by Rabbi Shira Wallach

Greetings from the Pearlstone Center! This week, Rabbis Sunshine, Roffman, and I are attending the Rabbinic Training Institute (RTI), an annual conference for Conservative rabbis to connect, learn, and support one another. We can’t wait to come home and tell you all about it! 

I’m writing to let you know of an incredible opportunity for learning and community celebration. Over the weekend of February 2-4, Shearith Israel will welcome my mentor Karina Zilberman, founder of the Shababa Approach and Covenant Award winner for her contributions to Jewish Education.

Though most of you probably associate Shababa with young children and their families, the truth is: I use the Shababa Approach each and every time I craft a Jewish educational experience for any age. If you attended my Re[New] Rosh Hashanah service, if you’ve seen my Family Programs in our Weitzman Family Religious School, if you’ve experienced my teaching style—all of the encounters that I design are somehow rooted in the Shababa Approach.

I’m bringing Karina here because I want to share her with you! We designed a weekend together that will offer opportunities for each and every person to learn with her and to see just how her torah has inspired me to develop my rabbinic voice. 

On Friday, February 2, Karina, Rabbi Roffman, and I will lead a Mindfulness Kabbalat Shabbat Service that is just for teens and adults. Through music, prayer, reflection, and teaching on the parasha, we will connect with Shabbat and with one another. Childcare will be provided; children may, of course, join us for Shabbat Dinner

The next morning, Saturday, February 3, our celebration will continue with Shababa for young children and their families, followed by our community-wide Tiny Treasures ceremony in which we formally welcome all new babies born in the year 2017. Everyone is welcome to participate. 

After lunch, Karina will teach a session on Leadership and Vulnerability based on Parashat Yitro. This class is especially recommended for community leaders, committee members, strategic plan leaders, officers, board members, and anyone else interested in learning. Childcare will be provided.

On Sunday morning, February 4, Karina and I will lead an immersive educational experience for our K-6th grade students and their families, beginning with breakfast, on Unlocking the Siddur. Whether you attend our Religious School or not, you are invited!

Finally, after lunch, Karina will lead the Shababa Approach Training. This part of the weekend is intended for clergy, educators, community leaders, parents, and anyone else interested in learning. Lunch, snacks, and childcare will be provided.

For more information and to register, go to If you’d like to support our area educators’ ability to benefit from this experience, please earmark your donation for the Family Center Fund.

With love and partnership,
Rabbi Shira Wallach