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Oakland, CA
USA

 My name is Ariel Root Wolpe. I am a Jewish musician, artist, and community organizer. I love figuring out spiritual community and transforming people's hearts through music.

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Beginning Rabbinical School

Valerie Wolpe

This sunday I will start my first year at rabbinical school at Ziegler, where over the next five years, I will study to become a Conservative rabbi. I am filled with gratitude and awe when I consider how the years have brought me to this junction. And when I look at horror occurring in the middle east and Furgeson and across the world, I feel called all the more to strengthening my mind and heart through the Jewish tradition. 

As I uprooted my life to begin a rabbinic path, my rabbis transformed from teachers into promises. I watched their arguments and pleas about Israel and Gaza in the news, and my sources of insight, guidance and comfort were suddenly accompanied by intense expectation and instruction. Every time I read a rabbi’s Facebook post, I asked myself: How will I carry the responsibility of publicly denouncing injustice? How will I respond to anti-Semitism and unfair standards? What will I face from the Jewish people and wider community for voicing my opinion? How will I ensure to represent the Jews as an ethical and compassionate people? Should I express any unsureness in what is right, if people are looking to me for answers? When should I hold back my political opinions, and when should I shout them from the rooftops?

Luckily, I have five years to explore answers to these questions, and a growing community of rabbis to learn from. If I am to become a spiritual teacher to others, I must become sure in myself, my beliefs, and my tradition. As much as religion has accompanied bloodshed throughout history, I believe it is the most powerful way to bring people together in loving community if done with an honest heart.  Every person, every moment, is filled with divine light - the question is, how can we make it shine the brightest?

One way I try to lift other peoples spirits with mine is through my music. I expect my art will transform alongside my mind as it gets filled with Jewish learning and a religious life. 

The journey begins!

Ariel