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Your local Judaism: the heartbeat of our people

All over the world, when the moon is full in the month of Adar, Jews celebrate the holiday of Purim. It is a remembrance and celebration of our survival. Every little community gathers to hear the story, dress up, play games, and eat hamintashin. It is a party. If you never go out, this is the time to come to the synagogue and celebrate with your fellow Jews! Purim is life-giving.

a carnival, a costume dance party, a place to watch a Purim spiel and hear the Megillah read aloud, a place to nosh Hamentahsim and play bingo, a cake walk, and raise the paddle. It will be joyful. Our theme is peace and love.

Why peace and love?

Because the Jewish people this year find themselves, ourselves, in a place of war and increased antisemitism. And we are also living in a democracy on the brink. It is not a time of ease and freedom. We are likely not going into a summer of love. You are supposed to turn things upside down on Purim, especially during tough times. Thumb your nose at fate. Act like the world is the opposite of what it's really like. Be ridiculous.

This Purim, we celebrate peace, love, freedom, and being chill and groovy. We are taking it down many notches and planning a peaceful evening—two hours of pure festive joy for all ages. And as outrageous as it sounds, we are dedicating our Purim to peace. We still believe that peace is possible. Dress up. Whatever makes you feel free and at peace.

Anything is possible. If we Jews have survived up to this day, anything is possible. Why not peace?

The American Jewish community is young, especially in places like Kirkland, Washington, where Kol Ami is the first synagogue. Synagogues are a center for Jewish life, nurture Jewish life, and provide a Jewish community from birth until death. This is what synagogues have done for over 2000 years. Synagogues and Rabbis are safe from artificial intelligence. We endure through all circumstances, with and through the support of the community. A synagogue, a Jewish community, is a worthy investment.

We are a vital and thriving congregation, as one would expect for a small liberal congregation in Kirkland, Washington. This is an excellent place to live, and more Jews should move here and plant roots. Kol Ami's leadership wants to grow the Jewish community in Kirkland and make our community even more of a Jewish center for all kinds of Jewish people, their families, and their friends. We value our interfaith relationships with our neighbors and our role as a representative of the Jewish community to the community at large. We are here for the long haul,

This area is beautiful to live in, raise children, retire, and thrive! I was raised in Eugene, live in Olympia, and have worked on the Eastside for 21 years. I do not have plans to go anywhere. This is my Garden of Eden. I love Israel and am a citizen of Israel, too, but the PNW is my soul home. When I dream, there are Evergreen trees outside every window.

My father was the rabbi in Eugene, Oregon, for nearly twenty years, and my husband, Rabbi Seth Goldstein, and I have been rabbis in Western Washington since 2003. Our sons are both young adults now, and our eldest is a University of Washington graduate. Go Huskies! This is where the Universe has landed us. In the mountains and along the shores of the Salish Sea. It is a blessing.

I am a second generaiton PNW rabbi. Two generations is not that many—not for Jews. My ancestors from Ukraine and Morocco planted their Jewish roots in those diaspora lands for 1500-2000 years, generations upon generations. I have visited our cemeteries and ruins. Most of my Moroccan family is now in Israel, Israelis. My Ukranian family is now primarily American.

Our roots in this area are firm but not deep. Kirkland, Washington, and the entire region are excellent places to establish a Jewish community and a Jewish home. I pray our roots only grow in depth and breadth every year ahead of us as a community. We have babies in the community today who I would love to see become B-Mitzvah on our bima.

L'dor V'Dor/From Generation to Generation. It is the heartbeat of the local community, which keeps the Jewish people going. Everything happens at the local level. We are for the people and of the people. Our little tribe. .02 percent of the world? A miracle.

Please help us reach our goal of $28,000 this year by inviting a friend or family member to celebrate Purim at Kol Ami. Your participation will help ensure Jewish life in our area for the next year and generations. Register here! We are also seeking volunteers

Many blessings for peace,

Rabbi Yohanna

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