What inspires a person to move to Minnesota in January? We ask Miranda Weisbuch that very question. Miranda is the new executive director of Adath Jeshurun Congregation. We talk about what brought Miranda and her family here from Columbus, Ohio, what is so appealing about the position, and what she brings to Adath, in this week’s Who The Folk?! Podcast.
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I know this is the question that everyone has been asking you, but how has the transition been?
So far, so good. You know this is a really amazing community. It’s just really been very warm and inviting to myself and to my kids, both personally professionally. You know, we’re just happy to be here and so far so good. It’s the transitions been good.
You are a lifelong Ohio resident from Bexley, a Columbus suburb. What was the appeal of leaving where you’d been basically your whole life to move to the Twin Cities?
I really wasn’t looking. I do have family here; my dad grew up in Minneapolis, and then some of the time in Wisconsin, and he went to Herzl Camp. And this opportunity came around and I thought, well, let’s entertain this, let’s just see, I don’t know. And it was sort of this sort of abstract notion with my husband and I. Well, could we do this really? Minneapolis? And then I came here and I interviewed and really fell in love with the congregation and the community. With everyone. I mean, we were so in love with it that we actually moved here in January, which, I don’t maybe it’s some people’s dream to move to Minnesota and January. So it’s really been great.
What did you do in Columbus?
I had been the executive director of a modern orthodox shul, and then the finance manager of a Reform congregation. So it makes sense, you know, that I would come to a conservative congregation, which is it’s where, belief-wise, that’s where we are as a family. That’s where I am personally, so it makes sense. It’s the best fit.
What was it about Adath and the Twin Cities that really pulled you in?
Adath nationally is a leader in the Conservative movement. It is a very well-known institution, it’s a huge institution. But what you don’t find with other Conservative shuls right now is the strength that Adath really has and how well it already is functioning. So there’s the ability to really build on the strength that is here. When you look at all the struggles that shuls have, Adath is not facing those struggles. I mean, we have our own struggles, but it’s certainly not on par with some of the major struggles and the board here was amazing. I mean, they are very, very aligned with you know, with the clergy, which I hadn’t really experienced that real synergy between the two. I mean, there’s just a deep respect for each other and there’s a very clear vision of where we want to go with a congregation.
Coming at it as an outsider, what is it about Adath that gives it that national reputation?
I think a lot of it is the focus on social justice and on the community outside of their own doors, but also on their own community. Some of the things that Adath has done are sort of groundbreaking within the Conservative movement. The Chevra, that deals with Jewish burials was the first conservative shul to ever have that. We have a congregational nurse. I mean, I had never heard of that. I thought ‘What does she do?’ But when I found this out, they really are thinking about their members as the full member; it’s not a transaction, it’s a relationship, which I think has led to the strength of Adath.Click here to nominate your favorite TC Jew to be featured on our weekly Who the Folk?! series!