Executively Speaking: What A Start!

Posted by on Nov 3, 2016 in Executive Director's Blog | No Comments

Michael Saxe-Taller-BESTWell, friends, we are off to quite a start to the year 5777!

We recently completed a marvelous holiday season.  From everyone I have spoken with, there is mutual agreement that this year’s High Holy Day services were some of the most beautiful, meaningful and spirit-filled that we have ever experienced.  Highlights included:

  • Many moving words spoken on our theme, “Immigrants. Refugees. Longing. Home” (see the sermons on our website)
  • Hundreds of young people and adults at our Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur Family and Tot Services
  • Almost 1400 people in attendance at our Kol Nidre services
  • A large contingent of Glitter Kehilla folks at services and Glitter’s Rosh Hashana Tashlich and Potluck
  • Over 1,000 coats donated for refugees and immigrants, in addition to tubs of toiletries and bins of food

Many thanks to Beth Bittle and the rest of staff who put the services together, the spiritual and musical leadership team who guided us so beautifully and the many volunteers who made everything work.

Our community continues to grow in leaps and bounds.  This year, we already have 32 new member households, including 15 new school families, and 8 households returning to Kehilla after some time away.  And we expect that there will still be others who will join us over the next several months.

In September, 75 Kehilla members spent an afternoon studying and discussing the Movement for Black Lives Platform, in preparation for the Kehilla board taking up the question of whether to endorse the platform.

Kehilla School is underway, with over 70 students eagerly learning about Jewish holidays and building Jewish community.  Our 2017 Bar/Bat Mitzvah cohort has begun their classes and held their opening ropes course adventure.

And finally, we have a number of staff transitions happening:

Youth Programs Coordinator, Natalie Boskin has joined Sandra Razieli in running our Bar/Bat Mitzvah Program.

Managing Director Beth Bittle is going down to three days a week.  You will find her in the office on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays.

We have begun the search process for our next Kehilla School Director, who this spring will take over from Rabbi Dev as she moves fully into the Senior Rabbi role.

And after 18½ years of dedicated service, Kehilla’s Communications Coordinator, Sasha Gottfried, will be retiring. Her last day of work will be Friday, November 11, 2016.

Sasha has given generously of herself to Kehilla over these 18 years.  She has, in many ways, been the heartbeat of our community as we have grown, changed and matured. The care, thoughtfulness, and fierce commitment she has brought to her work at Kehilla have made it possible for so many of us to find our home in this community.  For numerous Kehilla folks, Sasha was their first contact as they became members, and she has continued to be their bridge to Kehilla for almost two decades.

We hope that all of you can join us on Sunday, November 13, 4-6pm at Kehilla for a Retirement Party to celebrate Sasha and the work that she has done for Kehilla.  Please RSVP to volunteer@kehillasynagogue.org.

Kehilla has been privileged to have Sasha on staff, but fortunately, she will not be leaving her place as an important member of the Kehilla community!   We look forward to many more years with Sasha as part of our community.  And we look forward to the new year continuing with many more opportunities for growth, learning and celebration.

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