President’s remarks at Groundbreaking, October 8, 2017

Good morning. My name is David Williams, President of Congregation Kehillath Israel. It’s my pleasure to welcome you to today’s ceremonial groundbreaking.

From the time we started planning for KI’s 2017 Centennial almost a decade ago, we knew that we had an opportunity to create an innovative center of urban Judaism, one that could serve Greater Boston and act as a model for communities across the country and around the world.

Today we can proudly say the vision is within reach. We are in the midst of implementing a multi-organizational, multi-generational campus to address religious, educational, social, cultural and housing needs for Jews across the spectrum of engagement. From the immersed group for whom synagogue is central, to cultural Russian Speakers and Israelis, to the familial and even the minimally involved, we have something compelling to offer that lines up closely with the needs identified in the Greater Boston Jewish Community study that CJP commissioned.

We didn’t wait for the groundbreaking to start building the physical structure. And we aren’t waiting for the building to be completed to implement the campus vision.

Consider just some of the partners who are active on this campus. We have historic synagogues including KI and Congregation Mishkan Tefila, a more than 150 year old shul that made the bold and enlightened decision to co-locate and collaborate with us. We have non-traditional congregations, including Washington Square Minyan –100% of whose members donated to the KI Next campaign, along with Minyan Shaleym and Minyan Kol Rinah. Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly will build apartments for independent living. We are the headquarters for New England Yachad, which integrates people with disabilities into the mainstream of Jewish life, and Center Makor, the cultural center for Russian speaking Jews.

Together we bring the scale, skills, financial resources and creative energy to unite and uplift the Jewish people. We will use the campus as a platform for ambitious initiatives. For example, we are…

  • Enhancing programming for high-schoolers with a campuswide teen initiative
  • Designing an innovation center focused on young adults, and
  • Launching a robust and comprehensive Israel engagement program

Today we celebrate the achievement of an incredible milestone: this ceremonial groundbreaking that is possible due to the generosity of more than 300 donors, who have contributed a total of $15 million to enable construction and renovation to move forward. We are on schedule to move into our new and renovated facilities in time for Rosh Hashana 2018.

Thank you so much, to all who have brought us to this historic moment.

One family with historic ties that could not join us today asked me to share this statement:

Our Goldberg/Rabb/Levine Family has davened at and supported Kehillath Israel for over 90 years. It is a privilege for us, as the beneficiaries of that legacy, to carry it forward as supporters of our exciting Campaign for Our Second Century.

Signed: Carol Rabb and Avram Jacob Goldberg, Deborah Beth Goldberg, and Joshua Rabb Goldberg.

At KI, we consider this campus to be a communal asset, and so we are inviting the broader community to participate in visioning further what it can become, and how as the Greater Boston Jewish community we can assure its long-term sustainability and vitality.

I look forward to hearing your ideas today at brunch in the sukkah, and during the coming weeks and months.

Thank you everyone, for joining to mark this auspicious day.

י״א במרחשון ה׳תשע״ח (October 31, 2017)|Categories: archive, news|