May 2, 2024

Dear students and families,

One of the burdens and blessings of being an educator is wrestling with complexity and dealing with the endlessly diverse, contradictory, and sometimes overlapping perspectives that shape our reality. It would be much easier to approach education ideologically – by reducing reality into simplistic binaries and telling young people what to think and not how to think – but such an approach only leads to obedience, conformity, and resentment. 

Instead, the best educators create spaces for inquiry, analysis, and dialogue, qualities that lie at the heart of the Jewish tradition and democratic life more broadly. 

I’ve been thinking about these themes not simply in the context of Passover, but also in view of rising campus activism about Israel/Palestine, including at my alma mater, Columbia University, where all of the complexities and intensities both within Judaism and across other traditions are being laid bare. As I read the news and connect with friends and colleagues on every side of the issue, several questions come into view:

  • How do Jewish values and universal ethics call us to act in this moment?
  • How do we make sense of the many Jewish students within the encampments who are advocating for justice and human rights, some while leading Seders?
  • How do we address the many Jewish students who feel harassed, bullied, and intimidated by real and virulent expressions of anti-semitism? 
  • How can we cultivate solidarity across traditions of faith, culture, ethnicity, and political orientation?

In the face of questions like these, our responsibility as educators at Kehillah is to address these issues with sensitivity and care, even when the temptation might be to avoid them entirely. Instead of withdrawing, we engage, not by imposing our own views, but by fostering dialogue and encouraging compassion – especially when we disagree.

Next week, we will be offering opportunities for students to do just that – to talk, listen, process, and ask questions during optional workshops at lunch (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday). And we will continue to build an academic program that prepares students to be ethically engaged leaders – now and into the future. 


Dr. Roy Danovitch

Associate Head of School

P.S. If you’re interested in a great resource on many of the themes in this note, check out this powerful sermon by Rabbi Sharon Brous of IKAR in Los Angeles.

Important Events and Dates

Kikar Coffee: Closing the Year

Friday, May 3 from 8:15 to 9:30 AM

It's the FINAL Kikar Coffee! Jewish Studies teacher Moshe Goodman will be our last guest speaker of the year. Come hear him speak on Heart Work at Kehillah.

Welcome & Orientation Event for New Students

Friday, May 3 from 3:30 to 5:00 PM

Visual & Performing Arts Show

Sunday, May 5 from 1:00 to 4:00 PM

Come see the hard work of our performing and visual artists!

Yom HaShoah - Holocaust Remembrance Assembly 

Monday, May 6

Yom Hazikaron - Israel Remembrance Day Assembly 

Monday, May 13

Yom Ha'atzmaut - Israel Independence Seminar 

Tuesday, May 14

Before you go...

Join the Kehillah book club from 8:45 to 10:15 AM on Friday, May 10 to discuss chapters 4 and 5 of Your Turn: How to Be an Adult by Palo Alto mom, city council member, author, and activist Julie Lythcott-Haims

If you skim, you are in!

Key Dates

Who to Contact

School Calendar

2024-25 at a Glance

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