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Inside PJCC - Jul 14, 2022

PJCC Welcomes Bay Area Rabbinic Leader: Chief Jewish Experience Officer Rabbi Laurie Matzkin

PJCC

Our PJCC is proud to welcome Rabbi Laurie Matzkin, our new Chief Jewish Experience Officer 

When PJCC envisioned the next level of our Jewish impact, we hoped for someone like Rabbi Laurie — an experienced, enthusiastic leader who knows how to gather community, who can identify and meet the needs of diverse populations, who works collaboratively with staff colleagues and Jewish communal partners, and who exudes passion and optimism for both our Jewish and multi-cultural future as a community. 

Rabbi Laurie has made a consequential impact on every Jewish community where she’s served. A fifth-generation Bay Area Jew, she has brought her creative and relational Jewish leadership to Jewish Silicon Valley (JSV), the Addison Penzak JCC in the South Bay, PJ Library in Silicon Valley and Congregation Kol Emeth in Palo Alto. She has led by meeting people where they are — demonstrated by her skill in working with diverse age populations — serving the unique needs of different age groups from young families to active seniors. 

Rabbi Laurie earned her Rabbinic Ordination, a Certificate in Non-profit Management for Rabbis, and a Master of Arts in Education with a Concentration in Experiential Education from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, American Jewish University in Los Angeles. She attended Indiana University as an undergraduate, during which time she also studied music at the Institute of European Studies, in Vienna, Austria. Her degree from IU of Bachelor of Science in Music, Flute Performance, with an Outside Field of Jewish Studies represents her lifelong passion of integrating music and the arts with Jewish spirituality and intellectual exploration. As a student leader at Hillel, she founded programs as diverse as An Evening of Jewish Music and Alternative Spring Break in the Smoky Mountains, before she went on to serve 7 campuses in 2 years as a Jewish Campus Service Corps Fellow for Multi-Campus Hillel of Greater Philadelphia, engaging hundreds of students across the city and helping them take steps on their own Jewish journeys. 

In Rabbi Laurie’s words, “Reflecting on my 13 years of rabbinic work, my greatest successes have come when my inner drive and creative vision intertwine with my ability to listen deeply to the needs, strengths and possibilities within each group I have served.” Additionally, she recognizes, “Colleagues such as Rabbi Lavey Derby and Rabbi Hugh Seid-Valencia of Jewish Silicon Valley have modeled a path of intentional, thoughtful, and joyful leadership that have helped me imagine my successful impact as the CJEO at PJCC.” 

While Rabbi Laurie brings deep Jewish experiential knowledge, substantive work across the age spectrum, and arts and culture passion and experience, she is also a yoga practitioner; registered with the Yoga Alliance and founder of Makom Yoga: Mindful Jewish Movement. As a founding faculty member for our Jewish Wellness Retreats, she worked closely with the PJCC team to create an immersive experience in the Santa Cruz redwoods for spiritual seekers from across the Bay Area JCCs. Rabbi Laurie also serves on the Executive Committee of the Northern California Board of Rabbis and is a regular clergy participant at the Institute of Jewish Spirituality. 

Rabbi Laurie and her husband Aviv are the proud parents of two young sons who are excited to start their journey at Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School in Palo Alto, where Aviv has taught Jewish Studies for over 25 years. They are excited to learn the North Peninsula — one of the few regions in the Bay where they haven’t yet lived. Rabbi Laurie would love to hear from you and learn about your interests, priorities, and perspectives on our community. Please contact her at lmatzkin@pjcc.org to welcome her to PJCC and our wider Jewish community! 

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