A Conversation with Sinai’s new Director of Engagement and Programming:
Welcome Rebecca Frazin
She calls it a homecoming of sorts
Because the Kevin Bacon six degrees of separation has become two, maybe one degree.
With childhood and teenage years spent in Deerfield and, specifically, at B’nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim, Rebecca Frazin, Sinai’s just appointed Director of Engagement and Programming, not only understands our world, but is also well acquainted with nonprofits and advocacy work. Plus her connections run the literal gamut, from former study-in-Jerusalem roommate Rabbi Amanda Greene to Merle Terry and Neil Kulick. [Not to mention that she’s the great-great-great niece of Julius Rosenwald, Sears founder and Sinai founder.]
Her background prepares her for forging and cementing relationships and building all sorts of connections.
Sure, an undergraduate degree in Jewish Studies and Psychology (Indiana University) was the start. That education was soon expanded through her work at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and the U.S. House of Representatives. [But don’t ask for her opinion of the current D.C. environment!]
At the Greater Chicago Food Depository, as the Government Relations Manager, she created avenues for executive directors of pantries and soup kitchens to learn from each other – and to advocate in the broader Chicago area. One success story: The individual who started a pantry in the Englewood neighborhood was, at first, reticent to present in public about her life and her story. Today, thanks to Rebecca’s tutelage, she speaks at a variety of events, specifically in Springfield and Washington, DC, and has become very involved in the anti-hunger advocacy world. Helping people find their voice and find what they love in an organization is what brought Rebecca here to Sinai.
“It’s listening,” she explains. “Sitting down with people together and discovering what’s missing.” For the next six months, she plans to do exactly that. Meeting with different Sinai groups. Holding a “world café,” a revolving roundtable of congregants who answer six to eight questions. And, in general, talking with and listening to everyone who taps her ears.
Rebecca doesn’t hesitate when asked ‘why Sinai?’
“In a word: Beshert. Obviously, it’s one of the biggest interfaith communities – and since I’m part of an interfaith couple, that was more than appealing. And it felt special from the very first screening call. Though I must admit (laughter here), I did more work applying for this position than any other job I was a candidate for.”
She pauses. “It was worth it.”