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BEST OF JEWISH PHOENIX 2016 25 Women today have a lot to keep them busy from families and jobs to homes and community service. Cindy Landesman understands as the wife of Rabbi Raphael Landesman of the Phoenix Community Kollel and the mother of eight children ages 3-18 her calendar stays pretty full. But despite womens packed schedules the director of the Kollels Womens Division says that the value of womens Jewish learning cant be underestimated. Jewish education for women brings an energy and a vitality to anyones life she says. The more you delve into the wisdom of Torah and Torah values its really enriching and it has so much wisdom for our lives. Landesman grew up in an observant home where her parents cared very much about education both secular and Jewish. She was trained as a speech therapist and was working in that eld when the Womens Division of the Kollel was founded more than 11 years ago. They realized that there was a greater need for womens learning and so they asked me to head it she says. I really wanted to focus on education and giving classes and providing opportunities for women just to come and learn at all levels and from all backgrounds. Whatever people wanted I was available. The Womens Division oers classes on Torah Shabbat and Jewish holidays among other topics. The lessons learned in the classes can translate very practically into your life What does that mean for me How can it make me a better person Landesman says. Landesman also takes women on trips to Israel through a joint project of the Kollel and the Jewish Renaissance Womens Project. Known as Birthright for moms the trip is intended to educate and strengthen the Jewish identity of the participants. But its not just the adult women of the Jewish community Landesman teaches shes also the ninth- 10th- and 12th-grade teacher at the Shearim Torah High School for Girls which is run by her husband. BEST OF JEWISH PHOENIX 2016BEST OF JEWISH PHOENIX 2016 by jennifer goldberg photo by ken brown photography Landesman With she and her husband both so heavily involved in the community Landesman must perform a balancing act to give her children the attention they need. Its just part of their life that this is what we do that we give that we teach she says. And I try to balance that with being there for them and them knowing that Im there. One way that Landesman blends community life with family life is through her Shabbat table which nearly always has guests around it. We try to stay connected to a lot of people in the community and thats really a nice way to do it. Her children see our home is open and inviting to people and thats also a form of giving and connecting. We balance that with what we give them inside the home internally. We very much try to make sure that they feel valued and appreciated in the home and feel like were making a lot of time for them. Landesman says she heard a term recently joyously Jewish. I thought it was very good she says. I feel its important that whatever aspect of the Jewish community that women nd themselves involved in that feeling of vitality and strength and adding to the vibrancy of their community is really important. Whatever it is that youre doing in the Jewish realm it should be with a light feeling it should be with joy. Its there and it can be accessed and its really I feel like its important for everybody. landesman cindy.indd 25 12116 121 PM