Eliza Zipper's Assessment Paper's

Eliza Zipper

“From the oldest of times, people danced for a number of reasons…
They danced in prayer…to show their community spirit.
And they danced to celebrate.

And that is the dancing we’re talking about…

Ecclesiastes assures us that there is a time for every purpose under heaven.
A time to laugh…and a time to weep.
A time to mourn…and there is a time to dance.

See, this is our time to dance. It is our way of celebrating life.
It’s the way it was in the beginning.
It’s the way it’s always been.
It’s the way it should be now.

- Footloose. Dir. Herbert Ross. Paramount Pictures, 1984.

Organization: Temple Israel Center
Website of Organizationwww.templeisraelcenter.org

Favorite Place in Israel: The Galilee

How has Israel played a part in your personal Jewish identity?

From my Israel experiences, I have learned about several characteristics that define my Jewish identity. By learning about other important groups in Israel’s history as well as experiencing Israel’s current events, I have learned that being Jewish means to be hard-working, persistent, and hopeful. From my Israel experiences, I have developed a sense of pride coupled with a drive to question Judaism and Israel.

Most importantly, I have seen that to be Jewish is to celebrate our diversity while uniting under a community of shared experiences and values.

Who was the educator who most influenced your path to Jewish education? Describe the effect that they had on you.

While choosing my electives one semester as an undergraduate, I decided that a class called “Judaism and Gender” sounded like it might be interesting. I had never taken a class on Judaism or gender, so this was an out of the box decision for me. The professor who taught this class was amazingly passionate about Judaism, but she also loved to ask tough questions about Jewish history and traditions. Her passion was contagious and she taught me a lot about the relationship between loving Judaism and questioning it. This first class with her set me on the path towards taking more Jewish studies classes, being more involved in the community, and ultimately becoming a Jewish educator.

If you had the ability to build the landscape of Jewish education, what would it look like? - in 140 characters or less.

Jewish education would help participants explore how to build personal connections to Judaism and live it in the home, in the Jewish community, and in the world.

What are you looking forward to most in the InCiTE Fellowship?

I am excited to work with other professionals in Jewish teen programming to bring new energy and creativity to the program development process. During this process, I am looking forward to developing unique ways to increase teen engagement in our community.