Jessie Gindea

Miami, FL

Why are you a Jewish educator?

I strive to create an environment where each individual I interact with knows that they are seen, appreciated, and accepted for who they are in that moment.  I believe that Jewish education, both in and out of a classroom, has the potential to create organic spaces for meaningful relationships to grow, a place for people to simultaneously be a learner and a teacher, and to understand the depth and holiness of being a part of something so much bigger than ourselves.

When have you sojourned?

I feel deeply grateful to sojourn in this lifetime.

What is/are your own community/communities like?

Diverse, intentional, exciting, discovering, teaching, growing, changing, empathetic, purposeful.

What does becoming a Jew mean to you?

Becoming a Jew means that you are intimately connected to a complicated and beautiful history, to a tradition that is both stagnant and constantly changing, and to others throughout time who have questioned and struggled with God and community.  Being a Jew means that your unique presence is essential to the entire Jewish people at this moment in time while also holding the knowledge that this moment in time is a tiny blip in the history of the universe.

Three people you’d like to invite to Shabbat lunch, and what you’d like to talk about together.

Brene Brown – I am fascinated by Brene Brown’s research about living a Wholehearted life and the role of vulnerability in creating meaning.  Not only does she seem like a funny, thoughtful person, but I would love to hear more about her perspective on building a life full of meaning and joy.

Reese Witherspoon – Reese Witherspoon is a badass with a passion for children and women’s advocacy and uses her space as a celebrity to make a difference in the world.  In addition to her drive to make an impact, I happen to love all her book club choices and have watched her support and nurture women-led organizations, which leads me to believe she’d be a very fun and interesting guest with lots of unique stories and anecdotes to add to a Shabbat meal.

Golda Meir – Though I might be too star-struck to actually have a conversation, the idea of having her at our table to tell us about her life, how it felt to be the first female Prime Minister in such a young, fragile country, and potentially to taste her famous home-baked chocolate chip cookies would be the absolute dream shabbat meal.