President’s Letter ~ February 2020/Shvat 5780
This letter is one of a series of monthly notes written to the KI community on congregational topics that pique my interest. Previous ones by me and my predecessor, David Williams, can be read here: President’s letters page. Please let me know what you think and/or what topics interest you by emailing me at




President’s Letter ~ February 2020/Sh’vat 5780
Six Weeks Out

Rita: Do you ever have deja vu?
Phil: Didn’t you just ask me that?
From the movie “Groundhog Day” 

This Sunday is Groundhog Day and I have to admit ambivalence for the outcome ….. of a Super Bowl contest which, this time around, does not involve the local team!

As for six more weeks of winter … I suppose I’m ambivalent on that too, but I am looking forward to the next six weeks at KI in any case.

On Friday night, February 7th, KICKS (KI Community Kabbalat Shabbat) is organizing a community Shabbat dinner to celebrate Tu B’Shvat. In keeping with the holiday, a green (vegetarian) dinner will be served at 6:30 following the KICKs service which begins at 5:15. Please register and pay by Tuesday, February 4th by noon. The cost is $15 per adult and $8 per child (5 and up). Use this link: KICKS Tu B’shvat Dinner (“KICKS 2/7 Dinner” in the “Notes” section) to sign up.

And speaking of trees … the wonderful woman, Susan Shook, behind the lush, verdant plantings in KI, is also a certified yoga instructor. Starting Thursday, February 6th and for the following three Thursdays (ending on February 27th), she will be teaching an “Align & Flow” yoga class. Mats and props will be available and all levels are welcome. At only $85 for the series or $25 drop-in price (cash and/or check), it’s a great way to move your body if the groundhog sees its shadow.

KI Reads continues on Tuesday, February 11th at 7:30 with the book The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara. A true story, the book tells the extraordinary tale of Edgardo Mortara, a six-year-old boy who was seized by the Papal States from his Jewish Family in Bologna in 1858. The domestic and international outrage that followed were part of the events contributing to the downfall of the pontifical state and the movement for Italian independence in 1861.

And while there is much in between, please save the weekend six weeks out (March 13-14). The Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Institute, Arnold Eisen, will be Scholar-in-Residence at KI. There will be a special Shabbat dinner generously subsidized by a KI member at which the Chancellor will speak.  We will also have the opportunity to learn with Arnold Eisen the next morning, during Shabbat services. 

Until next month.


Gordon Bennett
President, Congregation Kehillath Israel