Leah Zimmerman Bids Farewell to BCC


I was 35 weeks pregnant and just coming off stage from performing in an evening of one-act plays in New York, when my husband told me that UC Riverside had offered him a tenure track position. 10 days later he formally accepted the position, and my water broke. My daughter was only 6 weeks old when we flew to California for interviews and to secure a place to live. My mother held the baby while I appreciated an hour of independence, sitting on the green couch in the 6000 Pico space talking with Felicia Park-Rogers, Rabbi Edwards and Robin Berkovitz about Ohr Chayim.

As summer approaches, so does the 10-year anniversary of my family’s cross-country move and the huge welcome and embrace we found at BCC. During that first year of Ohr Chayim my family all got in the car on Saturday mornings and had a family Shabbat drive to LA. Jeff and the baby, Bella, went to the parent group and my then 5 year-old Leila joined the other students. At that time we were able to attend more Ohr Chayim events. You all welcomed us and gave us our first sense of belonging anywhere in California. I am deeply grateful to have had this community supporting us during the first few years of building a new life here 10 years later, I am moving on to other adventures. It has been my honor and privilege to guide the Ohr Chayim program through its first decade as a weekly event. It has challenged me and required me to grow in my capacity for working with students with various needs, building community, communication and leadership skills. I leave BCC a stronger LGBT ally and advocate, a better educator, and a fuller person for having spent these years with you. I am incredibly grateful to everyone for all the meaningful conversations and relationships that have fed my soul.

Recently, in conversation with my 15 year-old daughter, she told me that it was only in the past few years that she has come to realize there are people who don’t support or understand LGBT+ people. You have all given my family a gift that I could never have given them alone. Thank
you for being part of our lives and for helping to teach and model for my children what it means to be an inclusive community.

While I look forward to having more Saturdays free and spending weekends with my family in Claremont, I will miss my Shabbat mornings with the children and families of BCC.

BCC will recognize Leah, and her work with Ohr Chayim, at PRIDE Shabbat, June 9th. She will be giving the drash.

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