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Executively Speaking: Growing into our Future

by: Michael Saxe-Taller

As I watched the hundreds of Kehilla members and friends celebrate Rabbi Dev at our Brit Kehilla – Community Covenant last month, I couldn’t help but kvel (feel proud) about Kehilla and the state of our congregation. We have had quite the start to this year and I am inspired to share my pride with everyone.

Brit Kehilla

On November 10 and 11, Kehilla was brimming with people at our marvelous celebration of our new senior rabbi. Over 400 people prayed, sang, danced, ate and offered blessings and appreciations for Rabbi Dev. On Friday night, we had a joyous Kabbalat Shabbat service, including inspiring words from Rabbi Dev’s teacher and friend, Rabbi Benay Lappe and visionary words from Rabbi Dev. Check out our website for transcripts of these talks and more.

Saturday morning services were highlighted by beautiful blessings for Rabbi Dev from Rabbi Burt and Rabbi David and the passing of the Torah from our former senior rabbis to Rabbi Dev and Hazzan Shulamit. In the afternoon, almost 100 people crowded around lines of tables in the sanctuary for an inspiring Beit Midrash learning session with Rabbi Benay.

The festivities concluded Saturday evening with a moving covenant ritual between Rabbi Dev and the Kehilla community.  After Havdalah, we danced to the music of our Kehilla Community Klezmer Band, featuring none other than Rabbi Dev on trumpet.

The Brit Kehilla showed off the best of the Kehilla Community. Services were joyous and the singing beautiful and spirited. Appreciations and blessings flowed freely all of Shabbat. People’s love for Rabbi Dev and the Kehilla community was abundant.  And literally dozens of people pitched in baking, setting up, greeting, cleaning up and much more.

This seminal event in the life of our community would not have been possible without our extraordinary planning team, which included Susan Freundlich, Remedios Martinez-Cantu, Howard Hamburger, Marjorie Cox, Karen Cohn, Marcie Rubel, Shoshana Finacom, Anna Martin, Allison Rodman, Barbara Cohen, Lisa Bernard- Pearl, Cathy Miller, Julia Epstein, Natalie Roden, Jenny Wong, Barbara Petterson, Jay Koch, Ruth Atkin, Don and Bracha Stone, Norma Mark, Loel Solomon, Jenna Stover Kemp as well as the whole Kehilla Staff.


Kehilla’s membership continues to grow. We already have 50 new member households this year, the largest number of new members we have had in any one year this decade. We are clearly doing some things right because new people continue to join our community.

Kehilla Lobby

I am very excited that we are beautifying our lobby. Thanks to the leadership of Lisa Korwin and the work of Michael Butler, Nancy Feinstein and Lynn Lazarus we have made the entrance to our building more attractive, welcoming and functional. Keep your eyes peeled for more improvements.

A New Staff Member

I am pleased to announce that we have just hired a new Program and Communications Manager, Maya Joshua. Maya will begin working on January 2. We have now rounded out our staff. I will share more info on Maya soon. Please come by and meet her in the new year.

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