The Jewish Observer
News from Middle Tennessee's Jewish Community | Sunday, March 3, 2024
The Jewish Observer

West End Synagogue Fundraiser to Honor Rabbi Joshua and Jessica Kullock

In honor of Rabbi Joshua and Jessica Kullock’s ten years of amazing service and leadership, West End Synagogue (WES) is proud to announce a celebratory tribute dinner and mystery show on February 4, 2024, 6:15 PM, at the Synagogue, 3810 West End Avenue. This is the synagogue’s annual fundraiser, and Marcia Stewart and Karen Yazdian are co-chairs. 
In the decade since their arrival, Rabbi and Jessica’s dedication and leadership have become an important and inspiring part of West End Synagogue’s community life. And Rabbi Kullock is quite possibly the only Rabbi in Nashville’s history to have shaken hands with the Pope. 

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Rabbi Joshua Kullock met Pope Francis during a recent trip to Italy with the Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville

The dinner will feature a delicious meal prepared by Goldie Shepard, and an after-dinner detective show which uses audience members along with their professional cast. Are you a suspect? You will soon find out in this unique mystery, dinner theater performance! For ticket information, click on (or type into your browser window)  
Speaking about Rabbi Kullock and Jessica, Sue Schwartz, past president of WES, said, “Rabbi and Jessica have transformed and revitalized WES from the get-go. The uptick in participation of young families is particularly notable. His scholarship, thoughtfulness, and charisma, as well as his active partnership with the other local rabbis have made me feel proud of what we have all built together over the past ten years. Jessica is a gem in her own right, taking on many roles with grace, humility, and warmth.”  Schwartz, who was synagogue president at the beginning of Rabbi’s tenure, said he was chosen from a field of 35 candidates. 

Steve Hirsch, another past president of the synagogue, said, “Rabbi Kullock has brought to the congregation an emphasis on learning, which he has practiced nearly every day; from Torah study and Talmud class to his Introduction to Judaism series, he engages with individuals and groups large and small.”  
“There is no question that Rabbi and Jessica have positively influenced the acquisition of new members during their tenure at WES,” he said.  “Many of our younger new members selected this congregation because of their positive interactions with both Rabbi and Jessica.” And, in fact, during 2022, Rabbi and Jessica’s ninth year here, the synagogue’s congregation reached 400 member families. 
Hirsch also said, “Jessica has been such an essential part of the WES team since she arrived. She has touched so many of the students at Beit Miriam and has been a strong participant in Sisterhood and other fundraising activities, and always does this without looking for personal praise or recognition.” 
Barry Allen, the current president of WES, said, “We are honoring Jessica, too, for her service to the congregation, not just as Rebbitzin, but as a teacher in Beit Miriam, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah tutor, a leader of services, and a Torah reader.” 
Karen Weil said, “Rabbi has been the heart and soul of WES throughout his time here. He has inspired, taught, and led our congregation. It is a special person who can touch the lives of people of all ages…I have seen him with our children, grandchildren Howie, myself and my mother and he has/had a special relationship with us all. Jessica is equally remarkable. If something needs to be done, she just gets in and takes care of it quickly and efficiently! There is so much Jessica has helped with throughout the years that people aren’t even aware of. All three of their girls are adorable and add a breath of sunshine to the halls of WES. How lucky we are to have the Kullock family at WES. What a difference Rabbi has made in our lives, the life of the congregation and in our Nashville Jewish Community!” 

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Marcia Stewart listed some of the many classes and study opportunities that Rabbi and Jessica have initiated in the congregation, including Talmud on Tuesday, Men's Torah study, Women's Torah study, and Introduction to Judaism classes. She also mentioned that Synagogue services on Zoom started within one day of the Pandemic for those who could not attend services on Shabbat or evening minyans. And Eugene Sacks, president of the WES men’s club, talked about Rabbi and Jessica’s enthusiasm for Camp Ramah Darom, the Southern outpost of the Conservative movement’s summer camp program. All three Kullock daughters have attended Camp Ramah, as well as have many other teens and pre-teens in the congregation. 

 WES librarian Susan Pankowsky said that she’s happy with “the spiritual direction of the shul” and that Rabbi Kullock’s Talmud classes are the “highlight of my week!”  Speaking of Jessica’s many contributions to synagogue life, she said, “Jessie has been an amazing partner to Rabbi with her willingness to pitch in on so many projects, including donating time and effort to Sisterhood, challah sales, and especially her davening and Torah reading! Seeing her (and the kids) participating alongside Rabbi is something that we should all aspire to do….”  
The Kullocks came to Nashville after several years of rabbinical service in a synagogue pulpit in Guadalajara, Mexico along with their three daughters, Iara, Abigail, and Meital.  The girls are 15, 13, and 12, respectively. Both older girls, graduates of Akiva School, are students at Harpeth Hall, while Meital is presently an Akiva student.    

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Pictured l. to r.: Jessica Kullock, Iara Kullock, Abi Kullock, Meital Kullock, Rabbi Joshua Kullock

We hope the community will join us in honoring this amazing and energetic couple who’ve contributed so much to the Nashville Jewish community over the last ten years. For reservations, click on this link or type it into your browser window.                                                                              

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