Council President’s extraordinary contribution
On Monday, at the School Council Annual General Meeting, Lahra Carey will step down as President of our School Council. Lahra has been on Council since 2014 and has served as President since 2018.
It is hard to put into words how grateful I am to Lahra for her inspirational leadership and extraordinary contribution to our school community.
Lahra has been so instrumental in setting the direction of our school, in negotiating complex issues and in proudly projecting and upholding our ethos as a Progressive Jewish school rooted in inclusivity, equity and social justice.
It is no exaggeration to state that our school would be a very different place but for Lahra’s positive contribution.
At a personal level, I can share that Lahra and I have enjoyed a wonderful working relationship which began with mutual respect but has grown into a genuine friendship.
Well, if I am to be totally honest, it is not quite true to state that our relationship began with mutual respect … Well before I was involved with The King David School, Lahra and I met as part of a subcommittee at Temple Beth Israel. I recall that the first time we chatted we somehow ended up in a heated confrontation regarding the place of Hebrew in a contemporary Jewish education.
I remember being taken aback by her eloquence and forthrightness – which were particularly frustrating given that she was arguing for something that was so patently wrong!
Not so long after that shaky start, I joined the King David School community. When I began, it was Lahra’s late husband, the wonderful Ben Cowen, who was on the School Council.
He then stood down and Lahra was co opted, and I was afforded the opportunity of really getting to know her.
She, along with Ben and her Council colleagues, were vital in the brave and visionary decision to embark on Project Chai Ve’kayam that has been so successful in revitalising the school’s facilities while securing our financial sustainability.
When Ben tragically passed in January of 2017, our whole community mourned with Lahra, Mitch, Alex and Charley. The outpouring of grief and concern were testament to the enormous love that we all felt for Ben and our endearment to Lahra and their children.
While we expected that Lahra would permanently step back from her Council commitments, she ultimately delighted us and surprised herself, by taking on the mantle of President. It has been a unique privilege to share this journey with her and to enjoy witnessing the many wonderful milestones as Mitch, Alex and Charley accomplished so much on their way to graduation.
Lahra’s presidency has been characterised by her wisdom, exceptional communication skills and ability to meet people with an open mind and heart. These have added enormous value to School Council considerations and in ensuring that positive relationships and a clarity of purpose lie at the heart of the School’s decisions.
I have celebrated the School’s stellar achievements with Lahra and have also relied heavily upon her counsel and support to pick a path through the challenging issues that occur.
Throughout the challenging period of COVID lockdowns and rolling restrictions, Lahra offered tremendous support and leadership, initiating important actions such as phone check-ins with our community members and gifts for our staff.
I have been so privileged to learn from and with Lahra and am gratified that her contribution to School Council will continue in her role as Immediate Past President.
Lahra, I have been so lucky to work with you, we have shared so much together and I appreciate your outstanding support. Your unflappable nature, wise counsel and genuine passion for our school are invaluable. On behalf of our entire community I want to say:
תודה מעומק ליבנו על כל מה שעשית בשבילנו
And no – I’m not translating that for you as I still think Hebrew is a vital part of a Jewish education! 😂