Rina Liebeskind served as Director of Education at Congregation Or Chadash from 2008 to 2018. In 2018, her job responsibilities were expanded, and her title changed to Executive Administrator & Director of Youth Engagement.
Rina was born and raised in Jerusalem, Israel. She served in the Israeli Defense Forces for two years, first as a “Soldier in the Police Service” and later as an assistant in the Engineering Force. It was there in the army where she met her husband, Jim. They got married in Israel and moved to Tucson about 33 years ago.
Her career in Education began at the Tucson Jewish Community Center as an assistant teacher in the Early Childhood Program. She progressed from there to a lead teacher role after a few short months. She remained in the role of Lead Teacher for several years, becoming a senior lead and developing a mentoring program for new teachers. She developed and implemented the Judaic and Science Specialist program to enrich the classroom experience throughout the school.
Over time, she took on the intricate role of coordinating the preschool schedule during the school year and for summer camp. She also assisted in evaluating staff and programs throughout the school year and provided insight and direction for the successful N.A.E.Y.C. (National Association and Education of Young Children) accreditation process. In addition, she took on the development and coordination of events for families with young children.
Throughout these years she managed to raise her own two girls, earn an Associate degree in Early Childhood from the Arizona Central College, and a Bachelor of Science in Education from Northern Arizona University. She successfully held teaching positions at Congregation Anshei Israel’s Religious School, at Tucson Hebrew Academy, and at Hebrew High for Jewish Studies, where she also coordinated the Hebrew for Credit Program for several years.
In 2015, Rina completed the accreditation process through the National Association of Temple Educators (N.A.T.E) making the Or Chadash Religious School the only accredited Religious School in Arizona.
In the last year, Or Chadash and Temple Emanu-El have been looking into the possibility of merging the religious schools. In February 2020, both congregations voted on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to merge the two entities by December 2020. As a results, both Boards of Directors recently approved the merging of the religious schools and appointed Rina to lead the Joint Religious School in the fall of 2020.
Currently, Rina is a student at Hebrew Union College seeking an Executive Master’s Degree in Jewish Education. She is a member of several professional organizations such as A.R.J.E (Association of Reform Jewish Educators, formerly N.A.T.E.), N.A.T.A (National Association of Temple Administrator), and C.E.D.S (the local Council of Jewish Education Directors).