Rabbi Ilana Schachter

Rabbi Ilana Schachter

Inside Leadership
A smooth grey rock in sand surrounded by a swirl pattern in the sand

“Your days are like scrolls -- write on them what you want to be remembered.” - Bachya Ibn Pakuda

When I was a rabbi on a college campus, I regularly counseled students who were overwhelmed, stressed, and unhappy. They felt immense pressure from multiple forces: their parents encouraged them to take certain classes; their friends told them to participate in certain clubs; and the university repeatedly reminded them to “make the most” of their college experience. To help them prioritize and find meaning in the ways they were spending their time, I turned to Marie Kondo, the...

Read More

Small group gathering of members of Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York, NY

In my first year of rabbinical school, I had the privilege of serving as an apprentice to a found object artist, Jo Milgram. After class, I would go to her studio and stand with her in front of a pile of found objects. Together, she and I would explore them, be inspired by them, and exchange ideas. We would slowly piece together a vision, building on the creativity and the energy of the other.

As our projects took form, it was not clear where one person’s ideas ended and another’s began; they were the result of mutuality, trust, and collaboration. My time with Jo made me realize...

Read More

Women laughing as they hold hands and dance around the plenary room during a URJ Biennial song session

When I was a Hillel Rabbi, one of my students referred to the core of my work as “SABSy,” a millennial term built out of the acronym for “See And Be Seen.” In my current work as director of community building at Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York City, I use this term all the time in conversations about what kind of presence we, as clergy, staff, and lay leaders, want to have.

SABSy describes the way we work the room at an oneg, or the way we can have an effective “pop-in” presence on a lay-led project. SABSy is also a state of mind: It refers to strategic placement of oneself in a...

Read More

Hands holding a small and fragile globe against a white background

As a Reform Jew, I never felt called to fast on Tishah B’Av. In some ways, I’ve felt that the destruction of the Temple was directly responsible for Rabbinic Judaism and my way of Jewish life, which is not something I want to mourn.

One Tishah B’Av in Jerusalem, however, one of my teachers challenged this. He shared that he, too, had never fasted on Tishah B’Av – until the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. On the brink of peace, at a time of great and intense hope for Israel’s future, witnessing the assassination felt, to him, like something broke forever. He felt the...

Read More

Blogroll