Elis Legler, Raker Religious School Coordinator
My name is Elis Legler and I am the Coordinator of the Raker Religious School. I was born in Israel and grew up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I was always surrounded by all things Jewish: I attended Jewish schools and was part of a Jewish Youth Movement. My life was a mix of community activities, High Holiday’s celebrations, camps and trips to Israel. Most of all, I lived and breathed Jewish-Israeli education, culture and traditions at home. As I grew older, this part of my life changed. I made friends outside of my community circle and moved out of my parents’ home, in other words, I explored life “outside the bubble”. My Jewish identity was always strong and present, but it definitely felt different. As many Jewish Young-Adults, I got myself trying to reconnect to my Jewish identity. After finishing my Bachelor in Communications I decided to take a gap year in New York City. For an Israeli born woman, who traveled to Israel most of her summers, I had the idea that a gap year in Israel wouldn’t give me the answers I was looking for, and the rest of the story happened in a very Jewish-y humor way… Long story short: I almost entirely befriended Jewish and Israeli people. I found myself meeting them in the most unexpected ways and places. Maybe it’s because they are actually all over New York, or maybe it’s that “bond” that exists in between all of us. These connections opened up my eyes to a lot of things, but most importantly: no matter where and how you are raised there is an undeniable force in Jewish relations. In 2014, I moved back to Israel. A month in, I met this Jewish-Texan guy. He grew up in a small town, knowing he was Jewish but not what it meant to be Jewish. He then did Aliya in search for something he never had: a Jewish identity. From him I learned about an ongoing reality for Jewish people around the world. He went on to serve in the IDF while I worked with children in a Kibbutz and got my Master’s in Education from Tel Aviv University. We got married in 2017 and decided to move “back” to the US. When I found out we were moving to Scottsdale, I couldn’t contain my excitement of being (again) part of a strong and big Jewish community. This Coordinator position is everything I could have ever wished for: I am delighted by the opportunity to pass on all my professional and Jewish learnings, and help strengthen the Jewish identity of the community and its members, especially the future generations. For me, being Jewish is about embracing our Jewish identity, in our own unique way, and I strongly believe that being involved and active in the community helps create meaningful relationships while maintaining our Jewish identity.