Religious School News- October, 2019

When I first entered the Beth HaTephila Religious School seven or eight years ago, I did so as an opportunity to develop my song leading skills, grow my repertoire and support my dear friend Lauren Rosenfeld.  I had no idea what kind of transformation would occur!

In entering the building (it was the old school building, if you can remember that!) I was overcome by the juxtaposition between the physical environment and the spiritual environment.  Despite outdated spaces, the warmth that enveloped me was unavoidable.  My desire to return, week after week, grew into an obsession!

When, after being relocated at the JCC during construction, we finally entered the new Religious School space, all the elements of a perfect environment were cemented.  A beautiful space, filled with beautiful people doing beautiful work!  This microcosm of a beautiful world had been created for our children.

As I sang during our rousing Kehila Tephila or walked from class to class with my guitar slung over my shoulder, I couldn’t find any other description for what I was experiencing, than MAGIC.  Magic is what continually brought the students and teachers back, week after week.  But what, I wondered, made that magic?

The answer came to me in song—Kehila–community!  There was a sense of community that began each day through song and enrichment and continued, not only for the next two hours, but for the entire week, until we met again.

The power of meeting together, to start our day, laugh a little, sing a lot and set powerful intentions made a group of over one hundred students and family members into a community that was strong beyond comprehension.

This year we moved Kehila Tephila into Unger Hall.  We now sit in a semi-circle so that we can see each other and sing to each other.  And, we make a formal invitation to all family members to come, be a part of what makes Beth HaTephila Religious School so special, so powerful and so magical.  And by being a part of it, you will help us grow and sustain this beautiful thing.

Seth Kellam

Religious School and Sacred Music Director