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BEKI hires youth and family programming director

NEW HAVEN – Anne Norman-Schiff, who is completing a Ph.D. in religious studies at Yale, has joined the professional staff of Beth El-Keser Israel (BEKI) as youth and family programming director, it was announced recently by BEKI President Yaron Lew. She will take up her new post on June 1.

“BEKI is a thriving and growing community with many young families,” Lew explained. “Our youngsters represent our synagogue’s future. Even in these tough times, BEKI is committed to serving our congregants and enriching our children and young adults. We committed the funds to make it happen.”

“Given the extraordinary influx of young families with children at BEKI, we are thrilled to have found such a warm, deeply learned professional as Annie to support our community,” parent Mark Oppenheimer added. 

Norman-Schiff will coordinate and support the children’s Shabbat and High Holiday programs, which are led by parent volunteers, and will serve as advisor to BEKI’s Kadima and USY youth groups.

“She is passionate about Judaism, comfortable working with people at all levels of learning, and has seen in her own life what synagogues, youth groups, and Hillels can do to foster Jewish engagement,” Oppenheimer explained. “I’m so excited to learn from her. And, as a dad, I am so excited that she will be working with my kids.”

“BEKI is such a warm community with an incredible spirit of volunteerism and learning,” Norman-Schiff said. “I love the idea of making meaningful Jewish experiences for kids of all ages, and teaching and supporting our parent volunteers. 

“If we are able to gather in person for Shabbat,” she explained, “I will be singing and praying my heart out in every service! If we are not able to do that yet, I will be on every family’s computer screen with fresh ideas for Jewish life at home.”

Norman-Schiff is especially excited about working with our USY and Kadima youth groups.

“For me, youth group was the first time I got to make Jewish life for myself: it’s how my friends and I went from being kids to being leaders. I am so excited to support BEKI’s young people in building their communities into what they want them to be.”

“We are thrilled to have Annie join our staff,” Lew added. “We see her as a fountain of knowledge and energy that will help propel our younger generation into a future of great deeds for our synagogue and the Jewish community at large.”

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