Dear Chevrei (Friends):
As we approach Erev Shavuot and our celebration of matan Torah (the gift of Torah), I feel joy and honor to introduce you to Tani Prell, our new Director of Jewish Learning & Engagement.
Several outstanding candidates applied for this important new, full-time position, and Tani rose to the top. A few of Tani's qualities caught our eye right off the bat: her energy; her enthusiasm; and her capacity to reflect deeply about creating positive classroom culture.
In her own words, Tani believes "developing supportive spaces for the Jewish community to learn and grow together is vital to ensuring that our future is filed with minds that think critically and compassionately." She thinks of religious school not simply as a collection of students, but as a community of blossoming scholars and leaders.
As we got to know Tani better throughout our hiring process, she proved highly organized and prepared. Those who know her well championed her self-reflective ways, her eagerness to improve, and her ability to engage even the most challenging students. As a department chair at Muchin College Prep, Tani has proven to be an excellent coach of faculty and a collaborative force, encouraging greater accountability among faculty and students.
As a faculty member at Anshe Emet Synagogue, Tani has contributed to a strong youth culture around her passion for Judaism and the arts, and her mentors there speak passionately about the presence she creates among learners, not to mention her wonderful upside as a developing Jewish professional. We felt that presence in our own interactions.
Personally, Tani inspires me with both her ruach (spirit) and her potential for greatness. I admire her service to Teach for America. Her work there tells me a lot about her character. I am also moved by her vision of how to align the religious school and our congregational commitments to Jewish practice, Hebrew acquisition, and social justice. Tani has made a clear case on how she will link learners of all ages to our mission of, as she puts it, "creating good in the world."
Finally, I am uplifted by Tani's versatility. Not only will her infectious energy serve to engage congregational participation among all ages, but her experience with social media will help us immeasurably as we seek to give light to the variety of activities at Emanuel. Tani will also shepherd our youth groups as their primary advisor. In addition, with our support and blessing, Tani will pursue active and concurrent professional development at Spertus College.
Tani begins officially July 1st, and we will welcome her warmly in numerous formal and informal ways. I am very grateful to Jeanne Cole, Gerri Persin and all the others who helped us in the most meaningful search process. And on behalf of our professional team, we look forward to Tani joining us and helping us serve you all.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach me by phone at 773-561-5173 or via email, firstname.lastname@example.org
Chag Shavuot sameach!