Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Kehilah Kedosha

On Yom Kippur, my rabbi accused us all of not being a Kehilah Kedosha...a Holy Community. She stood up on the bema at the Kol Nidre and told us all about Kehilah Kedosha and how we weren't even close.

Today, my husband went to Children's Hospital to see his cardiologist about that little incident that landed him in the hospital in September. Dr. Lee thinks he now has developed Coronary Artery Disease...something we'd always been told probably wouldn't happen but apparantly now, because of his diabetes, our worst fears are realized.

And to confirm this diagnosis, Anth needs a heart cath...next week!

I don't get very many days off...a total of 20 to be used to sick and personal and vacation. One year I used them up in the hospital with a kidney stone but usually I plan them out strategically over the year...to be sure I have plenty if an emergency crops up and I need to use them. For us an emergency could be Anth being in the hospital and me having to take off to get Evan back and forth to school...or it could be me getting sick and being unable to work for a while. Or it could be the very worst we can think of.

But we won't think about that now.

And so, while I have 12 left as of today and I don't plan to use more than 5 between now and the end of the year...there's always the "what ifs" that I have to factor in.

So when Anth told me he needed a cath, I knew I'd have to spend one of those precious days...which was okay, I mean, I HAVE them, I should USE them...especially for something like this.


Well, Anth said "Don't worry about it, I don't want you to use those days if you don't need to. Let me see if Bob can go with me." (Bob is our adopted Ima's husband.)

So he called Ima.

And Ima told him that if Bob couldn't go, then not to worry, SHE would go.

When Anth told me this, I really, honest and truly started to cry. THIS was kindness, THIS was chesed, THIS was empathy and what people in a community do for others in the community.

Our rabbi was dead wrong.

Despite what she thinks and despite what she says, we ARE Kehilah Kedosha...we are a Holy Community. It's gestures such as this which reinforce that...these are people who genuinely care about one another, who are THERE for one another, who help when their help is needed.
Rabbi seemed to think that the definition of Kehilah Kedosha was a community that moved and acted as one...a bunch of Stepford Jews who were interested in the same things, who liked the same events and activities, who only saw sunshine and blue skies.

But this isn't Kehilah Kedosha, at least not the way I experience it.

Kehilah Kedosha is a community that genuinely cares about the people who form it. They don't ALL do the same things or attend the same events but they ARE just a phone call away. A new preschool in the shul? The ones who find this interesting call the teacher and offer to be aides. Sunday Clean Up? The men show up and climb up on the roof and throw off the debris that has accumulated. All of the men? No...some of the men. Others run the golf outing and still others run the big, annual fundraiser. Some we see once a year and some we see every week. It's a community. That's how communities work. We all have our lives and families and jobs and other interests that occupy us...but in our Kehilah Kedosha - we all find something to do. Maybe not all of it but somehow, somewhere we fit in.

And as a Kehilah Kedosha, we make room and we find a way for everyone to fit in. Regardless of what or how much they offer. Sure, there are those members of our community who prefer to armchair quarterback the whole thing...sit back and do nothing except offer their sage advice. Others don't even do that. But even THEY are part of this community...for better or for worse.
And THAT'S a Kehilah Kedosha. It's not the shiny, perfect, cookie cutter community our Rabbi waxed poetic about (and insulted more than half us with her comments) - we are humans and we have flaws. But we DO have a common purpose...and when the chips are down, I truly believe we rally to the cause, whatever it is. We may not be the BEST Kehilah Kedosha but we ARE a Kehila Kedosha. It's what we do. And I, for one, am glad to be a part of it.

(crossposted at Jewview and Matzah and Marinara)


Stacey said...

Your rabbi seemed to miss the mark. Your community sounds great and I agree with you that it is an example of Kehilah Kedosha. The important thing is that the community is there in times of need. And yours is!

I am sorry that your husband might have CAD. Good luck to him with his cath. And still, it may be nothing.

My father's cardiologist saw a "shadow" on his nuclear stress test last Dec. He did a heart cath and it turned out to be NOTHING. The dr. said he has the arteries of a 20-yr. old. Good luck to your husband.

Mia said...

Your community sounds great, I am happy that you can rely on them in this difficult times and I am happy that you see the positive things about the community and not the bad (which I am sure exists as well...)

Good luck to your husband! I am sure it will all be ok.


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Unknown said...

Even though I am Christian, this concept is where we are united. In christianity, it is taught that Christ is the Head and we are the body of Christ that make up it's many members. We are to work together, support each other, encourage each other, and love each other under the leadership of and submission to Christ. Thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I am a retired Christian pastor and chaplain - I had to look up the words Kehilah Kedosha after visiting a patient - a delightful Jewish woman - who gave me the name of her temple and I found those words used in a description of her community. A Holy Community - I love that and would hope they could be used by any group/tradition seeking God in all of God's dimensions.
Out of curiosity I read your article. I hope things went well with your husband and I hope the same for my husband who is to have a cardioversion on Wednesday. Trusting God to take care of both our men's hearts.