Rabbi Tiferet Berenbaum was eleven years old and a Brookline resident when someone in a supermarket handed her a brochure about Shabbat. A good student who studied diligently, she read it carefully and thought about the idea of a day of rest, a day to relax and rejuvenate for the week to come. “This made so much sense to me,” she says. That was the beginning.
Fast forward and she began to learn more about Judaism. During her teen years, Rav Tiferet devoured every book about Judaism and Jewish culture on the shelves of the Hyde Park Public Library. Then, at Tufts University, she took so many classes on Judaism that she graduated with two majors, Judaic Studies and Clinical Psychology. “Everything I learned added to my love of Judaism.”
This enthusiastic and natural-born teacher received Rabbinic Ordination and a Master’s in Jewish Education from Hebrew College in 2013, after spending a year in Israel as part of her studies. Rav Tiferet served congregations in Milwaukee, WI, and Mt. Holly, New Jersey then, fortunately for us, returned home to Boston and TBZ in 2019. Always desiring to continue to learn, she is currently pursuing a doctorate in Educational Leadership at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA.
“Torah is everything!” she asserts. And the ways of Torah are Rav Tiferet’s guide as she responds to the challenging and changing racial climate in our wider community and the U.S. She has had a front seat at the intersection of race, racism, and religion, giving her valuable insights into how different groups of people see the world and refining her powers of empathy. She teaches, “None of us can control what happens in the world, but we each have the power to control how we respond. We need to access our spiritual core and fearlessly acknowledge our dark places, both as individuals and as a society, in order to shift what we see going on around us. The shadows serve to remind us that there is also light.”
Rav Tiferet works at TBZ full-time to manage Beit Rabban (TBZ’s Hebrew school) and support our community’s spiritual, social, and educational programming. She employs the winning combination of knowledge of Judaism and the ability to engage students—teaching at all levels from preschool children to adults. Right now, she feels she is in the perfect place, doing what she loves.