2018 Master of Jewish Studies Graduate

Suzanne Issler

“Why Judaism? A new generation of Jewish critical thinkers is asking. I look forward to working with these young spiritual seekers as together we create transformative experiences in response to the why.”

Thesis: “Spirituality and the Sustainability of the Reform Movement”

Summary: It’s my belief that innovative spiritual programs that provide personal meaning and connection to Judaism can help sustain the Reform Movement by helping to retain its membership and attract those yet unaffiliated. There are several reasons why I believe spiritual programs can help sustain
the Reform Movement. First, spirituality is on the rise in the Jewish population, surprisingly enough among its youngest cohort, Jews 35 and under. Second, scholars and religious figures alike believe that synagogues must create programs of education and worship that include a search for meaning and personalized religious experience. Third and last, there are a multitude of synagogues that have incorporated spiritual programs into their weekly scheduling, helping congregants successfully engage their members in meaningfully relevant ways.

2018 Chaplaincy Graduate

Meagan Leigh Yudell

“As Chaplain, my goal is to hold a sacred space for the people I serve in their time of need, providing Hesed and Rachamim in everything I do.”

Thesis: “The Life of an Arnold Chiari Malformation 1 Jew Through the Lenses of Health, Chronic Pain, and Spirituality”

Summary: My thesis focuses on the history, the interventions, the dearth in research and knowledge on this rare genetic condition, and the Jewish approaches and sources for dealing with life threatening and chronic illnesses.