The Board of Trustees has been sharing individual member profiles to introduce ourselves to the congregation and describe our individual paths to joining the board. Please meet members Lisa Korwin and Ruth Atkin:
Lisa Korwin is beginning her second year on the Board and is very much looking forward to it. She began attending Kehilla’s high holiday services in the ‘90s and was drawn to the politics and commitment to inclusive practices. As someone who grew up assimilated yet culturally Jewish, it was deeply important to feel welcome and to have a place to explore her Jewish identity. After years of loving Kehilla from the periphery, Lisa and her wife Kip finally decided to become members. When Lisa saw a post in the newsletter soliciting new members for Kehilla’s Art Gallery Committee, she saw it as a wonderful way into the working life of Kehilla. She joined the committee, and had the honor of serving as its chair. The Art Committee was only the beginning. She co-led the beautification of Kehilla’s lobby to use beauty in providing respite and continues to work on different building beautification projects. Lisa and a team of friends also served on an accompaniment team for an Afghan family who came to settle in the East Bay.
Serving on the board this past year exposed Lisa to the many facets of the work being done behind the scenes to make Kehilla the warm, welcoming, spiritual and political Synagogue that it is. As a board member, Lisa not only attends monthly board meetings but also serves on the Generosity Committee. This Committee — which was profiled in an earlier Kol Kehilla article — is responsible for raising critically important resources for Kehilla. This is a new role for Lisa but one that she continues to learn more about each week, recognizing how vitally important it is that Kehilla have the resources to thrive.
Lisa Korwin came to the Bay Area from New York 36 years ago in search of an environment that was welcoming to lesbians and politically progressive. She put down roots in Oakland and hasn’t looked back since. Lisa launched her own firm in 2001 — Korwin Consulting — where she evaluates programs that are dedicated to advancing social justice solutions. The work is tremendously satisfying, and she is inspired by the important work she supports.
Lisa looks forward to the year ahead and getting to know even more of Kehilla’s members.
Ruth Atkin is beginning her third year on the Board of Trustees. Ruth was “shul-hopping” in the 1990s and “settled down,” becoming a member after Avi Rose gave a High Holy Day talk on LGBT inclusion and how having a critical mass would change the culture of an institution. Kehilla was the perfect place for a home that synthesized political activism with Jewish renewal. Before moving to the Bay Area, Ruth had been involved in the chavurah movement, one of the strands that evolved into Jewish renewal, as well as activism as a Jew and a feminist through New Jewish Agenda. She was a founding editor of Bridges: A Jewish Feminist Journal, an outgrowth of Agenda’s feminist task force newsletter. She was also an editor of the Bay Area Jewish Women’s Newsletter, yellowing issues of which are in her attic.
Ruth was active years ago in a Kehilla anti-racism committee and early sanctuary work. More recently, she served on a support team for two Iraqi refugees.
When she joined the board, she decided to put her attention on the physical well-being of our congregation. In these past two years it has been wonderful to see capital improvements to the building, including improved accessibility, and more projects in the planning stages.
This coming year Ruth will serve as Kehilla’s Treasurer and co-chair of the Finance Committee.