A New Kehillah
September 20, 2019
By Hallie Keren & Jonathan Epstein

How many of you stayed up and eagerly waited for Israel’s elections results? These past elections clearly exhibited that people in Israel yearn for collaboration. While it is still unclear who will lead the country it’s clear that Kehillah – community – is necessary.

This week’s Torah portion lists the blessings that we will receive in this world for fulfilling G-d’s mitzvot or commandments. It also states:  “And it will come to you all of these blessings and they will reach you, when you listen to the voice of the Almighty, your God” (Deut. 28:2).

According to Aish and Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, people often don’t realize what is truly good for them, and run away from the blessing instead of welcoming and appreciating them. So Pliskin says, the Torah promises that the blessing will follow and reach us, and only later will we appreciate what it is. This happens every day in our lives. In his interpretation, Pliskin says we should be patient before judging and criticizing what seems to be negative, because it may turn out to be a blessing in disguise later.

This year, we kicked off the Kadimah Scholars at Park program, as a means to continue the tradition of Kadimah Academy through our new partnership with Park School of Buffalo. Both schools share similar values and their cooperation, creativity and willingness to work together created a new Kehillah.

As with anything new and different, there’s been some skepticism and doubt about whether this can work and achieve our collective goals. But perhaps we all need to wait and see, to look more closely at what is actually happening within the school and learn about it, and to reserve such judgment until we see the ultimate results. With the opportunity to reach more students at Park, with the opportunity to extend Jewish education through high school, and with the broader potentials offered by this partnership, this too can be a blessing for our community.

As we say, Kol Yisrael arevim zh la’zeh – All Israel is responsible for one another. It is our responsibility to ensure we maintain our Jewish identity while respecting and accepting others. The new Kadimah Scholars at Park continues Jewish education in Buffalo and expands it through high school. What an incredible community to build.

It is my hope that we all accept each other, work together and create more Kehillot. “Ve-ahavta le-re’acha ka-mocha” Fortunately, it is possible to love ourselves and our neighbors through the same work, if our work provides something of value to others.

Shana Tova.

Hallie Keren is the current Chair of the Kadimah Scholars Program and Jonathan Epstein is the past Chair of Kadimah Academy.

A New Kehillah - Jewish thought of the week graphic