WEST HARTFORD – The Emanuel Synagogue has chosen Kate Goldman as its first director of Congregational Learning, it was announced recently by the congregation’s president, Ira Henowitz.
In her new role, Goldman will serve as the lead education professional responsible for the synagogue’s religious school, pre-school and young families programming. She will also take a leadership role in teen and adult learning, Shabbat and holiday religious programming for children and families, family enrichment and inclusion initiatives.
“Kate joins our purpose-driven, sacred community with impressive credentials, significant experience as well as lots of joyful energy and enthusiasm,” says Henowitz.
A resident of California, where she previously served as director of education for Congregation Sinai in San Jose, Goldman plans to relocate to West Hartford with her husband, Rich, and will assume her new post in early July.
Raised in Morgan Hill, Calif., a suburb of San Jose and the Silicon Valley, Goldman received a B.A. in Jewish Studies and an M.Ed. from American Jewish University in Los Angeles. She is the recipient of two awards for her work in Jewish education, including the Smotrich Family Foundation Award of Merit for Outstanding Service in Religious School Education and the National Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education.
“I’m passionate about religious school education because it is a unique educational setting,” says Goldman. “Through religious school we are building a community for our children that never has to leave them.”
Goldman, who calls Emanuel “the right fit because of its focus on community and education,” plans to enhance the Emanuel curriculum “by making it more student-centered and experiential,” which means “incorporating students’ interest into the curriculum” and giving them ownership of their school so that they “feel a part of something when they walk in the door.”
As for adult education programs, Goldmans plans to develop what she calls “think-out-the-box learning opportunities that are social, convenient, and engaging. Some of my ideas for classes are ‘Jewish Themes in Star Wars,’ and other popular films, and speakers and themed dinners about Jewish culture from around the world. I also want to organize Emanuel house parties where congregants will bond over food and learn about a topic of interest to the host. I intend to create an array of learning opportunities that will reflect the different interests and schedules of the Emanuel community.”
Emanuel’s spiritual leader, Rabbi David Small, is enthusiastic about the congregation’s new director of Congregational Learning.
“Kate Goldman is a great fit for the Emanuel Family. Her deep enthusiasm for Jewish learning and living will motivate others. Kate’s focus on building relationships will make us an even stronger community. Kate is all about being approachable and knowing her students. With Kate’s help, we aim to make the Emanuel experience even more engaging, inclusive and inviting to our current members and to others in the community. I look forward to working closely with Kate. As director of Congregational Learning, she will have the opportunity to touch the lives of people of all ages and to work with an outstanding team of professional and lay leaders. We welcome Kate Goldman as DCL and can’t wait to get started!”
CAP: Kate Goldman