A Message from Executive Director Shoshanna Schechter-Shaffin

shosh-profile-picI write today to share the news that this summer I will step down from my position as Executive Director of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, as I have accepted a dream job – a full-time position with Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia.

I began teaching at Randolph-Macon in 2012. When my family and I moved to El Paso, I had to regretfully end my relationship with that institution. The College approached me recently and asked me to apply for a newly created position that would include a combination of teaching, building Jewish life, and diversity recruitment. After deep discernment, I agreed. This is a good change for me and for my family, though I will miss my ALEPH colleagues very much.

Although I am transitioning out of the E.D. role, I am most certainly not leaving the ALEPH community. I will still teach a course on Israel as part of the AOP’s Israel-Palestine Program this fall. I hope that in the future I will teach again as part of Tikshoret, our online education platform, as well. And I’m already looking forward to the 2018 Kallah, which I wouldn’t miss for the world!

The leadership of ALEPH is working now on a transition plan. I will support them in that work, and will work closely with my successor to ensure a transition that is smooth and seamless for all those whom ALEPH serves.

My time at ALEPH has been transformative for me. My professional life has been enriched by the opportunity to work with wonderful colleagues among the staff, the project directors, and the board. My spiritual life has blossomed in ways that I will carry with me into my work at Randolph-Macon and beyond. Although there is now an end date to my time as an employee of ALEPH,  I will always be part of the Jewish Renewal world.

From Board Leadership

We could not be more grateful to Shoshanna Schechter-Shaffin for her vision, leadership and dedication on behalf of ALEPH and Jewish Renewal, especially during these pivotal first years after the death of Reb Zalman z”l.  Under Shoshanna, ALEPH flourished in ways that some said was not possible.  Some of what Shoshanna accomplished was clearly visible in tangible ways (e.g. financial health, growth of ALEPH Network communities, an extraordinary 2016 Kallah).  Some of Shoshanna’s finest work was less visible: building relationships within and beyond ALEPH, and helping ALEPH continue to mature – while always centering the heart and soul in ways that model the best of who we all should aspire to be both personally and organizationally.

Serving with Shoshanna has been a joy and privilege. To the Randolph-Macon community, we hope you know how very lucky you are.

— Rabbi Rachel Barenblat and Rabbi David Evan Markus