If you have attended an event in the Old York Road Jewish community in the last 15 years, you likely encountered one particularly outgoing community member along the way: Kim Decker. She is an Occupational Therapist who has either volunteered or been involved with the Jewish institutions in the neighborhood. It is this love for her community that fueled her interest in becoming the Kehillah Director of Old York Road three years ago.
 

“I have witnessed so much kindness in the Old York Road neighborhood, and am passionate about helping to find meaningful ways to grow this strong Jewish community,” said Kim. 

Old York Road’s close-knit community engages in many meaningful programs throughout the year and stands together during challenging times. During the pandemic, the Kehillah managed a vaccine clinic for seniors, transitioned their annual communitywide Purim Carnival to be a CARnival in partnership with all of the neighborhood’s synagogues, institutions and agencies, safely brought hundreds of people together (both virtually and in physically distanced settings) for a series of 3 cantor concerts, featuring 6 different institutions, and is well underway with their annual soccer program with over 200 players in the community.

You can meet Kim at the Old York Road Community Hanukkah Lighting at Baederwood Shoppes on the Fairway in Jenkintown on Tuesday, November 30 by registering here. If you are interested in Jewish Summer Camp, you can join Kim and the other Kehillot to virtually learn about different camp experiences and financial aid options for your child on Monday, January 3 at 7:00 p.m. by clicking here or on Thursday, January 13 at noon by clicking here

We spoke to Kim to learn more about her and why she loves her Old York Road Jewish community. 

Why did you become a Director of Old York Road Kehillah?

I love my community and enjoy supporting it with volunteer work. When community members approached me to do this job, it felt like the perfect fit.

What do you love about your community?

My community is very connected and diverse. The people are willing to support those they don’t even know. For example, there was recently a young family who just had a baby and were not connected to a synagogue. Regardless, a group of Jewish people in the community brought meals to their home.

What is the moment or time that you are most proud of?

Most recently, the vaccination clinic. With the help of the Jewish Federation, Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel (KI), and Wellness Pharmacy Services, we as the Old York Road Kehillah responded to the needs of the community at the time when it was most needed. Through our efforts, we brought together 109 volunteers, in addition staff support, and provided first and second round doses of the Moderna vaccine to 1,432 people, Jewish and non-Jewish, at KI on March 19 and April 16, 2021. 

What do you hope to accomplish for your community?

I hope to build a cohesive, innovative and healthy Jewish community, where people know and support each other and work for a common good.

What would you tell people in your community who are looking for Jewish life? How about people who are unsure if they want to be connected to Jewish life?

Old York Road is an extremely engaged Jewish community with many options to get involved. Connecting with your community allows us to be surrounded with all types of people that care about each other, and it fosters intergenerational friendships. It feels really good to give to our community and to have that support in return.

Why do you give/care about the Jewish Federation?

I care about the Jewish Federation, because they help both Jewish and non-Jewish people in need and connect people to Judaism. Old York Road is a part of the Jewish Federation’s neighborhood initiative, which is one of the many ways that the organization uplifts Greater Philadelphia and brings the community together.

What is something people may not know about you?

I grew up in Mobile, Alabama

What is a skill or hobby you picked up over the pandemic?

I have become a very happy empty nester! I enjoy spending time with my husband and visiting my kids (whenever they want to see me). I have a son who lives in New York City, working for a Jewish organization, a daughter, who is a senior at Brandeis, and another daughter, who is at Nishmat midrasha seminary in Israel for the year. I am planning to visit Israel soon to see her. I also take amazing weekly Mussar classes, which is a Jewish spiritual practice on how to live a meaningful and ethical life through concrete instructions rooted in values, through the Center for Contemporary Mussar.

What is your favorite Jewish holiday and why?

Purim. It is a joyous holiday with costumes and is about a woman heroine. What’s not to love!?

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The Old York Road Kehillah is part of the Jewish Federation’s neighborhood initiative to foster a vibrant Jewish community throughout the Greater Philadelphia region. For more information and to get connected with the Old York Road Jewish community, friend the OYR Facebook page and visit jewishphilly.org/oyr. You can also email Kim at oldyorkroad@kehillah.jewishphilly.org