Thank You WRJ!
—Daniela Touati

My first year as a student rabbi at Leo Baeck College ended several weeks ago. I really appreciated each and every moment. Leo Baeck College is a welcoming place for students. The teachers and staff are encouraging and do their best to facilitate our studies. They are very available and ready to give advice. Everything was quite new for me: I had to learn the subjects as well as study in English. It required time to get used to the work load and the traveling.
 
My academics subjects are: Talmud, history, philosophy, Biblical Hebrew, and Aramaic. The vocational subjects include listening skills, service leading, cantillation of the Torah, reflective practice. I also took services both in my home town, in Paris, Geneva, and London. One of the requirements was also to experiment several sessions as a Cheder teacher, which I did.
 
In Lyon, together with our Cheder Director, I launched an interfaith program for children. It consisted of visiting a mosque and sharing an activity: a discussion on core beliefs of both faiths. A second session will take place in our synagogue after the high holidays. Following the terror attack in Paris, many initiatives that bring together both Muslims and Jewish are taking place. Together with two of our members I initiated the setting up of a subsidiary of Kids4peace. Children and parents of the three faiths are meeting on a monthly basis in Lyon. Each gathering has a specific theme which is seen from the three religious perspectives.

During this last year I also taught to conversion classes four times. With one of our members, a musician, we took part in Mitsva Day for the first time in Lyon. We both visited a retirement home and sang songs before Shabbat.
 
The standards of Leo Baeck College are very high, I embrace the values and the ethos taught by my teachers, and I am eager to bring them back wherever I have to take services or teach as I pursue my journey as a rabbinical student.
 
None of this would have been possible without the WUPJ and Women of Reform Judaism! I am very grateful to both organisations for their ongoing support,

With all my best wishes,

Shabbat shalom,

Daniela Touati

Lyon, France