New teacher for a new role: ‘Rakezet’ Mrs. Tsaidi


RELATABLE: Mrs. Tsaidi hopes to get to know every freshman and sophomore girl.

By Jacob Feitelberg, Outside News Editor

Ninth- and tenth-grade girls will have Mrs. Carolyn Tsaidi as a spiritual guide-counselor, or rakezet, this year.  

Her husband, new Judaic Studies teacher Rabbi Yagil Tsaidi, has been given a similar role for the boys, as rakez, and Judaic Studies teacher Ms. Ilana Wilner will be rakezet for girls in grades 11 and 12.  

“I will be at davening a few times a week,” said Mrs. Tsaidi, who is also planning to become a nurse. “And I’m going to take a few girls out a few times a week to breakfast or take them out to lunch.”

The new job titles were announced by Principal Reb Noam Weissman in an email Aug. 19 about favoritism. He said he hoped that they would help each student feel a personal connection with a staff member so no one felt left out.

“I met with this team and they have already made it their goal to make connections with each and every student in the school,” Reb Noam wrote, referring to Rabbi and Mrs. Tsaidi, Ms. Wilner, and new Mashgiach Ruchani (spiritual supervisor) Rabbi David Block.

“They will spend time with students during breakfast, grab coffee later in the day, have the students over for Shabbat meals, arrange monthly onegs, and develop chaburahs (small learning groups.”

Although the Tsaidis are part of the Judaic Studies faculty and will relate to students on a personal and religious level, Mrs. Tsaidi said she can relate to less religious students for another reason.

“I wasn’t as religious as I am now in high school, so I completely understand the whole spectrum,” said Mrs. Tsaidi. “I view everyone the same.”

Mrs.Tsaidi grew up in Valley Village and went to YULA Girls High School,  but said she wasn’t very religious until she went on the Birthright program while a student at UC Santa Barbara.  Birthright takes Jewish college students to Israel if they have not been before.

The secular environment at UCSB also caused her to take her religion more seriously, she said.  It also instilled in her a love of art and the beach.

“I love art, drawing and painting,” she said.  “I also like going to the beach.”

Mrs. Tsaidi went to seminary at Shearim last year, after she got married to Rabbi Tsaidi, whom she met in New York City.

Mrs. Tsaidi said she hopes to stay long term, but doesn’t know for sure because she is studying to be a nurse. She now attends Santa Monica College an hopes to either go to St. Mary’s Nursing School or go to UCLA for nursing school.