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Rabbi's Week in Review - 6/19/2023

06/19/2023 06:08:58 PM

Jun19

I spent the better part of last week at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, Connecticut, at the final/culminating retreat for my Clergy Leadership Incubator (CLI), a two-year rabbinic fellowship striving to promote significant transformation of synagogue life. (And I, the rabbi, consistently test as an introvert every time I take a Myers-Briggs personality test, resulting in an approach to retreats bordering on dread.) The director of the CLI program, Rabbi Sid Schwarz, has been a valued consultant to my (and our) work at Congregation Kol Ami in engaging in a process where we can potentially do more for the Kansas City Jewish community — and do better. 

Overall, our goals at Kol Ami through the two years of the CLI (and hopefully for the next number of years) have been to get more plugged in to our Jewish values of welcoming marginalized communities into our Kol Ami family, and to reach out externally to live our Jewish values of loving the stranger, the communities outside our own Jewish community. By living our values and more actively communicating what we do to a broader circle, we can expand our reach, get more participation (particularly from the vast number of Jews in Kansas City without synagogue affiliation), be a source of positive energy that feeds the entire KC Jewish community, and be seen as a leader for justice in the entire KC community.

All this will lead us to living lives of meaning and purpose — to be not only a place where spiritual needs are met but also a place where everyone feels needed. I do believe we have always been moving in a positive and needed direction for a changing Jewish world. I truly believe we are on the cusp of something big and wonderful.

I am gratified by being able to live my Jewish life in this extraordinary Jewish community. As we take time in our summers to relax and regroup, let us look forward to a year of growth. Let us go forward boldly in opening up new possibilities for living Jewish lives, and introducing others to a Jewish community of love and concern.

(As the newsletter and this blog take a month-long hiatus, my thanks to those who work each week to bring the newsletter to all of us. Enjoy your summer, and as we may hear often in our Jewish circles, don’t be a stranger.)

Fri, June 14 2024 8 Sivan 5784