Creating a Kehila Kedosha in Costa Rica

Hi everyone! I’d like to introduce myself: I am Naomi, one of the trip leaders who will be working alongside Jaimie, the Temple Jeremiah students, and the Pozo Azul community. I am the Youth and Family Engagement Director at Temple Jeremiah, a Reform Jewish congregation in the suburbs of Chicago. This trip has been in the works for over a year and I am thrilled that it is finally happening!

I, along with the support of the Temple Jeremiah staff and lay leaders, decided to plan this trip because we want to provide real world and hands on volunteer experiences to our youth. It is also a meaningful opportunity for our teens to create a strong community with lifelong friendships. The trip will be centered around Jewish values, such as tzedek (Hebrew for justice) and kehilah (Hebrew for community).

Our group is very diverse—they span over five grades and go to five different high schools! Despite this wide range of age, they have started to bond with each other over the past six months at our group meet-ups. I have loved watching the teens get to know one another and seeing wonderful friendships start to bloom. At our first meeting, the teens created a Brit Kehilah, which in Hebrew means sacred community contract. However, it has a much deeper meaning in Judaism. The word “brit” is used 285 times in the Torah and is the same type of document that was used with Abraham and his descendants and Moses and the Israelites.

I am excited to share with you all our Brit Kehilah, which we will be living by over the next week:

  1. Respect borders and boundaries of others
  2. Treat people the way you want to be treated
  3. Talk to everyone!
  4. No self-monitoring
  5. Have fun but stay focused
  6. Have fun 🙂
  7. Be in the present and don’t use your phone during activities
  8. Help and support each other
  9. Represent our community with pride
  10. Be open minded—be willing to try new things and be flexible!
  11. Pura Vida! (Spanish for simple life, common phrase in Costa Rica)
Our group at Irazu, a Costa Rican restaurant


Having fun at Irazu!


Our first group meeting