Class Notes & Profiles

Rabbi Skates to Victory

By Lindsay Dawson ’05

While most of us attempt to avoid ice when we encounter it during the colder months, Rabbi Liza Weiss Stern ’75 deliberately seeks it out. Stern, a self-proclaimed sufferer of “adult-onset skating addiction,” was a member of the 2004 New England Women’s Hockey League Championship team. The 5'3" rabbi had never ice-skated until five years ago, at a child’s birthday party. Even though she refused to release her tight grip on the rink’s edge, she was hooked. She began to skate daily, and her sightings of female hockey players inspired her to take up the sport herself. Her initial training was not without incident, as Stern recalled in a recent Boston Globe article a “humiliating” clinic where “the mean age of the group was 18. The people my age were waiting on the bleachers for their kids.” She once maintained a firm boundary between her vocation and her hobby, until her team captain’s request for a prayer before the championship game revealed her profession. Now, her life as a rabbi and her life on the ice inform each other, as she incorporates lessons learned in the rink in her sermons. Of her team’s victory over younger opponents in the championship, she said, “We get what it means to reach down inside of you and find stuff you didn’t know you had.”