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This year we celebrate the 22nd Anniversary of Congregation Kol Ami. We have had an amazing history in these 22 years; growing from a small committed group meeting in a living room to a vibrant community bursting at the walls of our beautiful Temple.
Each year Kol Ami grows stronger because of the involvement and generosity of our members. We are there for each other in our quiet moments of grief and our moments of celebration.
Rabbi Eger is a prominent public face for the important social and religious issues facing the larger community. Cantor Saltzman has premiered original music to a delighted community beyond our Congregation.
There continue to be many avenues to participating; including through ritual, social action, Men of Kol Ami, Women of Kol Ami, Kol Atid or a shoulder to lean on saying Kaddish. Our Congregation offers many paths to being known and being of service.
We look forward to welcoming our new neighbors and friends to our warm congregational family, and to "cool" High Holy Day services held at the lovely, air conditioned Japanese American Cultural Center Theater in Little Tokyo.
In the meantime, come try out Kol Ami's casual, creative summer Shabbat services; musical treats open to all. For service times, please check our website homepage or call Ina Frank, Interim Executive Director at 323/606-0996 Ext. 110.
Marianne Lowenthal and Roberta Bennett, Co-Presidents
Would you like to come to services, but can't make it to the shul? Click HERE to watch services online! We go LIVE the first Friday of each month at 6:45 pm, and at 8:00 pm all other Fridays.
My father was an imperfect man. But so what, and who isn't. My father was, however, perfect in at least one area, and that was in providing me with unconditional love, a love I still feel and relish today, long after his physical passing. So long as I was happy, my father was happy for me. What a blessing.
Even before my father's passing, and increasingly since, various men have assumed a fatherly role in my life. Some are related to me by blood, some by longstanding familiar relationships, some through friendship, and some for only moments in time through happenstance. Each of these father figures has been essential to my continued well-being, and each has contributed to the making of the man that I am today. Also a blessing.
Our tradition commands us to honor our father. I accept a more expansive commandment – to honor all men, however denominated, who have served and who continue to serve in a fatherly role in support of me.
The concept of fatherhood has expanded greatly over the years. Beyond biological fathers, we have adoptive fathers, stepfathers, surrogate fathers, God fathers, and foster fathers. Often, grandfathers become the central father figure in a child's life. Many men assume a fatherly role for children who might not otherwise have an adult male presence in their lives. And in our ever-changing and evolving world, it is not uncommon for women to assume the "fatherly" role in a child's life. Fatherhood is no longer defined solely by biology and/or the law, and all fatherly relationships are equally worthy of acknowledgment and celebration.
Within our tradition, we often reflect on l'dor vador, from generation to generation. We often speak in terms of "passing down" or "passing on" our traditions. But as Father's Day approaches, I think in terms of the mutuality of the relationship between generations, and the mutuality in the fatherly relationships we create. So on Father's Day, while children celebrate their fathers, what better way for the fathers to honor their fathers on Father's Day than to celebrate their children. What might seemingly be a unilateral celebration is rather, in fact, a mutual obligation.
So far, I have assumed (wrongly) that we all have nurturing father-child relationships or affirming father figures in our lives worthy of celebration. We know this is not the case far too often. Since Jewish tradition already embraces multiple dates for marking the New Year, perhaps Father's Day can be added as an additional marking point, with the hope and promise of a fresh start or a second chance at building upon one of the most precious relationships we know.
And to all of the fathers and father figures, I say not only kol hakavod (with respect, good job), but also, allow yourselves to embrace your imperfections. You are under tremendous pressure from so many angles and quarters. It is not easy being a "man" today, let alone a "father." Expectations are changing, often without you even knowing about it. But with any luck, and a little blessing, you will embrace the honor bestowed upon you by your children and those who love you, and you will freely and mutually return the honor.
On this Father's Day, may we all be blessed with the wisdom and insight to acknowledge and to value the healthy relationships we have, and to mend or re-create the relationships we seek. Father's Day is a day when we reflect on the memories, celebrate the moment, and dream of the future. May we do this individually with our families, and collectively as a Reform Movement and as a Jewish People.
Stuart L. Leviton is the lay president of Men of Reform Judaism, an affiliate of the Union for Reform Judaism. Stuart is also an immediate past co-president of Congregation Kol Ami, West Hollywood, CA, and an attorney in Los Angeles, CA.
The Fryman Hike was a big success. Be sure to watch for our upcoming events.
Thank you for attending
TOWN HALL MEETING
WITH DR. RON DISKIN
25th Anniversary Gala Tribute to Rabbi Eger
This year marks Denise Eger’s silver anniversary in the Rabbinate—and her appointment as President-Elect of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), which serves more than 2,300 Reform Rabbis in North America; she’s the first out lesbian to serve in this role. Born in Memphis, Eger moved to the Golden State to study religion at USC and became a leading activist in the West Hollywood scene. In 1992, she founded congregation Kol Ami, a synagogue serving gay Jews and their allies in her adopted home of WeHo. Eger was also the first to officiate a lesbian wedding for that precious window of time in 2008 when same-sex marriage was legal in California. Eger sat on the board of Equality for All/No on Prop 8 and was a founder of the California Faith for Equality, organizing Jews in the marriage equality movement. “I hope that the LGBT community will remember that we have the power to change the religious and spiritual world with our love and communal strength and fight the forces that try to condemn us,” she tells GO. Eger continues to blog and tweet words of love, kindness and acceptance as she embarks on her next quarter century in the Rabbinate. -JF
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Rabbi Eger prominently featured in a piece about women and Passover for The Park LaBrea News / Beverly PressClick HERE to read the article
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