2021 Tillman Scholar

Kanaan Goldstein

Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

“Expressing yourself is difficult, but it saves lives. In my service as a chaplain, I will lead by example to normalize expressing emotions and influence attitudes surrounding mental health in the military.”

Kanaan Goldstein was raised in Norman, Oklahoma. She joined the Navy at 17, and spent six years working as a Fire Control technician. As a sailor, she worked with people from all over the world, enhancing her leadership skills and developed a passion for the concepts of service to others, service to self, and service to the community.

In the Navy, Kanaan learned that by promoting self-care, she set an example of healing and growth for those around her. She saw the deep need for human connection and now aims to translate her life experience into her chaplaincy to help others find a sense of purpose. Through conversation with people, she tapped into how Judaism plays a role in her life and how connection to others helps create her identity as a pastoral caregiver.

Kanaan graduated from the University of Oklahoma, with degrees in Psychology and Judaic Studies. She will begin her second year at Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia in Fall 2021. Before Rabbinical school, she worked as the Engagement Specialist at Syracuse University Hillel, where she built relationships with Jewish students and student veterans by creating programs that helped students explore their individuality and connections to each other. Becoming a rabbi is the best way for Kanaan to prepare herself for service. She is dedicated to spending her life as a chaplain in service of others by empowering people to express themselves. Kanaan’s mission will strengthen the future of the military by enhancing the lives of service members.