Women's League Support the 2012 Koach Kallah
by Rhonda Jacobs Kahn
Koach is United Synagogue’s program for college students, and the kallah is its annual convention. For 22 years, the kallah has been drawing college students from across North America. Those students are the future of our movement.
This year, United Synagogue has been undergoing massive changes in order to implement its strategic plan. Despite the importance of the kallah, there was a strong possibility that there would be no funds for it.
The Koach kallah was in trouble. It needed a savior. And that’s where Women’s League for Conservative Judaism came in. Women’s League is proud to sponsor this year’s kallah.
In many ways the partnership between Koach and Women’s League makes perfect sense. The students who come to the Koach kallah are those deeply committed young Jews who already have joined the ranks of our movement’s leadership. They continue to influence the Conservative world as they move out of college, begin their careers, start their families, and look for communities in which to root themselves and eventually to lead.
Women’s League’s mission is to make sure that Conservative Judaism prospers in the home, the synagogue, and the community. How better to do that than to sponsor the Koach kallah?
For most of its 93 years, Women’s League has supported the Conservative movement’s key institutions of higher learning – the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles, and the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem. It is a logical step to expand that focus to college students by sponsoring the event that brings together student leaders from colleges and universities across the continent each February.
Women’s League’s leaders are intent on ensuring that the Conservative movement does not lose the next generation of Jews to the myriad influences – on both the right and the left – that impressionable young people encounter when they leave their home communities for the unlimited choices found at most campuses.
More than 90 percent of all Jewish kids in North America enroll in college. Members of Women’s League are the mothers and grandmothers of hundreds of thousands of today’s college students, and tomorrow’s. They recognize that young adults are idealistic, open to new experiences, searching for meaning, and still developing their sense of themselves. They understand the need for entertaining, engaging, accessible, and meaningful Jewish experiences on campus. They appreciate that if their children and grandchildren have an outlet to explore and experience Conservative Judaism on their own terms, the odds that they will continue to live modern Jewish lives as adults improve considerably.
Koach provides college students the opportunity to maintain and develop connections to Conservative Judaism while nurturing a love of Torah, the Jewish people, Israel, and God through a variety of social, religious, educational, cultural, and social action programs. More than 2,200 students from scores of campuses have participated in the kallah over the last 22 years, and each one has brought programming ideas, enthusiasm, and commitment back to their campuses, Hillels, and Jewish communities.
According to Richard Skolnik, United Synagogue’s international president, “We are grateful to Women’s League for providing this additional support for this crucial population. The Koach kallah in particular produces both tangible and intangible results. Many students have met their future spouses and formed lifelong friendships there. Many kallah participants are now active members of our kehillot.”
Rita Wertlieb, international president of Women’s League, said that the organization’s sponsorship of the Koach kallah “sends a clear message that we are committed to providing all of our college students with opportunities to become passionate about being Conservative Jews who are committed to our traditions as well as to tikkun olam. We are proud to partner with United Synagogue in expanding the reach of Koach by underwriting this essential part of the Koach agenda. At the same time, we hope that our assistance will challenge Koach to increase participation in the kallah and thereby increase our impact on the next generation of synagogue and sisterhood members.”