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Executively Speaking: Kehilla Updates

by Michael Saxe-Taller, Executive Director

I am imagining that as you are reading this, you are enjoying a beautiful sunny weekend, you are away on an exciting vacation or you are reading a good book while your children are off at an awesome summer camp. These may be true, or you may be, like me, at work doing your job. Either way, we are all still in the midst of summer.

Nevertheless, here at Kehilla, we are already gearing up for the New Year, deep into preparations for the beginning of school and High Holy Days. So, if I can grab your attention away from the sun and the beautiful flowers, I want to let you know about some of the things brewing at Kehilla.

Membership Renewal and School Registration

The synagogue’s new fiscal year began on July 1, 2017. You should have all received an email asking that you renew your Kehilla membership and register your school age children for Kehilla School. Thank you to those of you who have already done so and I strongly encourage the rest of you to do it as soon as possible. We had a couple of glitches in our registration and renewal system, but those appear to have been ironed out. The earlier you complete the process, the easier our complicated work of running Kehilla School and organizing High Holy Day services will be. Expect more reminders over the next month.

High Holy Days

The entire Kehilla staff is already engaged in the details of High Holy Days. We think that our theme for this year, Facing Our Times with Spiritual Audacity, is right on time for the days that we live in. By the second week of August, you will receive more detailed information and our ticketing system will be live. As members (once you renew!), you receive High Holy Day tickets though this year seems like a good time to invite friends to Kehilla’s services.

Staff and Clergy Changes

There is a lot of exciting news on the staff front:

-Rabbi Dev is our new Senior Rabbi! It has been a long and gradual process, but Dev has now stepped fully into their new role. I am delighted to be partnering with Rabbi Dev and look forward to many years of being led by their vision. Please reserve the Shabbat of Friday, November 10 & Saturday, November 11 for Rabbi Dev’s Rabbinic Installation. It will be a 24-hour celebration filled with blessings, learning, prayer, singing, eating and joy. More details will be available in next month’s Kol Kehilla.

-Hazzan Shulamit is increasing her time and stepping into new roles, which is a blessing for the whole community. Founding Rabbi Burt Jacobson will continue teaching and offering spiritual guidance to the Kehilla community.

-After a month officiating at four Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, Rabbi David is away for the month of August and has now begun his new role as Active Emeritus in earnest. We will see him back at Kehilla but just in smaller doses.

-Rabbi Gray Myrseth, our new Kehilla School Director, has arrived and has jumped in with two feet to plan for the new school year. Rabbi Gray is looking forward to meeting you, and will be part of our leadership team for High Holy Day Family services.

-We are in the midst of a job search for a new Program and Communications Manager. Office Administrator Dee Ward is continuing to keep Kehilla’s administrative ship sailing and has taken over responsibilities for building management and rentals. We are unendingly grateful to Christine Haider-Winnett, who has once again come to the rescue and is working as the best temporary administrator that anyone can imagine.

-We all miss having Beth Bittle on the Kehilla staff, but we are overjoyed that she has agreed to be our High Holy Day Coordinator for this year. You will see her around periodically and then throughout High Holy Day services.

-Our extraordinary Bar/Bat Mitzvah Program Coordinator, Sandra Razieli will continue to guide our BBM program but will be doing so remotely from the beautiful islands and clean air of Hawaii. Our Youth Program Coordinator, Natalie Boskin, will continue to ably manage the BBM program at Kehilla.

-We have hired our first-ever Evening and Weekend Custodian, Fred Williamson. He will join our long-time custodian Josef Straub in caring for

our building. We are excited that we will now have custodial coverage on weeknights and most weekends.

-Natalie Boskin has taken on an additional role and will be working as a bookkeeping assistant, supporting the work of our marvelous bookkeeper, Molly Melamed.

As you enjoy the final month of summer, don’t hesitate to give me a ring or drop by if you need anything.  Enjoy!

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The Weekly, Kehilla’s newsletter, is released every Thursday.