You Should Know … Rachel Siegal

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As managing director at the Soul Center at Beth El Congregation, Rachel Siegal, 40, does a little bit of everything. From fundraising to program development to marketing, Siegal is involved. You might even find her washing dishes. In her spare time, she enjoys reading books with strong female leads and hosting friends and family for Shabbat and cooking for them.

How did you end up in Baltimore?


I’m from Cleveland, Ohio. I ended up in Baltimore because my husband is from here and when he finished medical school he matched for residency back in Baltimore. We moved here in 2005. We live in Pikesville.

How did you get involved in the Jewish community?

I’ve worked in the Jewish community since I moved to Baltimore in 2005. In the last 14 years I’ve only have three jobs. So for four years I worked at The Associated, and for six years I worked at Pearlstone Center, and then I’ve been with the Soul Center for nearly three years. I’m really interested in where Judaism can inform the mind-body-soul connection. And there’s a lot of communities who are doing that, both at Pearlstone, my former job, and at my job now at the Soul Center.

What’s your favorite part about working at the Soul Center?

I think it’s the ability to be really creative, because we’re so new, we don’t have anything that’s set in stone or anything that we say ‘we’ll go back to the way we always do it.’ Every season is a new day. I think that’s very rare if you’re working in legacy institutions, to get to be a part of something that’s so innovative and so creative. It’s a real gift.

What do you like best about Shabbat?

For me, I really like that my kids are able to have a full 25 hours every week where they are completely unplugged. So they have the ability to hold conversations with people who are adults. They don’t have the ability to hide behind a screen. So I guess for me, that’s really the gift of keeping Shabbat, that we all get to have a day to completely unplug and just think about being a human being instead of a human-doing. In some ways it’s the highest form of spirituality, to just being able to be present in the moment. It’s a very high level of mindfulness to be able to be fully present for an entire day once a week.

What do you do outside of work?

Even though I don’t work at Pearlstone anymore, I’m very active on the board there. I’m treasurer and chair of the finance committee, so I help with the budget oversight at Pearlstone so that takes up a lot of my time.

My kids go to Krieger Schechter Day School, so I spend a lot of time as a parent-volunteer for various initiatives at the school. The thing I’ve been mostly involved with is a program called Shabbat Share, where two times a year we match families to have Shabbat dinner together. I’m also on the development committee for the school.

In addition to Pearlstone and Krieger Schechter, I’m also on the newly formed board of something called Kibbutz Camp, which has a goal of creating a full summer of family camps experiences. It’s brand new.

I love to cook. I make a lot of soup. I like one pot meals, where there’s a full meal in one pot.

I’m also in a book club and I like to exercise regularly. So I keep busy.

vbrown@midatlanticmedia.com

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Rachel Grandpa & I are so proud of all you have achieved! You always put yourself out there to accomplish many things for the community & in your home! Always keep doing things you enjoy! Thanks for having a Beautiful Family especially our adorable Great Grandchildren!

  2. Rachel….you are a truly amazing, intelligent, special and beautiful person…..always interesting & inspiring! I know that I’m your mother but I want you to know how very proud I am of you, your involvement & your achievements. I love and admire you soooo much! Xoxo MOM

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