Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana. – Attributed to Groucho Marx
This makes me a fruit fly! Five years have flown by since we celebrated the 100th anniversary of our founding in 2017. And it took that many years for our predecessors to set in stone their plans for a great edifice to be their, and now our, spiritual home. So now we, too, can celebrate the 100th birthday of the laying of KI’s cornerstone.
The OG ceremony took place at 3 pm on Sunday, June 11, 1922 and ours will take place at 6 pm Sunday, June 12. Register here.
In perusing the wonderful accounts of the day in our Kehillath Israel – The First 100 Years book, I’m left with a number of timeless takeaways:
1.) Get it in writing… Massachusetts Governor Cox, Lieut Gov Fuller, Senator Lodge, and chairman of the Brookline Selectmen Chairman Parker were all no-shows despite being promoted as likely attendees. Probably nothing.
2.) Climate change is real … the ceremony had to be halted due to a violent cloudburst, which had been preceded by a heavy hailstorm. How inconvenient.
3.) The Campus model is eternal … Assistant Attorney General Albert Hurwitz pronounced that “he was happy to see that the new project was to be a community center and school, as well as a temple for worship,” and he hoped that “people would make full use of it on other than special occasions.” Sound familiar?
4.) Educating the next generation is an enduring, intractable problem from Adam and Eve on… Hurwitz also deplored the tendency of some of the “younger Jewish people” to break away from their “orthodox church,” and he urged the congregation to make it their business to see that the young people attended synagogue regularly. L’dor V’dor!
So while אֵין כָּל חָדָשׁ תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ – (There is nothing new under the sun. – Eccl 1:9), Kohelet’s take is perhaps a bit too world-weary. Our forebears did create something new: a new Kehillath Israel in Brookline and then within five years, laid the cornerstone for a new house, a Beit Knesset, for the community. And as we rebuilt and reimaged our home five years ago, let’s mark the upcoming birthday with a renewed cornerstone of commitment to serve our community with an eye for future generations.
Gordon Bennett – President, Congregation Kehillath Israel