Maggid Jhos Singer and Shlichat Tzibbur Julie Batz joined Chochmat HaLev as our Congregational Leaders in December 2014. They wrote the following history,”We have served together as the Spiritual Leaders of the Coastside Jewish Community (CJC) since 2001, sharing all aspects of community leadership. We design and lead Shabbat and Holy Day services together; we write and teach; we counsel, organize, daven with, coach, cajole, inspire and guide the congregation to ensure strong and engaged participation. While Julie carries more of the liturgical, membership development, and organizational duties and Jhos shoulders more of the teaching and pastoral role, we easily pass these duties back and forth depending on the needs of the situation. On the bima and off, we combine our strengths into a whole that is considerably greater than the sum of its parts.
Julie has a unique ability to translate the spiritual essence of Jewish liturgy through her soulful musical interpretation. Through her studies with Cantors Marc Dinkin and Pamela Sawyer and service leadership with CJC, she has mastered the tradition while developing her own transcendent style. For more than a decade, she has also guided individuals, couples, and families through profound lifecycle moments. She is honored to help her congregants welcome children, mark rites of passage, partner, and ease the way through illness and death. Julie’s strong love of ritual, history, liturgy and those she serves is palpable.
As a service leader, Jhos’s main liturgical skill is being able to translate experience (from the terrible to the sublime) into a fantastic story. He is a rogue scholar, probably from the same village as Resh Lakish, Reb Zusya and R. Gershon Winker. On the one hand, he holds a MA in Jewish Studies from the Graduate Theological Union; and on the other, he finds as much Torah in the HBO series “Six Feet Under”, mixology, home gardening or taking in a fine afternoon with friends and family as he ever did in his serious studies. His love for all things Torah, his congregants, and their trust in him is what fuels his desire to serve.
Working together, we have discovered our passion for communal leadership and service. Blending our voices and energies on the bima, developing community, learning Torah and creating sacred space together—these form the foundation upon which our relationship to each other has been built, and our commitment to Judaism has been strengthened.”
In addition to his congregational leadership, Maggid Jhos also serves part-time as the Maggid of the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco (you can read some recent blog posts here); he writes and teaches in the Bay Area and nationally, and as an out transman, he advocates for deepening understanding of the role of gender in spirituality.
Julie holds a BA in American Civilization, a MS in Human Resource Development (Organization Development), and was a Fellow in Public Affairs with the Coro Foundation. In addition to her congregational work, Julie’s independent bnei mitzvah training and facilitation practice primarily serves families who have not been members of synagogues, offering them the opportunity to (re)connect Jewishly in their families and the larger Jewish community.