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New Beginnings

This week we wish Liz Z. Sussman, all the very best as she enters into retirement and her next adventure. She has been the Early Childhood Education Director of the Richard E. Rudolph Jr. Preschool at KI for the last eight years. With all of her many gifts, Liz grew our Preschool to 120 children, strengthened our connection with support services, kept Jewish learning and values in every aspect of the school, and enriched the parent community with her wisdom and knowledge.

Each day Liz could be found not only in her leadership position as Director, but she could be found teaching and singing with children, counseling parents, and encouraging our teachers. As a part of the senior staff, Liz added a well-rounded perspective and guidance on how to engage the Preschool Community. At Tot Shabbats she led with her beautiful voice, strumming guitar and strong spirit. Every child was important to Liz; every child was unique. She always felt that it was her job to help provide a nurturing environment where each child could thrive.

On a personal level, Liz is family to me. Many congregants and families feel that way as well. She was always there with her life experience to remind me- this too will pass and to remember that I was strong enough to get through all the stages of being a parent. She always could see the best in my children and in all of our children- enough to remind us as parents to see it in our children.

Liz led a generation of young singers in our Shir Joy choir. She gave them the gift of Jewish music and a connection to Judaism that lasted well into their mature years.  One of her students, Jacob Kane, sophomore at Penn State main campus:

Your energy and passion for learning is contagious and your positivity makes KI a better place. I will always look back on my time in Shir Joy as the best performing experience I have ever had. You are such a valuable member of KI’s community and words cannot express the impact that you have had on me and so many other fortunate students.  KI is so lucky to have you!

Our preschool community is strong due to Liz’s efforts, our committed staff and dedicated parents. As we transition from one director to the next we are going from strength to strength.

This week we also welcomed Kelly Sussman, M.Ed., our new Early Childhood Education Director of the Richard E. Rudolph Jr. Preschool! Kelly and her family have been a part of the KI community for over 18 years. Kelly has had many roles at KI as a JQuest teacher, Preschool Teacher, and an Administrative Assistant to Liz at KI. She will bring her many gifts of her experience teaching children, bringing creativity to the heart of all she does, and her multi-talented ability in technology and the arts. Kelly expressed to us that Liz has been the best role model, and she plans on building on the legacy of a preschool filled with a love for learning.

Please join me in both wishing Liz all the best as she begins a new journey- more time for her beautiful and full family; especially her new Granddaughter-Celia. And to Kelly, welcome home!