The Talmud, which serves as the basis of rabbinic literature and Judaic life, provides a snapshot of the core requirements for a communal infrastructure. It emphasizes the pivotal role that the kehillah (community) plays in the nurturing of its inhabitants. Today, the Talmud's philosophy of community remains both relevant and in effect. Fast forward two millennia and we behold a more modern yet similar system. The American Jewish system of communal services was established as European Jews immigrated to these shores in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many of these communal lay leaders were inspired by their traditional Jewish values of social responsibility and concern for all. They brought the philosophy and requirements of the Talmud with their meager belongings. These immigrants could not rely on outside assistance from others: they were strangers in a strange land and looked within for the support to survive and flourish. As they succeeded in the New World, they built the institutions demanded by their heritage.