Keshet is made up of a team of dedicated, smart, and fun individuals. Every month, we’re sitting down with one person so that you get to know them a little better! This month, we spoke with Keshet’s Bay Area Education & Training Manager, Rabbi Eliana Kayelle. Here’s what they had to say:
Keshet: What excites you the most about working at Keshet?
Rabbi Eliana: So much! Partnering with organizations to create spaces of joyous and affirming Judaism for LGBTQ+ people is a dream come true! We have the opportunity to change hearts and minds and to impact people’s lives: what a powerful way to spend our time! And getting to do this work in community with the most rad colleagues makes it that much more soul nourishing. I am truly just so excited to be here!
Keshet: What brings you joy?
Rabbi Eliana: My friends and community bring me so much joy! Sharing laughs and stories is the best. I enjoy music, theater, and dance most of all. I love creating, making art, being goofy, and telling stories that have lasting impact, and hopefully moving people to leave the world a little better than how they found it.
Keshet: What do you value most in a job/work environment?
Rabbi Eliana: I strongly value open and direct communication. Kindness, curiosity, and accountability are also high up there. It’s important to find levity when appropriate — I think it’s vital to be able to laugh and be silly with colleagues. We’re all human!
Keshet: What is a book, movie, TV show, or podcast you’ve experienced recently that you’d recommend?
Rabbi Eliana: Abbott Elementary! It’s just *chef’s kiss*. Let’s talk about it!
Keshet: If you could tell your childhood self anything, what would it be?
Rabbi Eliana: Oh gosh, there is so much I would say to little Eliana and I think it would depend on the specific age. Some of the standout thoughts would be that the journey will be a tough one and it might be a little scary, but we’re going to get through it. I’d also remind them to keep dreaming big and following our heart because it’s going to lead us down some incredible paths. And lastly I think I’d tell myself, even though they might not believe it, to get ready to live an incredible adventure.
Keshet: Name one song on your playlist that you can’t live without.
Rabbi Eliana: Dear Prudence by The Beatles is my number one favorite song of all time.
Keshet: What are you currently working on that you’re most excited about?
Rabbi Eliana: One of the pieces of curriculum that I’m currently working on that I’m super stoked about is for youth and how they can have conversations around belonging and identity with their communities. Children and teens today are so knowledgeable when it comes to LGBTQ+ language and identity, and we want to be able to help them bring topics that impact them back to their families, schools, synagogues, and greater communities. We often think of l’dor v’dor as the passing from an older generation to a younger one. The hope is with these trainings young folks can pass on their wisdom to those around them.