student rabbi, writer, mushroom forager, yoga teacher
(not a human doing)
Born and raised south of the base of the Appalachian Trail in north Georgia (indigenously Tsalaguwetiyi land), Paige חמה פריידא בת שמחה ויפה found herself immediately drawn to exploring the traditions of her ancestors, from climbing trees to studying Torah.
Student Rabbi Paige built her Jewish foundation at both the Alfred & Adele Davis Academy and Camp Barney Medintz. Throughout that learning, she spent her space under the sun receiving a black belt in taekwondo, serving as the president of her BBYO chapter, caring for children and adults with developmental disabilities, interning at Temple Emanu-El of Atlanta, and living near Tel Aviv with Alexander Muss High School in Israel. By age sixteen, Paige knew she would be a rabbi.
While working toward her B.A. in Jewish Studies and Creative Writing from the College of Charleston, Paige served on the board of the CofC Jewish Student Union-Hillel, as an active member of Kappa Alpha Theta (which she currently receives a scholarship/grant from for rabbinical school), led as the Judaics Specialist at Camp Barney, and studied at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
Before starting rabbinical school at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Paige worked as a full-time caregiver for a girl with Rett Syndrome, starting at the individual level in her journey with pastoral care. During the first year of HUC on the Jerusalem campus and the second year on the Los Angeles campus, she began working as the Retreat Manager for Or HaLev Silent Jewish Meditation Retreats and completed her two hundred hour yoga teacher training certification. She serves as the Student Rabbi, sole clergy, of Temple B’nai Israel in Amarillo, Texas, traveling back and forth once a month to lead Shabbat services, teach a Torah Study and Adult Education class, work with conversion and B’nai Mitzvah students, visit homebound congregants, and ultimately, solo lead High Holiday services as well. She joined the Weitzman-JDC Fellowship in Azerbaijan & the Republic of Georgia as well as the Fellowship at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE) in which she pilgrimaged to the town of Pultusk, Poland, where her Grandma Helen escaped from during the Holocaust.
Finally, after all of these fulfilling, spiritual pursuits, the redwoods that had always called Paige’s heart finally won her over. She transferred to ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal to finish her rabbinical studies, joining the first ever cohort of the Earth-Based Judaism Track, and moved to an intentional community in the redwood forest of Northern California. Paige began working with Wilderness Torah, the Center for Earth-Based Judaism, which truly embodies everything she believes in and all she hopes to pursue in her rabbinate. She worked with them as a mentor for B’hootz, their outdoor “Hebrew School,” as well as helping lead in other capacities for Shabbat and the High Holidays. Additionally, Paige regularly leads for Kol HaEmek in Redwood Valley, Temple Beth-El in Humboldt, and serves as Rabbinic Intern for Shefa: Jewish Psychedelic Support, leading monthly Integration Circles. She also offers spiritual accompaniment through Fireside Project Psychedelic Support Line and has lovingly worked with Urban Adamah and At The Well. Paige feels drawn to intimately working with all different forms of altered consciousness, including death, and passionately believes in green burial practices such as human composting. She serves on the Chevrah Kadisha of Mendocino Coast Jewish Community, where she dwells. Student Rabbi Paige passionately officiates weddings, funerals, baby namings, B’nai Mitzvot & conversions.
Throughout all those revolutions around the sun, some adventure highlights include AfrikaBurn in the South African desert, backpacking across China, Vietnam, Thailand, & India, meeting the baobab trees of Madagascar, following Bon Iver on concert tour across Colorado, skydiving & bungee jumping, driving a campervan around the entire border of Iceland, scuba diving every opportunity, hiking ים לים sixty miles in three days from the Mediterranean Sea to the Kineret, and spending weeks in meditative silence.
Now, Paige spends any free time officiating rituals, caring for adorable babies, hiking, jamming on her record player or guitar, and writing a book on her dad’s old typewriter about her radical philosophies.
Student Rabbi Paige deeply resonates with the teachings of Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l, particularly in regards to Gaian Consciousness and the oneness of all life. She approaches and perceives all other earthlings, trees, and all life as merely an extension of herself, or more so perceives herself as merely an extension of them. We are Alone = All One. Thus, this articulation of her journey serves to simply share one story of the infinite.
When asked to describe either her relationship with Judaism or her relationship with nature, Paige often shares the old Hasidic tale of the rabbi’s wise son who would sneak off to the woods from shul to davven. When the rabbi does not understand his son’s choice to pray in the forest rather than inside and confronts his child, declaring that “God is the same everywhere,” his smiling son profoundly responds “but I’m not.”