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Rabbi's Week in Review - 12/11/2023

12/11/2023 04:03:34 PM

Dec11

I am thrilled to announce that Congregation Kol Ami has established a position of director of engagement, and Julia Patterson will serve in the role. We approached the Menorah Heritage Foundation with the idea for a project titled “Radical Inclusion.” The idea of “radical inclusion” is to be more of who we already are, seeking out those who have been marginalized and have not felt welcome elsewhere — those from the queer community, interfaith families, those with disabilities, anyone who is somewhere on a Jewish journey and who supports others on that journey.  

We see this project as not just benefiting Kol Ami but also benefiting the entire Kansas City Jewish community. When a study of the KC Jewish community was released a couple of years ago, it stated what we at Kol Ami already knew: that the KC Jewish community has not been particularly welcoming to those new to the community, and that more Jews were moving into the central city who needed a community with which to connect. In meeting those challenges as a truly open and welcoming Jewish community, Kol Ami is particularly well-positioned to meet the concerns related in the study.

Julia Patterson brings a wealth of experience and compassion in her past work with not-for-profit organizations such as Special Olympics and Harvesters. Along with husband Michael Patterson, she is the parent of three, two of whom are twins. 

Julia will not only be seeking out those presently not connected to the Jewish community but will also be working with those who are already within our community to find ways to facilitate greater connection. There will be exciting announcements of opportunities to come, including micro grants from the Jewish Federation for something as simple as hosting a Shabbat dinner, funding affinity groups for wherever there are shared interests that can be part of a Jewish community (think mah jongg club, meditation groups, or the many ideas we have not yet considered), and other ways to increase connection and build community.  

We are grateful to the Menorah Heritage Foundation for its generous support, and for believing in us and our vision of radical inclusion. Particular thanks go to Rita Cortes, executive director, and Mirra Klausner, grants manager, for their wonderful work for the entire Jewish community.

And Julia, we welcome you in your role as director of engagement of Congregation Kol Ami!

Thu, February 29 2024 20 Adar I 5784