Margot B. Valles
Director of Congregational Lifelong Learning
Menahelet Margot, Director of Congregational Lifelong Learning (far left) with her husband, Sean, daughter, Maya, and puppy, Sprinkles.
Dr. Margot B. Valles is passionate about teaching, learning and making meaning from our rich religious tradition(s). She views her role as facilitator, providing opportunities for congregants to get more out of their connection to Judaism and Jewishness, no matter what age. She is currently pursuing rabbinic ordination through the Pluralistic Rabbinical Seminary. Before she consciously dedicated her career to Jewish learning, she was an academic with an area of expertise in Early Modern Yiddish fiction (especially knightly tales). She worked as assistant professor at Michigan State University, where she taught courses on Jewish literature and culture from 2013-2020. She has been teaching and learning at Congregation Shaarey Zedek since 2011.
She is the Menahelet (Director) of our supplemental religious school (SZRS) for school-aged children. She is also the co-director of our new community wide summer camp, Kehillat Zedek. She also organizes adult education experiences with something for everyone–from traditional classes on unconventional topics (like “Holy Harlotry”!) to “Lunch’n Leans” to our “ReJEWvenate” non-traditional Shabbat morning program.
Patty Warshaw has been our administrator since 2003. Prior to her employment at Shaarey Zedek, she served on the Cultural Committee and was a Trustee and Financial Secretary of the Executive Board.
As a congregant, she became a Bat Mitzvah as a member of the 2006 B’nai Mitzvah Class, was inducted into the SZ Yad Squad in December 2009, and continues to chant Torah on Shabbat mornings. She is currently studying to become a B’Nai Mitzvah tutor and Shabbat service leader.
She occasionally spends time in the SZ kitchen preparing Shabbat morning foods, holiday dinners, Bar/Bat Mitzvah Kiddush luncheon and helps Sisterhood, GLTY and other groups in the congregation with the Yom Kippur break-fast, Seder, Purim carnival, special events, etc. 22 years running the only Jewish delicatessen in town (Bagel-Haul Deli) gave her lots of practice.
Patty and her husband Kenny have been married 35 years and have one daughter, Lauren and one dog, Farfel, the golden retriever. She also has a large collection of Pluto items (you will find many around the synangogue) and loves to camp, bicycle and go to the beach.