One of the best things we do as a congregation we do in partnership with Beth El Hebrew Congregation. Our joint sponsorship of Keshet Child Development Center is important on a number of levels.
Most important, of course, is the nurturing environment it provides for our precious children in a Jewish context. A good start on Jewish life and integrated Jewish education is an effective Head Start program for a child's education.
Not far behind is the message we deliver about our priorities. At the risk of sounding trite, an investment in our children is an investment in our future.
And, on a different plane of importance, is the ability of a Reform temple and Conservative congregation to work cooperatively on behalf of the Jewish community. The policies of Keshet – mutual respect and accommodation primary among them – are a model for the wider community. To be sure, compromises are necessary by both synagogues. We must accept a broader definition of membership than we do at Agudas Achim. Beth El must accept a more traditional formulation of calendar and kashrut than governs their synagogue. With small discomfort and great enthusiasm, we live together.
Over the past fifteen years, Marcy Babitz has been the driving force behind Keshet. An entire generation of children has grown up in front of her eyes, and the little pre-school she birthed has grown into a valued part of the fabric of our community. Marcy's classroom presence has been a nurturing one, teaching our little ones that there are safe places in the world and people who can be trusted.
Late last spring, Marcy decided that she was going to retire from Keshet. The announcement was a surprise, and sparked some very healthy conversation about the future of Keshet. The institution is alive and lively; this year of transition promises to be an affirmation of everything Marcy has accomplished – a foundation for growth and development.
Tragically, Marcy herself was devastated when her daughter's pregnancy ended suddenly. She has devoted herself to comforting her family, and has understandably declined any public recognition of her years of devotion. Instead, Rabbi Fink and I agreed to pay her tribute in our congregational bulletins.
You can pay tribute to Marcy by supporting Keshet – especially if you have a child eligible for enrollment, but even if you would like to contribute your time, talent or dollars to the endeavor. Thanks, Marcy, for all your many achievements. May the tears sown at night reap joy in the morning.