AJR CAA

Academy for Jewish Religion, California - Clergy & Alumni Association





Member:
Position: Rabbi + teacher/tutor

Rabbi Birdie Becker has been a Jewish educator and performer for over 40 years. Rabbi of Temple Emanuel, Pueblo, she works with numerous congregations throughout Colorado and is president of the Rocky Mountain Cantors Association. Innovator of teaching techniques, she is the author of Conversations at the Well: Where Modern Life and Ancient Stories Meet.

A medical social worker for over a decade, Becker served as director of an outpatient medical-surgical clinic and Ohio State Consultant for Volunteer Services. Storahteller, choreographer, and cellist for the violin-cello duo “Apples and Honey”, she is a composer and performer of folk and liturgical music. Ordained at the Academy for Jewish Religion-CA, she holds Master degrees in Rabbinic Studies, Education and Social Work and a Doctorate in
Education.

Specializations:

  • Baby Naming Ceremonies
  • Bar/Bat Mitzvah Tutoring
  • Conversion Classes
  • Dedications & New Home Blessings
  • Funerals, Memorial Services & Unveilings
  • Hospital Chaplaincy
  • Public Speaking
  • Senior Living Programming
  • Teaching/Education
  • Weddings
  • Other Specializations:
  • Storahtelling,
  • Author speaking/performance

 

Thesis Title:
DRAWING FROM THE WELL OF TORAH (2010)

ABSTRACT:
The be’er is a source of life, a womb, “…a place of origin, a place where something is conceived and nurtured, a place that offers protection and shelter, or a state of mind that provides comfort.”[1]  Sixteen times in Bereshit, it offers this space of nourishment and comfort as it becomes a source for ancient and modern midrashim.

Midrash is a form of learning that answers the questions we haven’t yet thought to ask. It bridges the known with the unknown anchored in foundational literature. Traditions and wisdom of the elders are more easily remembered when channeled through verse, rhythm or melody. Rites and rituals basic to beliefs and values were passed through generations by stories, songs and dance. The concept of drashing (exegesis of a text, usually biblical) added new interpretations, new connections to the wisdom of ancient texts; exploring small details and revisiting the basic human condition. It was easier to learn and to teach because it was poetical.

The be’er, literal pit at which individuals grapple with emotions, traumas and life decisions, is where one finds psychological balance, emotional support and spiritual sustenance. The well is the place where angels are met, wives are found and alliances are made.

The modern midrashim, in the short stories which follow a more in depth exploration of midrash through the ages, revisit the wells of Bereshit through modern drashing and new music. Read as stories, acted as drama, at home or in a classroom, for enjoyment or discussion. Published with additional stories and music as Conversations at the Well. Lesson plans can be found at rabbibirdiebecker.weebly.com

Email: brdfprdice@aol.com

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