Rabbi Selilah Kalev has joined Temple Menorah as Director of its growing Tuvia Preschool. Kalev joins Tuvia to work closely with parents, teachers and synagogue leaders to further improve Tuvia’s learning environment for children in the South Bay.
With a strong belief that the ritual-based environment provided by Judaism allows children to thrive, Rabbi Kalev promotes a combination of learning, playing and community connection as a key component of her teaching philosophy. This aligns with Tuvia’s mission of enhancing learning and development of young children in a safe and caring Jewish environment.
Kalev’s combined passion for Judaism and education led her to not only teach preschool, but also to eventually oversee schools at several synagogues, building widespread support for parent education, as well as holiday and special event curricula. Additionally, she helped create play-based programming, where educators facilitate play in a way that allows students to build the foundation for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Kalev believes that using imagination as a key component of learning enhances brain functions, and helps to translate the abstract into practical, real world learning.
“We are excited to have such a special and gifted educator as part of our Menorah family,” said Temple Menorah Rabbi Steven L. Silver. “Rabbi Selilah’s religious and educational background make her the perfect leader for Tuvia, and we look forward to the impact of her knowledgeable, warm and inclusive approach.”
“Nurturing and education are inherent in the Jewish culture and are foundational cornerstones to building an engaged community,” Kalev said. “I want to get know what’s working, what we love, what we value and what we need to work on so we can put our efforts into retaining what’s sacred and building on that.”
An Alaskan native and the granddaughter of a Protestant minister, Kalev found herself drawn to the values of the Jewish community, where more emphasis is placed on the respectful treatment of others than on pure religious observance. Consequently, she converted to Judaism in college, and after receiving her bachelor’s degree in music from the California Institute of the Arts, she earned two master’s degrees in Jewish education and Rabbinic studies. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Hebrew letters. She received her ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles in 2003.
Kalev is married to Rabbi Joshua Kalev, who leads Congregation Tikvat Jacob in Manhattan Beach. They have two children, Noa and Jacob. For more information about Temple Menorah’s Tuvia Preschool, visit their website.