STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Anna Calamaro '23

Anna Calamaro ’23
Rabbinical Student

Anna CalamaroPlease tell us about yourself and your experience at HUC-JIR.
I am a Chicago native, and completed my undergraduate studies in 2014 at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana campus, in Jewish Studies. I worked for four years for Metro Chicago Hillel as Director of Engagement and Jewish Life, serving students on college campuses throughout the city. In 2018, I received my Master’s Degree in Jewish Experiential Education from Hebrew College. My previous rabbinical internships have included being a T’ruah Summer 2021 Fellow, Jeremiah Summer 2020 Fellow, Congregation Shir Ami in San Francisco, Congregation Or Ami in Calabasas, two years as a JDC-Weitzman Fellow, a chaplain intern at Cedars-Sinai Hospital, and a rabbinic intern at Congregation Shir Ami in San Francisco and Congregation Or Ami in Calabasas. I will serve as the rabbinic intern for Congregation Hakafa in Chicago during my final year of rabbinical school. My rabbinate is rooted in my commitment to tikkun olam, community building, inclusivity, dialogue, and innovation. During rabbinical school, I have also merged my passion for Judaism with my passion for birth advocacy work by creating my own company, TzimTzumDoula, which infuses Jewish spirituality and tradition into pregnancy, birth, and postpartum care.
What do you love about HUC-JIR?
I love that HUC-JIR has provided me with countless opportunities to merge all of my passions together in a way that is both meaningful and innovative.
What is most rewarding about your HUC program?
Two things: 1) Growing alongside my peers over the course of five years is such a beautiful and supportive experience. Exploring, learning, and navigating situations and challenges together as one group is so empowering. And 2) The faculty in LA are nothing short of amazing. Building relationships with faculty members and feeling nonstop support and encouragement from them has been key.

What does HUC-JIR mean to you?
For me, HUC-JIR is a family of supportive, innovative individuals who encourage growth, exploration, and a generation of confident Jewish future leaders.