Rabbi Chava Bahle has dedicated her life to spiritual practices and counseling. For 18 years she served as a volunteer chaplain for the Michigan Department of Corrections. In 1999 she recieved Traverse City’s Sara Hardy Humanitarian Award for her work in human rights, and has been recognized by the Michigan Department of Civil Rights for her leadership in this arena.
After receiving her Masters Degree in Near Eastern Studies (Judiac Studies) from the University of Michigan, Chava Bahle set out to study for the rabbinate. She received her first smicha (rabbinic ordination) from a beth din (rabbinic court) of rabbis from three denominations through Midrasha Benleumit in New York in 1998. Reb Chava received a second smicha from the ALEPH Alliance for Jewish Renewal in July, 2005. She continues her studies now with Maggid Yitzchak Buxbaum, as she trains more deeply to become a maggid, an inspired teacher on the path of life.
Reb Chava’s association with Congregation Makom Shalom began in 2006, when she began traveling to Chicago to conduct monthly Shabbat services. That same year she began her association with Chicago’s Jewish-Catholic Family School, serving as the Jewish clergy representative to that community of interfaith families.
In addition to her role as Makom Shalom’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Chava is also the Director of the Or Tzafon Retreat Center, a center for the study of Jewish mysticism, spiritual practice and contemporary worship in northern Michigan, serving the Midwest.
Herself a partner in an intercultural marriage, Chava shares Makom Shalom’s perspective of inclusiveness towards all who wish to participate in our Jewish community. In Reb Chava’s own words, “My goal is not to make the whole world Jewish. My goal is use the tools I have to help every heart, every soul, and every family and community I touch experience its unique path to joy, abundance and blessing. It is from that place of joy, abundance and blessing that we repair the world.”