Welcome to Kehilla!

Photograph by Abigail Smigel


As President of the Pacific Southwest Region of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (PSWR), it is my pleasure to introduce you to this inaugural issue and to share our vision for this magazine and its contents.

Elie Weisel has written that, “Information must be transformed into knowledge, knowledge into sensitivity and sensitivity into commitment.” The unique autonomy of PSWR has assured our continuing ability to deliver new and innovative programs, models and approaches. Engaging our communities in structuring this new online magazine has been vital to its success and consistent with our historic and unique vision as a United Synagogue Region—to create collaboratively and to deliver purposeful and meaningful content. We are a Region that exists solely to serve and reflect the interests of our congregations and communities, not visa versa.

In the last year, PSWR has welcomed dynamic new staff, which has reached out aggressively and consistently in an effort to identify and meet the needs of our kehillot. We have added new business services, such as our copier lease program, invigorated our Economics Committee liaison relationships, worked to assure that PSWR kehillot had priority access to new leadership development opportunities, such as the Sulam For Emerging Leaders initiative, begun work with the regional Conservative Leadership Council to advance the agenda of envisioning the future of 21st Century Conservative Judaism and reimagined the Ignite fundraising effort to assure the long-term future and success of Far West USY and its accessibility to all, without regard to their financial resources. It has, indeed, been a busy year.

We hope you enjoy this new communication format and find its content valuable. More significantly, we hope that you will recognize Kehilla for what it represents, an organic and evolving tool for all of the kehillot of this dynamic Region, and their members, to communicate and grow in fulfillment of our collective mission to strengthen and transform the vital center of contemporary Judaism.

This is an exciting time in the evolution of PSWR’s vision and leadership. We hope you will continue to join us in this journey, work with our professional and lay leadership and share your insights, interests and views. Commitment is our objective and our daily imperative. As that great rabbi, Will Rogers, said “(E)ven if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” We look forward to moving forward together, from strength to strength!


Greg Derin
Pacific Southwest Region USCJ

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