A celebration for Rabbi Kay at COS
On Feb. 8, 2015, Rabbi David Kay will be honored at Congregation Ohev Shalom's annual gala. This year's event, Java and Jazz, will commemorate Rabbi Kay's 10 years of service with not only Congregation Ohev Shalom, but to the Greater Orlando community as well.
Rabbi Kay came to Orlando in August 2004, as the first assistant rabbi of Congregation Ohev Shalom. Ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in May 2002, he also received his MA in Jewish education. During rabbinical school, he served as a student rabbi for several congregations, including Shalom Independent Congregation of Johannesburg, South Africa.
"Rabbi David Kay has been a perfect fit for Congregation Ohev Shalom," said Senior Rabbi Aaron R. Rubinger. "He is personally so deeply committed to the values and ideals of our congregation. He is very community minded and has been an active member in Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), the Jewish Academy of Orlando and in Orlando interfaith activities."
"In addition," Rabbi Rubinger added, "Rabbi Kay has been exceptionally devoted to our community daily minyan. He loves teaching in our COS Yeshiva and is deeply engaged in outreach to Hispanic Jews by Choice as well as the Gay and Lesbian community. Ever since Rabbi Kay arrived in Orlando 10 years ago, he has been for our congregation a mature and thoughtful pastor, helping to serve the needs of our congregants. We are so blessed to have him as part of our Ohev team."
In addition to serving on the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando's JCRC, Rabbi Kay serves on the Executive Committee of the Interfaith Council of Central Florida. He participates on numerous interfaith panels and programs. This past year, Rabbi Kay was the keynote speaker at the annual interfaith celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial with the City of Orlando and was the first rabbi to conduct the invocation at Rollins College commencement.
James "Jim" Coffin, executive director of the Interfaith Council of Central Florida shared a few thoughts about his friend. "David was involved in the interfaith community long before my arrival when I became active. He was the "mover and shaker" behind the MLK event and has done a superb job in getting a variety of participants. He has won the hearts of the MLK commission and is much loved and appreciated." Coffin added. "David incorporates wonderful stories to show his point when talking about diversity and the Jewish perspective. David is very well liked and highly respected."
Active in the Jewish deaf community since 1990, Rabbi Kay has presented at the biennial Jewish Deaf Congress conferences, serving as one of the conference rabbis in 2003 and 2005. He also conducted High Holiday services in voice and sign language at the Rochester Institute of Technology/National Technical Institute of the Deaf for five years, and conducted services and taught for the Hebrew Association of the Deaf of New York and Congregation Bene Shalom of the Deaf in Skokie, Ill. He currently conducts Ohev Shalom's alternate High Holiday services in voice and sign, with ASL interpreters.
Rabbi Kay is a founding member of the Jewish Theological Seminary's á cappella group, Note-Nim and founding director of Kol Ram, Orlando's community Jewish á cappella group. Between his graduation from the University of Illinois in 1978 with a Bachelor of Science degree from the Department of Ecology, Ethology, and Evolution and attending rabbinical school, Rabbi Kay worked for an animal welfare organization in his native Chicago while playing in an original rock band, an acoustic duo, and performing solo. Although denied fame and fortune in the music industry, Rabbi Kay can be heard as the voice of Haman in the video, audio CD, and educational software versions of "Purim Rock!," a clay-mation rock-opera interpretation of the Book of Ester.
Congregation Ohev Shalom's president, Lori Brenner, expressed her thoughts, "Rabbi Kay is a vital part of our Ohev family. His youthful and spiritual outlook is a great addition to the entire Jewish community. The families and entire congregation love his musical, joyous spirit and the warmth he brings to our congregational family.
Rabbi Kay is the husband of Joanne Kay and next March they will celebrate their silver anniversary. Rabbi Kay and Joanne are the parents of Jonah, currently a student at the Joint Program of Columbia University and List College of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.
Java & Jazz sponsorship opportunities and submissions for congratulatory messages for Rabbi Kay are available. For more information, to register for the gala or to see how you can participate, please contact Steve Brownstein, synagogue administrator at 407-298-4650.