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Watch the 2018 High Holy Day sermons!

Every year, we count on the members of our congregation to go above and beyond their membership dues to support all of the activities, programs, and events that make KI the vibrant community that it is today and all that it can be in the year to come.

Membership dues, tuition and program fees cover only 82% of our budget leaving us with more than $1 million to raise each year.

Your contributions make KI possible. Every gift counts!

Please click here to donate to KI’s Annual Giving today.

Please see your Membership Renewal Form to make your Annual Giving gift today! If you would like to make it separately from renewals, please contact Tricia Mercer, Member Engagement Director, at or 424.214.7463.


Matthew Ross, VP Advancement 

High Holy Day Appeal 2019 

L’Shana Tova.

Close your eyes and imagine you’re in our sanctuary at KI. Maybe you just dropped off your child or grandchild at school. Or it’s Friday night shabbat service and you’re decompressing from work and seeing friends. Or any of a number of other programs.

Feeling good? Relaxed? 

Okay, now let’s talk about money.

I’m going to talk to you, as I did last year, about supporting KI financially and why it matters. When I spoke to you a year ago, I said our financial situation was solid, but I explained that even though we have a lot going for us-valuable property with no debt, including the building next door, for example-our revenue from basic memberships and our schools are not adequate to meet the budget requirements that include all the programming and services we provide. I tried to spell out simply, but bluntly, that KI has financial requirements and that we shouldn’t shy away from discussing them. It’s a fact of life and since KI is not a business that produces revenue like a for-profit business, the only way we can support all that we do and maintain our physical resources is for all of us to contribute. 

As the last fiscal year developed, our Board realized that our financial challenges would be more significant than we had at first understood. Although the underlying strengths of KI remained as I had characterized them, we faced hurdles that would have to be addressed: our wonderful preschool enrollment was not as high as we anticipated, for example, and the investment we made in our schools to make it the state of the art facility our families now enjoy was considerably more expensive than we had budgeted. 

Our Board of Trustees has taken these matters very seriously and our professional staff-in connection with our lay leadership- has undertaken to revamp our budgeting and finance protocols to ensure we will not have any surprises in the future. 

What’s more, we put out a call to you, our KI community, for support.

I cannot tell you how gratifying the response of the congregation has been to our appeal. Many of you responded by saying “We didn’t know KI was in need; of course, we’ll help.” And with your help, we met our obligations. So to the many of you who donated generously to our campaign in the past year, thank you on behalf of the Board of Trustees.

But it’s a New Year and I’m appealing to you to do it all again.

In the spirit of a new year, I want to just say a word about WHY we are here and tell you how our little corner of the earth fits into a bigger picture.

It never ceases to amaze me that the Jewish People still exist at all. There are only about 14 million Jews in the world. That’s out of a population of approximately 7.5 billion. There are 2.4 billion people who are affiliated with a Christian denomination; about one of every third person. There are nearly 2 billion Muslims, about one of every four people. More than a billion people are Hindu. The secular, non-religious, make up more than one billion. Why are we here indeed?

I’ll tell you a quick story about something that I can’t stop thinking of: Eight years ago my family visited Italy and, in addition to the wonderful food and spectacular scenery, we encountered a notorious symbol of the denigration of the Jewish people. 

One day, after we toured the remarkable Roman Colosseum, our guide walked us to the nearby Arch of Titus, a monument to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 C.E., almost 2,000 years ago. As we walked under the arch and looked up I saw for the first time the infamous carving on the arch depicting one of the most shattering episodes in Jewish history: Jewish slaves carrying the Temple menorah through the streets of Rome. It is estimated that a million Jews were killed as a result of the Jewish revolt against Roman rule in Judea and it was from that moment that we mark the exile of the Jewish people for the next 19 centuries, living at the mercy of host populations, never being fully accepted as citizens, culminating in the greatest catastrophe of all in Europe in the 20th century.

Yet, today, here we are and the Roman Empire, the great Roman Empire, is ancient history. 

How did that happen? In the words of Tevye the Milkman, I can answer that question in three words: “I don’t know.”

When the Temple was destroyed and the Jews were expelled from Land of Israel, it was a near certainty that the Jewish people would not survive. 

The Jewish people not only lost their political sovereignty when they were expelled, but when the Second Temple was destroyed they also lost the epicenter of their life as a people. 

So what did our ancestors do? It was the beginning of Rabbinic Judaism, it was the beginning of learning to carry our practices and traditions around the world in fractured communities. To do that they needed a home base in every community. 

So without the Temple, they redefined the role of the synagogue, which was then a fledgling institution.

What is the synagogue?

The synagogue is a place of worship.

The synagogue is a place of study.

The synagogue is a place for somber reflection and for celebrating our most personal life events.

And, whether it’s in Poway, California or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the synagogue is even where we have come under attack.

We live a Jewish life in the context of community and the synagogue is the home base of our Jewish community. 


Please make a pledge to our synagogue and to the future of our Jewish community.

Thank you and L’Shana Tova.

Fri, August 12 2022 15 Av 5782