orchestra, chamber ensemble, jazz band and choirs from elementary school through High School. After falling in love with choral music at Milken Community High School, under the mentorship and director of my choir director Kelly Shepard, I followed his lead to become a music educator at Indiana University in the Jacobs School of Music. I majored in choral music education and received a minor in Hebrew as well. I sang in the world renown collegiate show choir, Singing Hoosiers and formed the Jewish a cappella group at IU Hooshir, that is still going strong at IU today. Hooshir's first show was at the White House where we sang for President Bush and the First Lady at the 2006 Hanukkah celebration. I always knew I wanted to be a rabbi, but singing and teaching music is an essential part of my Judaism.

I am a longtime Ramahnik. I attended first as a camper, then a counselor, then a Rosh Edah, and for the last three years I've been Director of Education. I created a new program for the Judaic Studies department called YahaDOIT. After receiving my Masters in Experiential Education from the Fingerhut School of Education at AJU I knew I wanted to develop a model that allows Judaic studies to become more exciting for the campers by empowering them to choose which ways they enjoy learning best, whether through art, music, cooking, writing, etc.

On Monday May 22, I will be ordained as a rabbi from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and will be leaving TBA to work as the Assistant Rabbi and Education Director of a synagogue in Foster City, CA, Peninsual Sinai Congreagation. At my bat mitzvah, I knew I wanted to be a rabbi because I studied with the first female clergy at Sinai Temple. Therefore, I am extremely excited to be the first female clergy at PSC and hopefully inspire some other young lady to love the rabbinate.

The clergy at TBA have been amazing mentors to me, in fact, Rabbi Kligfeld reached out when I was just beginning rabbinical school and the relationship continued until eventually I was interviewing to be an intern. Working with Rabbis Kligfeld, Lucas, and Chorny has propelled me forward into a dream that they have helped make into a reality. Whether through lifecycles, drash giving, Sovev creating, seudah shlishit planning, or Shavuot building. I know this is the beginning of a relationship of growing, mentorship and support for many more years to come!

Last year, I took on Shavuot and had such a great time that I wanted to take on the challenge again this year. This year's Shavuot will be very special! We are responding to the need to help people who are struggling in society.

In planning this year's Shavuot at TBA, I was inspired by Ben Zoma's line from Pirkey Avot: Who is wise? One who learns from everyone. We have more than 37 participants from many different communities in Los Angeles. People are going to hear from voices that challenge them and voices they're comfortable with. It will be a night where people expand their minds into what it means to be members of a Jewish community and what it means to be a Jew in the larger community.

We will have a members from the LGBTQ community, multiple faiths, refugee advocates, tzedakah projects to feed the hungry, and Jews by Choice speaking about their experiences with conversion.

I hope everybody in the Temple Beth Am community will join us for this very special event!