Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum
Kavana Cooperative | kavana.org
Rachel Nussbaum founded the Kavana Cooperative in Seattle in 2006, now serving as its rabbi and executive director. Named to Newsweek Magazine’s “Top 25 Pulpit Rabbis in America,” she was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2004. She is a recipient of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, the Bronfman Youth Fellowship, and the Avi Chai Fellowship. Her passions include teaching rabbinic texts (particularly Midrash); serving as a pastoral counselor; leading spirited, musical prayer services; and challenging people to see Judaism as a catalyst for change. Rachel lives in Seattle with her husband Noam Pianko and their two daughters, Yona and Mia.
Over the past three years, the Kavana Cooperative in Seattle has gained national attention for its innovative approach to creating intentional Jewish community through a cooperative model. Kavana seeks to empower its partners and participants to create a meaningful Jewish life and a positive Jewish identity. Kavana accepts individuals and families with many approaches to Judaism, offers a variety of ways to engage in Jewish life, and demands participation in the community. The Kavana Cooperative has been especially effective at engaging young Jews who are not finding resonance in synagogue and denominational structures.
Understanding the potential to invigorate American Judaism by creating a new paradigm of communal organization, Kavana aims to scale its project by disseminating best-practices, training new professional leaders, and laying the groundwork for a national roll-out of its successful cooperative model.