mission

 

Asiyah’s mission is to establish a spiritual home for Jewish seekers and fellow travellers in the Somerville/ Cambridge area of Massachusetts through an engaged, open, and inclusive community of Jewish practice and experimentation, in the lineage of Jewish Renewal, supporting personal growth and transformation while living the change we want to be in the world.

 

 
 

Who we are

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Rabbi David Curiel 

Founder and Spiritual Director

Not so long ago, I was a statistic that worried institutional Jews: a Spiritual None, turned off by mainstream American Jewish practice as I had received it. Yet I always felt a spiritual longing for connection. I worked at Apple Computer, earned an MBA at Indiana University, and moved to the West Coast to work in the wine industry. Along the way, I found many folks with a shared zeitgeist: a desire for living in community and supporting each other physically and emotionally.

Through an unexpected turn of events (ask me about that sometime!), I found Jewish Renewal, a daring approach to Judaism as a spiritual practice, and realized not only that this Jewish thing was for me, but also that I needed to become a rabbi.

With my wife, Amberly, we made our home in Boston, where I began my rabbinic studies with Aleph, the Alliance for Jewish Renewal, while also working at Nehar Shalom Synagogue in Jamaica Plain and at Kesher Hebrew School in Cambridge/Somerville. We spent the 2014-15 school year in Jerusalem while I studied at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, and then moved to New York City for the next two years while I served as rabbinic intern at Romemu, arguably one of the most vibrant synagogues in the country right now.

In 2017, I earned ordination as a Mashpi’a Ruchani/Spiritual Director, a practice of spiritual companionship to help people investigate their relationship with Divinity/ Source/the Eternal. I received rabbinic smicha/ordination from Aleph in January 2018.

 
 
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Amberly Polidor

Co-Founder & Co-Leader

I began co-creating the vision for Asiyah along with David while we were living in Jerusalem a few years ago. My motivation was a yearning to be in community with people who, like me, want to explore Jewish practice—prayer, study, contemplation, fellowship—in creative, innovative, and spirited ways.

I didn’t come to my Judaism through my parents—I found it as an adult, in tandem with David’s rediscovery of Judaism. Jewish Renewal was our shared access point; in it, I found the kind of spiritual home I had been longing for, where I could bring a love of song and spiritual expression, which sprung from the Christian tradition I grew up in, along with a spirit of deep inquiry, exploration, and open-mindedness.

I’m a professional copyeditor and writer, so I’ve naturally slipped into the role of managing the Asiyah website and other communications. In January, I completed Kol Zimra, Rabbi Shefa Gold’s two-year Hebrew chant leadership training program. I’ve found tremendous power and inspiration in this practice of melodic and rhythmic repetition of a sacred phrase from Torah or liturgy, and I’m excited to bring the practice to the Asiyah community. As rebbetzin (rabbi's wife), I also serve as behind-the-scenes supporter, fact-checker, and reality-checker. And I truly love to host—you’re welcome to our house for a meal anytime!

 
 
 

Asiyah Cultivation Crew

The ACC meets monthly to help shape and guide Asiyah's mission, vision, and programming. Members represent facets of the larger Asiyah community: 20s and 30s singles, young couples, parents of young kids, and plus-50s. In addition to Rabbi David and Amberly, the following brilliant and dedicated people form the ACC:

  • Hannah Anderson-Baranger
  • Marti Epstein
  • Sharon Kivenko
  • Mia Lefkowitz
  • Mikhael Reuven
  • Noah Weinberg