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Suburban Temple-Kol Ami is a warm, welcoming Reform Jewish community building a vibrant Jewish future rooted in acceptance, spirituality, and creativity.

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KEHILLAH KEDOSHA: HOLY COMMUNITY

At Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI), outside Indianapolis, IN, camp is in full swing. Campers ages 7-15 are enjoying swimming, basketball, the farm, photography, singing, and more. They are getting used to life without air conditioning in the extreme midwest humidity.

They are learning to live in cabins with at least 12 others, sharing space, navigating noise levels and personal habits. At GUCI, the campers are taught that the entire camp community is a “kehillah kedosha” – a holy community—and that their cabin is especially so. Each day, they spend time just with their cabin, learning about caring about, and being responsible for their community.

I can’t help but think that Moses and the Israelites could have used a good dose of GUCI when they were wandering in the desert. The Israelites struggled with understanding community. They relied on God and Moses to solve their problems. They were very quick to complain or rebel when scared or upset, rather than to lift each other up, and work together to solve their problems.

Moses, especially in this weeks’ Torah portion, Chukat, also shows a lack of understanding of kehillah kedosha. Frustrated with the continued complaining of the Israelites, he loses his temper. He yells at them and calls them names. By doing this, he separates himself from them. No longer does he understand that he is part of the Israelite community.

God declares in the Torah portion that Moses is to be punished for his anger because “Moses lost faith in God”. His punishment is that he is not to enter the Promised Land. I believe God was also angry because Moses, in his anger, rejected one of the most valuable lessons of the desert journey: a kehillah kedosha- A holy community.

As I look forward to my second week at GUCI, I am grateful for the reminder of the importance of kehillah kedosha.


Rabbi Allison Vann

 
Tue, July 16 2019 13 Tammuz 5779