Rebecca Kleinhandler-Dahan is a longtime CBE member and our wonderful lay leader for Shir L’Shabbat, a weekly Shabbat service geared towards young families with infants and young children up to age 4. Shir L’Shabbat is a special way for families and their little ones to welcome Shabbat together, filled with singing and dancing with our extraordinary songleader Debbie Brukman. Be sure to stop by and say hi!
Photographed and Interviewed by Nate Jaffe, Communications Associate
“CBE is one of the places I feel most comfortable. Somewhere between the nostalgia of growing up in the congregation, and engaging with the community and buildings differently now as an adult, it’s amazing to watch my daughter find her own way here too.” – Rebecca
Nate: How long have you been connected to CBE and what brought you here?
Rebecca: My family joined CBE when I was 3, and I have been a member ever since. I joined the congregation on my own a while back to reconnect with friends and find my own adult connections to Judaism. My husband and I have been members since before we got married.
Nate: Where are you from? If not, NYC, how did you get here?
Rebecca: Brooklyn, NYC! I grew up in Ditmas Park.
Nate: What do you do for a living and what is your favorite part of your job?
Rebecca: I work at a company that makes accessories for babies and kids. The best part of my job is when I see our products on real kids, just walking down the street, on Instagram or Facebook, or completely outside of the context of my job. It’s awesome to see our ideas come to real life!
Nate: Do you speak any languages other than English? If not, which language(s) would you like to learn?
Rebecca: I speak French pretty fluently and I speak some Hebrew as well. I took Arabic in college, but I remember very little.
Nate: What is your favorite family holiday tradition?
Rebecca: We started taking our daughter apple picking to celebrate Sukkot, since it can be kind of hard to understand a harvest festival here in Brooklyn. Growing up, I always loved the Passover seders at my grandparents’ house in the Bronx. They used the Maxwell House haggadot, and I would always try to figure out when it would be my turn to read so I could practice changing the language from the masculine to less gendered/archaic text.
Nate: Do you collect anything?
Rebecca: I’m an avid knitter, so mostly yarn and other knitting tools.
Nate: Who inspires you or who is someone you look up to?
Rebecca: My grandmother. She spoke eight different languages, and growing up I always wanted to learn more languages so I could speak to her in more ways. She also taught me how to knit, and made me the most beautiful garments when I was growing up.
Nate: What motivates you?
Rebecca: My family.
Nate: Aside from necessities, what is one thing could you not go a day without?
Rebecca: Coffee, but really that is a necessity.
Nate: Who’s your go-to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to?
Rebecca: The Beatles.
Nate: If you could host a talk show, who would be your first guest?
Rebecca: My great-grandmothers who I was named for. I only met one of them, but I’m very curious about what they would make of how different our world is now from when they were living.
Nate: What would be your ideal way to spend the weekend?
Rebecca: On an ideal weekend, we wouldn’t have any errands to run…We’d have a quiet Shabbat dinner at home, perhaps with friends. Saturday morning we’d go to Shir L’Shabbat (and there would be easy parking right in front of CBE!). We’d hang out with friends. I’d do some knitting… we’d either see family or friends for dinner, and then have a chill evening at home. Sunday would be brunch out, then perhaps some sort of adventure to a museum, or some place new. And we have a standing Sunday dinner with my extended family. I’d throw in some cuddle time with our dogs too.
Nate: What is your favorite movie, tv show, or book of all time?
Rebecca: Favorite movie is “A League of their Own”.
Nate: What’s your favorite quote or mantra?
Rebecca: “There’s no crying in baseball.”