Portland Jewish Academy is a beneficiary agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland and is proud of our partnership with them in strengthening our local Jewish community as well as the global community.







Kehillah FAQ

Who is a member of Kehillah? How can I get more involved in Kehillah?
Why should I be an active participant in Kehillah?
I’m a working parent/I don’t have a lot of time during the day. How can I help Kehillah?
I’m new to the school or to Kehillah. Is experience required to coordinate an activity?
How does the Preschool Family Committee work with Kehillah?

Who is a member of Kehillah? How can I get more involved in Kehillah?

Every PJA family member is automatically a member of the PJA Kehillah. Consider yourself invited to every Kehillah meeting and event! Let us know of talents you have that you think may help in some capacity. Any help you can provide is welcome, from heading up a committee or event or starting a new one, to making phone calls or stuffing envelopes. Our job as PJA Kehillah members is to assist in any way we can in creating the cohesive environment we all want to see in our PJA community. We can't accomplish this without you. If you would like to ensure that you are kept informed about Kehillah meetings and volunteer opportunities please contact Michelle Katz or Ian Gordon-Knight.

Why should I be an active participant in Kehillah?

Here are ten reasons to be involved!

  1. Your child benefits. When families are connected and involved in their school, children do better. Research shows children whose parents are involved get better grades, do better on tests, and have fewer discipline problems at school.
  2. We make a difference. Our mission is to create the kind of school community in which teachers and administrators can do their best work—and so can our children. We provide support for teachers in and out of the classroom. We provide resources they need. We help create learning opportunities for children. And we try to build the kind of supportive, caring atmosphere that makes school fun.
  3. We pledge to honor your time constraints. People are often reluctant to participate because they’re afraid they’ll get pulled into a black hole of never-ending time commitment. That won’t happen here. An hour or two a semester really makes a difference. And we won’t push you to commit more than you want to or are able to.
  4. We have fun. Volunteer work shouldn’t be drudgery. We accomplish a lot, and not everything we do is easy. But we know we’re not balancing the national debt, either! We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and we try to enjoy ourselves along the way whenever possible.
  5. Meet nice people who share your concerns. We all have a common bond. We care about creating the best possible educational experience for our children. We are neighbors and peers who share many of the same experiences. Many friendships have developed as a result of these connections.
  6. There’s a lot to be done. These days, schools are asked to do more with less. Our help is needed more than ever to fill the gaps.
  7. We can match jobs to your interests and abilities. The work we do covers a broad spectrum: filing and photocopying, planning and executing events, writing and editing, working directly with children, and lots more. We encourage creative ideas, and we’re thrilled to have people take on tasks that meet their skills and interests.
  8. We’re welcoming. To us, there are no “outsiders.” We are people who have come together to work toward common goals. We couldn’t be happier to have you join us in working toward these goals.
  9. We’re about family involvement, not fundraising. In these times of tight budgets, family groups everywhere are having to fill in the gaps, and so are we. Our number one goal is to get more families connected to the school. That’s because independent research studies show that building family involvement in education is the number one thing we can do to create a great school and improve student performance.
  10. This work is very rewarding. It’s seeing the bright light of learning sparkle in a child’s eye. It’s seeing the smile that shows we’re making school a little more fun—and a child feel a little more comfortable in a learning environment. It’s learning that test scores (because we don’t have standardized tests I am reluctant to put this in. Can we say: it’s knowing our children are thriving and that we played a role?) have risen and knowing we played a role. There are lots of rewards, both big and small, for those who get involved. Won’t you join us?

I’m a working parent/I don’t have a lot of time during the day. How can I help Kehillah?

Kehillah is for all PJA families. Whether you work in or outside the home, part time or full time, you can be involved in the Kehillah! Examples (by no means exhaustive) of roles that are easily fulfilled on your own time and do not require that you be at school during the work day are: Room Representative, Chesed Coordinator or Tirk-a-Bowl (family bowling event) Coordinator. This year’s Kehillah co-chairs are both employed outside the home, and we both have a history of volunteering for Kehillah activities. If you’re not sure what volunteer positions would work best with your schedule please feel free to reach out to us.

I’m new to the school or to Kehillah. Is experience required to coordinate an activity?

Experience is rarely necessary to coordinate an activity or to be involved. When you volunteer, you will work closely with and are supported by the Kehillah Chairs and other volunteers.

How does the Preschool Family Committee work with Kehillah?

The Preschool Family Committee (PFC) is part of Kehillah. We all work together to make PJA the best preschool, lower school and middle school it can be. The PFC has leadership whose children attend the preschool so that where appropriate the PFC and Kehillah can plan independent events that are age appropriate or focused on the needs of each community within PJA.