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I Love Kol Emeth

I love Kol Emeth. I love the kindness and welcome in our community. I have watched bar and bat mitzvah students come up to speak. Maybe they have a stutter, or they speak too fast. I wonder: will the community have the patience to accept this person as they are? The answer is always yes. I have watched people make sure someone in a wheelchair has a spot to sit. I see people offering hugs and welcome when others arrive to Kol Emeth for a service or an event. I have seen newcomers get embraced and invited to join a table at Kiddush. I love our kindness and our welcome.

I love Kol Emeth because we want to pray and learn. Our new Sanctuary inspires an intensity during the Torah reading matched by an energy as we sing. Rabbi Graff led an incredible Musaf last Shabbat which was elevated because we in the community joined sang with her. I love that I can teach Levinas or Sfat Emet and there are people who want to sit and learn with me. I love that Sarah Miller offers to teach parenting and Torah on Shabbat and that the room is too small to hold the people and their openness.

I love our commitment to practice combined with openness. We are a traditional place that cares about Shabbat, kashrut, and Jewish law. We are also an open place ready to accept people wherever they are. Showing up for Kiddush on Shabbat is totally normal and good in our community. Coming into the service is one (wonderful choice) and sitting out in the courtyard building community is an equally great  choice. I love that this is a place where people can explore who they want to be as humans and Jews.

I love our concern for the larger world. Last Sunday I went to Noor Islamic Center, an Afghani community that has, with our help, settled 600 Afghani refugee families since the US left Afghanistan in 2021. I love that people wanted to make backpacks for the children of these families, to donate winter coats to everyone, to fill a container with clothes, bedding, and other needs as these refugees get settled. I love that we are supporting an Israel first generation college student through FIDF and that we have a l’olam voed committee educating us in how to treat our world better.

I love the team at Kol Emeth. I love that our education, facilities, and administrative teams all serve because they are connected to the holy mission of our community. I love our Board who so freely gives of themselves and their time. Every member of our community, wherever they are in their Jewish journeys, I find endlessly fascinating for who they are, the tasks they value, and watching them with their family, friends and community. I love Kol Emeth.

From a place of love, I want to challenge us. We are thriving when many communities are shrinking. We are finding new and creative ways to inspire a generation of Jews alongside people with life long commitments. Now that we have succeeded in building and establishing ourselves in our new building, what direction should we be taking as a community? If we imagine a Kol Emeth ten years from now, what will make us feel as though we had been part of a caring community engaged in a sacred mission? What would you want to have experienced and to have supported in those intervening ten years?

Together with our KE team and volunteers, we will put together a series of sessions to discuss our future and our mission as a congregation. We will be asking people what they hope for from the community people and challenging people to consider how our mission can reach the larger Jewish community and be of service to humanity. I believe our community is powerfully positioned to be a light in this Jewish community and to the world. And you are the people I most want to do that work with and for! If you have any initial thoughts or ideas, please respond back. I would love to know!

With love and Shabbat wishes-

Rabbi David Booth

Sat, July 13 2024 7 Tammuz 5784