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gold gears in a row against a black background
Miguel Á. Padriñán

Statement of Intention

The goals of Committee Connection are

*See Wikipedia’s definition of affinity group

CC Committee

Volunteer Staff

Editor-in-Chief Hillary Brooks
Copy Editors Leslie Baker, Dana Bergen, Jody Berke, Matt Kaplan
Web Content Editor Abby Farrell

Advisory Board

Jane Hoberman, Julie Litwin, Karen Rachels, Richard Speiglman

Origin Story

In the beginning, there was a synagogue newsletter called Kol Kehilla, in print, then digital. Much later, Kehilla’s Rabbi David Cooper (now Rabbi Emeritus) curated an e-newsletter, Tikkun Olam Opportunities, to let this radical congregation know about social action events throughout the Bay Area. And both efforts were very useful. 

The idea for this new publication arose during the COVID pandemic when the group that ultimately became Committee Connection‘s founding Advisory Board, longtime member-leaders within Kehilla, bemoaned the lack of Kehilla in-person events and news outlets, which made it difficult to spontaneously share information about committees with other members. These organizers—Jeanne Finberg (then of the Homeless Action Committee), Jane Hoberman (Chevra Kadisha), Julie Litwin (Immigration Committee), Karen Rachels (Economic Justice Committee), and Richard Speiglman (Economic Justice Committee, Interfaith Coalition for Justice in our Jails)—desperately wanted to improve communication at Kehilla, so they wisely formed a subgroup to take on various communication issues, including jumpstarting a new Kehilla news publication. 

Former Kehilla board co-chair Karen Cohn stepped up to edit the first edition in Fall 2022, a PDF edition entitled An Invitation to Engage: Kehilla Committee News, which featured the Belonging and Allyship Initiative, the Economic Justice Committee, and the Immigration Committee. The nascent Advisory Board then worked with Kehilla’s then Director of Communications & Membership Engagement, Elle Aviv Newton, to enlist a new volunteer committee to run the newspaper. Hillary Brooks stepped up to be Editor-in-Chief, bringing years of experience, steadfast commitment to Kehilla, and clear vision to every aspect of getting the publication up and running. Abby Farrell dove in as Managing Editor with a keen eye for design, thoughtful communication, and incisiveness. Of the copy editors who answered the call, Anna Iglitzin emerged as an energetic, empathic, and skilled Copy Chief who helped us with the time-consuming work of setting up the web structure and style guide (though sadly, Anna had to bow out after this website’s debut issue). This new team of editors worked out how to operate this new online iteration of the newspaper, clarifying the statement of intention (see above), implementing news values, moving it onto the web, making design and style guide decisions, and renaming the publication Committee Connection.

After a year’s issues, Committee Connection Julie Litwin of the Advisory Board, who has her finger on the pulse of what’s going on with all the Kehilla teams, leaned in as a temporary events editor and helped the committee create The Scoop department. Abby dreamed up the regular feature called Leadership Spotlight, and she and Hillary devised the questions to ask member leaders. A group of regular (and excellent) copy editors emerged from the volunteers who pitched in: Leslie Baker, Dana Bergen, Jody Berke, and Matt Kaplan.

Everyone involved hopes that Committee Connection will continue to evolve to best serve Kehilla’s beloved community. But the newspaper is at a crossroads: we need new editor-leader volunteers in order to keep going, especially someone who is regularly at Kehilla in-person with their ear to the ground. Any member or prospective member who has ideas should contact the news editors to get involved, once or ongoing. Fingers crossed that more Kehillans step up to keep this project going!