As a religious culture, Judaism is non-hierarchical. Any learned Jew can teach, inspire, and support. Even so, a rabbi often seems best suited to address certain emotional, spiritual, or educational needs. Gratefully, many of these needs are being addressed by selfless souls serving as congregational clergy. Yet, due to limits placed upon them by their institutions or time, or both, some calls for support go unanswered.
This is particularly true for those striving to live authentic Jewish lives outside a congregational setting. According to recent surveys, approximately 2/3 of American Jews do not affiliate with conventional Jewish institutions. (Pew Research, “Jewish Americans in 2020”) Even so, this segment of our American Jewish family remains overwhelmingly proud of their Judaism, desiring it to be part of their lives and responsive to their needs.
For those whose calls for rabbinic support have gone unanswered, KEIRUV says: “We hear you. We see you. We value you. And, we wish to be supportive of you.”
This is not merely a collective “good deed.” It is a sacred obligation as part of our ethical heritage. As it is written: “kol yisrael aravim zeh bazeh / all Israel is responsible for one another.” (BT Shavuot 39a) Originally understood as the responsibility to stop another Jew from sinning, this instruction has expanded to encompass the responsibility of ensuring our fellow Jews have access to basic physical, emotional, and spiritual sustenance.
Motivated by this mandate, KEIRUV began providing direct rabbinic outreach services (spiritual, educational, and emotional support) to the unaffiliated and underserved in southcentral Pennsylvania and northcentral Maryland in 2021. We continue to do so, in this region and far beyond, thanks to the generosity of our founding partner — Ohev Sholom Congregation (York, PA) — and individual donors, like you. Together, we shall answer the call of our Jewish brothers and sisters. We shall bring Judaism to the people, and — for those who wish — the people to Judaism.
Kein y’hi ratzon, may this be God’s will as well as our own.