Religious School August, 2020



Our great sage, Hillel, used to say, “Be of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving person-kind and drawing them close to the Torah.”  He also used to say:

אִם אֵין אֲנִי לִי, מִי לִי. וּכְשֶׁאֲנִי לְעַצְמִי, מָה אֲנִי. וְאִם לֹא עַכְשָׁיו, אֵימָתָי:

“If I am not for myself, who is for me?  But if I am for my own self only, what am I?  And if not now, when?”

Now is one of those times for which our people have prepared.  Mi anachnu?  Who are we?  We are people who recognize hard times.  And we meet those hard times armed with all of the traits that we have curated for hundreds of years.  We have a history with them.

When leaving my house as a teenager, my father often said, “Remember who you are and whom you represent.”  We are a people who recognize the strength that we draw from being part of a community.  The world looks different right now.  We are more physically separate than we have been in a century.  Now is the time that we expand the reach of our community with the love that we learn as the disciples of Aaron.  We open our hearts, we open our eyes, we open our ears so that we can be rodef shalom, pursuers of peace.

I imagine that you are probably feeling the same confusion and uncertainty about what the fall will look like as I am.  But I want you to know that I am working day in and day out to ensure that no matter what, CBHT Religious School will continue to provide your family with the high-quality, Jewish educational experiences you’ve come to expect and depend on.  To that end, I would love to hear from you with questions, suggestions, and concerns you have about our upcoming school year.  Please email me directly: rsdirector@bethhatephila.org.

I certainly don’t have all the answers, but one thing I am sure of is that all of the values that are intrinsic to the Jewish experience (our strength, security, sense of nurturing, etc.) are rooted in being a part of a community.  Everything that we do next year will build on a foundation of kehillah.  I look forward to continuing to create this Kehillah Kedoshah, sacred community, with you!

Seth Kellam,

Director of Religious Education & Sacred Music