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On Becoming: Big News from the Executive Director

And the seasons they go round and round and the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look behind from where we came
And go round and round and round in the circle game

 
 
This lyrical imagery written by one of my favorite singer-songwriters, Joni Mitchell, resonates in my head this time every year as we enter the High Holy Day season. And so it was much to my delight when I joined the Lab/Shul professional staff in July, and learned that the theme for this year’s High Holy Day season is “Becoming Full Circle”.
 
The beginning of a new year provides us with the opportunity to circle back to ourselves to reflect upon who we are, who we want to be, and our role on this earth. During this time of self-reflection, I can’t help but reflect upon my own professional journey that initially brought me to Storahtelling in 2004 as a member of the Company of Artists, and now back full circle to Lab/Shul this past July as Executive Director. It’s been a long, strange trip, and I’m exhilarated and grateful to have landed, 14 times round the seasons, right where I am today.
 
While much of Lab/Shul’s programmatic work this year will focus on building and expanding the circles within our community, I am very much focused on the notion of our “becoming” as an organization. Now entering our 5th year, Lab/Shul is growing out of its “start-up” phase, and, building on our humble successes and enormous learnings, we are poised for continued growth and sustainability.
 
Along these lines, I am thrilled to share a few pieces of exciting organizational news:
 

  • Lab/Shul has been selected to participate as a member of the second cohort of Project Accelerate, a unique, 24-month program developed and operated by a well-respected national foundation, that guides and supports high-performing organizations poised to enter a new stage in their growth and development. We look forward to sharing with the community how this program has positively influenced our organization.

 

  • Lab/Shul has also received a foundation grant in support of “FamilyLab” – grassroots,  community meetups and home-based celebrations of Shabbat and holidays for Jewish or “Jew-ish” families with young children. We envision FamilyLab as a ground-level pilot for Lab/Shul’s youth education program which will bring to fruition Lab/Shul’s vision of cutting-edge, progressive Jewish education to children of all ages.

 

  • On the personnel front, I am delighted to announce the promotion of Ezra Bookman to Artistic Director, a new position for Lab/Shul. In his new role Ezra will be focused on elevating the “artist-driven” aspects of our missions. Currently Ezra is deep in the process of directing our Storahtelling Maven performances for the High Holy Days, his first artistic endeavor in this new role. Click here to read more about Ezra’s artistic vision for Lab/Shul.

 
As Lab/Shul continues to expand our programming and reach, we are looking to fill a few new roles on our professional staff. Please take a look at these job descriptions and refer us to the best and brightest from your networks: Program​ ​Director​ ​For​ ​Raising​ ​the​ ​Bar and Communications Manager.
 
I would like to thank the Lab/Shul Board of Directors for their support as I transitioned to my new role here at Lab/Shul this summer. I also appreciate so many of you who have welcomed me with warm messages and, literally, with open arms these past few months.
 
I invite you to join us for the High Holy Days, and to consider joining us as SeasonPass Co-Creators for year-round ritual, educational and community-building programming.
 
May we circle back to ourselves this year in health and sweetness.
 
Sarah Sokolic
Executive Director