JWRP Sister Spotlight: Lorena De Mizrahi
A few weeks ago, Renaissance Chile, a Santiago-based group for Chilean JWRP sisters, hosted its annual dinner. Seventy women attended, enjoying a delicious dinner and reminiscing about their MOMentum experiences. Rebbetzin Debbie Waissbluth delivered the keynote address and Lori Palatnik, Adrienne Gold Davis, Raquel Kirszenbaum Didio, and Pamela Claman delivered inspiring video messages. Lorena De Mizrahi, who helped launch Renaissance Chile and organize the annual dinner, was especially thrilled. “It was incredible to see JWRP sisters who had participated in the first MOMentum Trip from Chile, as well as the most recent trips, come together to celebrate their Judaism!” We spoke with Lorena about her motivation for creating Renaissance Chile, as well as how she welcomes Shabbat into her home.
What inspired you to travel to Israel with the JWRP?
While attending college in the US, I became interested in Jewish learning. But then my life became so busy — I relocated to Chile, got married, and started my family. At some point, I realized that I had left my spiritual life unattended. Then, a friend told me that she was traveling to Israel with the JWRP. I knew that MOMentum would give me the chance to rekindle the light inside of me and to reconnect to Judaism. I applied, but all of the spots were already filled. Then, one person dropped out, and I was able to go.
How did MOMentum impact you?
My MOMentum experience showed me such a meaningful side of Judaism. I wanted to bring everything I learned back home with me and become a better wife, mother, sister, daughter, and person. I also realized that I loved Jewish learning and that I needed to feed that part of my soul. I knew that I couldn’t let the inspiration fade and that I needed to find a way to share Judaism’s many teachings with my community. In 2013, about two years after my MOMentum Trip, a group of Chilean JWRP sisters and I launched Renaissance Chile, an organization that supports JWRP sisters in their spiritual growth.
Tell us about some of Renaissance Chile’s activities.
Renaissance Chile offers Jewish classes, volunteer projects, and social events. We hold a monthly Renaissance Coffee Break, an early-morning breakfast with a Jewish class led by a local Rebbetzin. We run full-day seminars, night classes with inspiring Jewish teachers, as well as mother-and-daughter events in the Sukkah. In the past, we’ve also led cooking classes, during which we’ve learned how to prepare traditional foods for Jewish holidays. Our main goal is to serve as a bridge between JWRP sisters and the amazing teachers in our local Jewish community. We want JWRP sisters to feel comfortable asking questions and to feel motivated to continue learning and growing.
How do you make Shabbat special in your home?
After my MOMentum experience, Shabbat became a very important part of my family’s home life. Every Friday, I bake challah. I don’t usually cook, but my challah is now, according to my family, “the best challah in the world.” For Friday night dinner, we invite guests over. My eight-year-old daughter hardly ever wears dresses, but on Shabbat, she loves wearing her best dress. The Jewish community in Santiago is small — only about 15,000 people — but there are a growing number of kosher options. There are a number of synagogues, too. During the summer, it is possible to welcome in Shabbat with the beautiful Andes Mountains in the background.