Judaism Your Way


An Interview with Rabbi Caryn Aviv

What are your favorite moments with people in our community this past year?​

My favorite moment was the first Be Mitzvah that I officiated in-person, safely, outside. Which felt like such a joy and I was so proud of my student who was both nervous and excited. And she rocked it. It was awesome to see her shine in her leadership!

“It was awesome to see her [the Be Mitzvah student] shine in her leadership!”

Rabbi Caryn Aviv

The second moment was my first in-person, outdoor wedding this summer that was so filled with joy. I accompanied one of the people in the couple through a conversion process and got to know both people in the couple really well through that deep spiritual journey. And I had met them originally on “honeymoon Israel,” so I’ve known this couple for over three years and they are just so kind and loving to each other and it was beautiful to witness their vows under the chuppah. And the whole crew of “honeymoon Israel” couples that I hung out with in November of 2018 were there to witness their wedding. And that was beautiful.

And then the third moment that was so awesome that I had to hold it together on the bimah (stage) and not cry was during High Holidays this year. There was this moment when everybody was signing the Shema and “One Voice” by the Wailin’ Jennys and you could hear a ripple of sound through the open tent. It was just so amazing and moving that it gave me goosebumps to be back in person. To just share this moment with people in our community!

What are you most excited about in the coming year?

I’m really excited about the team that we are building because we have awesome people on staff and it’s really good to get to know people and see them shine in their work.

I’m also super jazzed about all of the holiday programs that we are planning and the adult learning opportunities that we are launching. And also seeing our Open Tent students moving towards teaching and leadership at their own ceremonies come spring and summer and fall. So, lots and lots of great stuff happening. Stay tuned!

“…seeing our Open Tent students moving towards teaching and leadership at their own ceremonies…”

Rabbi Caryn Aviv

We are also going to launch a monthly Kaddish circle for people who have experienced loss and are in mourning and grief as a way to surround mourners with love and support so that people don’t feel alone.

Finally, I’m really excited about a new educational learning opportunity that Judaism Your Way will be launching called Repair and Remedy which is going to look at Jewish text about harm and repair and reconciliation. We will then also look at those texts through the lens of the legacy of racism in America and the inequality we endure because of this history.”

If you could impart one final Hanukkah thought to our families, what would it be?

Hanukkah is all about light because it is during the darkest time of the year and I learned this awesome teaching from a 19th century Hassidic Rebbe about finding the light within and bringing that light out to shine as brightly as we possibly can because the world needs our light. And I think that right now in this moment in time the world needs our light so whatever we can do to let it shine is what the world needs.

“…the world needs our light, so whatever we can do to let it shine is what the world needs.”

Rabbi Caryn Aviv