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Kolot Chayeinu |Voices of Our Lives

Rabbi Miriam Grossman

Rabbi Miriam Grossman

Rabbi Miriam Grossman is a multi-generational Jewish educator, community organizer, and an energizing leader of Jewish ritual. At the heart of her leadership is the idea that through communal ritual and communal action we all can become more spiritually and politically awake- awake to our inner lives and awake to the world around us. She believes that ritual, learning and action all honor our collective ancestors and their dreams of liberation.

Miriam was Kolot’s Rabbinic Fellow for one year, and our Student Rabbi for two years prior to that. In addition to leading meaningful services with Cantor Lisa B. Segal and delivering powerful Divre Torah, Miriam has taught Kolotnicks from Torah study to Family Class, Torah Tots and more. She is committed to Kolot’s vision of vibrant progressive Jewish community and believes that it is a model for a thriving Jewish future.

During her rabbinic training, Miriam was a Chaplain Intern working with homebound and hospital bound elders through the Jewish Theological Seminary. Previously, Miriam was the inaugural Talmud Fellow at SVARA, a “Traditionally Radical Yeshiva” dedicated to queering Talmud study. Miriam also taught at the Jewish Enrichment Center, a pluralistic children’s program combining arts-based exploration with traditional Jewish study.

In Chicago, Miriam was the Program Director for AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps. Prior to AVODAH, Miriam was the Jewish Community Organizer for the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA). At JCUA Miriam also worked as the Educational Programs Coordinator, creating opportunities for learning and action for adults, teens, and children.

In 2011, Miriam won the 20/20 Award from the Jewish Educators Assembly for her innovative work with JCUA educating Jewish youth about racial and economic injustice in Chicago. Miriam also previously served as the Rabbinic Intern for Mishkan Chicago, an independent Slingshot Award winning community known for songful Jewish spiritual life.

Miriam studied Creative Writing at Oberlin. In addition to writing and performing her poetry in Chicago and New York, Miriam has been published in the Forward for her work in solidarity with Standing Rock. She was a contributing author and Editorial Intern for the anthology “Mitzvah Stories” which was nominated for the National Jewish Book Award in 2013. She has a certificate in Interfaith Engagement from the Chicago Theological Seminary, where she also studied Liberation Theology. She was ordained at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Contact rabbimiriam@kolotchayeinu.org

Cantor Lisa B. Segal

Cantor Lisa B. Segal

Cantor Lisa B. Segal is a founding member of Kolot Chayeinu and was ordained as a Cantor in May 2011 by the Academy for Jewish Religion (AJR) where she was blessed to study for six years, and where she served as Cantorial Director for two years (July 2012 – July 2014).

Cantor Segal is on the bimah almost every Shabbas, creates and leads all ranges of life cycle events, teaches in the Children’s Learning Program and B’nai Mitzvah Family Class, and works with Kolot members and other singers and musicians to enhance Kolot’s spiritual life.

Cantor Segal collaborates regularly with local Brooklyn and New York City Cantors and musicians in Jewish communal observances and holidays and has been a soloist with Brooklyn’s Shir Chadash Community Chorus for a number of years. Most recently, she appeared in D’var Shirah – Music Meets Text at the Red Sea at the Eldridge Street Synagogue, a benefit she created and produced for the Academy for Jewish Religion, featuring spoken word artists and Jewish musicians in improvisation (music directed by Frank London of the Klezmatics). Cantor Segal has appeared in a series of fundraising concerts she created for Kolot – “Off the Bimah!” – with a range of notable and innovative Jewish musicians including Joey Weisenberg, Marty Ehrlich, Marc Ribot, Alicia Jo Rabins, Roy Nathanson, Rob Burger, Alicia Svigals, Natasha Hirshhorn, Eve Sicular and Zoe B. Zak, and has performed with many cantors and choirs throughout the New York metropolitan area and beyond.

Cantor Segal was a featured artist in Zero Church: the Prayer Project with Suzzy and Maggie Roche (of the Roches) presented at St. Ann’s Warehouse in 2002. This experience and the support of Kolot Chayeinu propelled her to apply to Cantorial school after 15 years as a non-profit arts administrator at BAM and St. Ann’s Warehouse. Cantor Segal married Maggid/Midrash Writer and Performer Arthur Strimling 20 years ago just so she could be a lead character in one of the world’s great love stories. She and Arthur teach and perform together at synagogues and venues across the country. More about Lisa is available here.

Student Rabbi Noah Westreich

Student Rabbi Noah Westreich

Student Rabbi Noah Westreich is a student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He is so happy to be joining Kolot as student rabbi, especially because he was a Kolotnik from age 0-5! Noah is passionate about bringing rigorous, meaningful Jewish learning to those ordinarily excluded from it; he received and learned from his first tractate (section) of Talmud at SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva, where he is now a Teaching Fellow. Previously, Noah was student rabbi in El Centro, CA, near the border with Mexico. He graduated from Macalester College in 2014 with a BA in Sociology. Contact studentrabbinoah@kolotchayeinu.org.

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