A new rabbi-educator
snuggles down with Beth
Shalom's youngest students.
DIANA LIEBERMAN Copy Editor/Education Writer
KRISTA HUSA Staff Photographer
Also in the audience was Beth Shalom Rabbi
children who gathered Oct. 20 at
Congregation Beth Shalom in Oak Park
"I was very impressed — I tried to be as atten-
know each other's names: Joey,
tive as the-children, but, while I was attentive,
Meredith, Matthew, Aaron, Isabella and
they were mesmerized," Rabbi Nelson said.
a dozen more.
"This was learning at its most beau-
But what is God's name?
level. Jewish education should be
The 5- and 6-year-olds and their
and the joy was there. You
parents gathered in a circle as Rabbi
could see it in their faces."
Tziona Szajman read a brightly col-
As the synagogue's rabbi-educator,
ored picture book, In God's Name, by
Rabbi Szajman, 33, leads the 125-stu-
Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso.
dent religious school as well as youth
The story, in which every speaker
groups and family education programs.
has a different name for God, cele-
She also teaches eighth-graders at the
brates both the diversity of the world
Monday night school.
and the uniqueness of the single God
special things about this
worshipped by so many different
school are the parent involvement and
the exciting and dedicated teaching
The children and their parents
Rabbi Tziona Szajman staff," she said. "We are working
also talked about the meaning of the
together to create a community where
Shema, and got together to create
can feel warmth and safety,
special pillowcases that would help
teased and everyone can
them make the prayer part of their bedtime ritu-
She also is interested in creating opportunities
This was the first time many of the parents had
to integrate Beth Shalom's extensive day school
met Rabbi Szajman, who came to the synagogue
population with the religious school families.
as rabbi-educator in late summer.
Rabbi Szajman, a native of Toronto, is single
and lives in Southfield. She is a recent graduate of
New York's Jewish Theological Seminary, where,
in addition to her rabbinic ordination, she also
earned a master's degree in Jewish education.
Clockwise from top left:
George Dobrowitsky and daughter Isabella Lackner,
6, of Huntington Woods enjoy the story.
Rabbi Tziona Szajman, rabbi-educator at
Congregation Beth Shalom, reads to
kindergartners and first-graders.
Matthew Raisky, 6, of Huntington Woods
paints a Shemapillowcase under the watchful eye
of his mother, Sheryl.
Meredith Berlin, 5, of Huntington Woods
concentrates on cleaning her paintbrush.
Lana Sherman of Oak Park and her
5-year-old son, Aaron, work together.