|Posted by Danny on January 31, 2013 at 10:40 AM|
Meredith Levick is a first year Davidson student in the concentration dedicated to Educational Leadership in Synagogues and Communal Settings. She is also a professional writer and poet, and this Sunday, February 3 at 5 PM she will be reading her work at Art 101, a gallery space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
What are you passionate about?
My range of interests is diverse, from entrepreneurship to spirituality / personal development to international travel. I believe that the human experience is a shared opportunity for us to overlap in compassion and in growth as often as possible. In April 2010 I created Morning Love Letter, a daily e-letter intended to highlight the shared nature of this human experience. The voice of the writing is that of one's higher self which is your most loving, authentic, genuine, passionate, generous self.
For my information about my writing, you can check out my website: http://meredithlevick.com/
How did you develop an interest in the Jewish sector that led to your enrollment at Davidson?
I was raised as a reform Jew in Westchester County, north of Manhattan. I felt culturally connected to my Judaism when I was growing up but did not feel rooted in the traditions with any significant depth. When I was in my mid-twenties, I was invited to a Shabbbat dinner by a friend which set off a buzzer inside of me, an alert that whispered, "keep moving further into this." Slowly but surely this voice, this knowingness, led to my desire to explore the religion with purpose. I found (and continue to find) that exploration to be meaningful. I had spent my professional career up until then working in the communications arena, specifically in marketing, and I decided I wanted to focus my skill set in the direction of a pursuit that impacted people's lives with intention and integrity. At the time I also was leading writing workshops to encourage adults to use stream-of-consciousness writing as a tool for self-exploration. I realized that my next step should involve combining these experiences and energies: religion, language, relationship building, self-empowerment, education, and entrepreneurship. Then I discovered the program I am in now at The Jewish Theological Seminary, and the pieces seemed to fit. It was a major change for me across the board, but I felt myself walking through a series of open doors to arrive here so I kept trusting that putting one foot in front of the other would take me down the path I needed to go.
How do those interests and beliefs intersect with your desire to work in the field of Jewish Education?
Studying at Davidson is the intersection of my multiple interests. I want to build innovative and dynamic learning opportunities for my students to view their Judaism with curiosity and an enthusiasm for authenticity. I believe in the importance of understanding that we are meant to chart our own course while living in the community of our individual microcosms and the world-at-large. The strength of tradition and community can be transformational, and I want my learners to recognize the possibility for that strength.
What has been the most impactful educational experience you have participated in thus far at Davidson?
I have studied and worked in Spain and Argentina, respectively, and I am fluent in Spanish. But studying Hebrew in a formal environment at JTS is a new adventure for me. It is gratifying because learning Hebrew is another forum for me to learn how to use words to relate to other people. I am humbled by the intricacies of this language which tie us to our ancient roots and our contemporary objectives.
Additionally, our recent trip to Israel via Visions and Voices was incredibly engaging for me. I thought we were introduced to a varied range of complex questions which reflect Israel's inherently complex structure. I am now working on how to keep that spark of engagement alive here in New York so I can continue the exploration stateside.
What has been your greatest challenge and success as a synagogue teacher?
My third grade students surprise me time and time again. My greatest success has been watching them learn the Hebrew letters and vowels. Hearing them sound out words with excitement is energizing to me. My greatest challenge has been behavior management in the classroom. I have brainstormed many times as to how to create a consistent structure of discipline and peace in my classroom, and I have seen how the word "behavior" takes on a very different meaning when I am communicating with eight year olds.