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 (both of young kids and teens), 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

  • Jackson Mercer

  • Yocheved Peskowitz

  • Mikhael Reuven