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It's a Dream!

February 12, 2021
By Adam Tilove

On Wednesday, Kansas City’s Jewish community was honored to have been invited to participate in a conference call with Omer Yankelevich, the Israeli Minister of Diaspora Affairs. She is virtually visiting cities all over the world, learning about their communities and their institutions. Because there are so many cities, and because she is so busy, it was explained to us that our meeting would not be a conversation, but more of a show-and-tell. The expectation was set: we did not expect to interact with the Minister.

When it was HBHA’s turn to present, I explained that HBHA is unique: Our community has only ONE Jewish day school, which educates the entire microcosm of Jewish kids - from those who are strictly observant to those who consider themselves non-observant, but culturally Jewish. 

The minister was overcome with excitement. “This is the dream!” she said. “This is like Israel - everyone working together! Your school should be a model for schools all over the world!” 

Needless to say, I couldn't agree more with Ms. Yankelevich!

What exists here should not be taken for granted. Many communities choose to divide their resources, resulting in one Orthodox school and one pluralistic school. Typically these schools are limited to grades K-5 or K-8. Here in Kansas City, we know we are stronger together. Instead of dividing our resources and struggling alone, we have combined them for our greater good.

It’s not always easy to bridge the gaps in our community. It's not easy in Israel and it's not easy here. But we are blessed to be just the right size: large enough to support Jewish education, and small enough to be able to work together. We are in this together, all for one and one for all. We are committed to balancing our communal needs and making compromises so that we can keep our school - and our community - strong. And in the end, we all gain.

One of the highlights of my week is learning together with HBHA faculty member Rabbi Sosover and learning a tractate of Talmud, Bava Metzia to be exact. He and I are so different, and yet so similar. We come from different places and have different world views on many things. But when we study, I profoundly feel our connection, through wrestling over the same texts as our forebears. 

The experience is true for our kids too, even though they may not have enough perspective to realize it yet. They are learning first hand that we are all one people. They are becoming immune to painful and divisive stereotypes. And they are participating in peoplehood in a way that is unfortunately very unusual. 

This is why the Minister of Diaspora Affairs was so moved. She realized how important - and how unique - schools like ours are. We should never take it for granted!

Shabbat Shalom,

Adam Tilove
HBHA Head of School