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Shabbat and Holidays

Our worship services create special moments of connection. Inspired by the Torah’s story of God resting after creating the world (Genesis 2:1-3), Shabbat celebrates creation and offers a respite from the hectic pace of the rest of the week. Shabbat is a day of rest, a day of pleasure and delight, a time that is set aside to take notice of the wonders around us.

We thrive on fully inclusive, participatory and inspiring worship experiences that balance kevah (the words in our prayerbook) with kavanah (the spontaneity and intention of our hearts). Music plays a major role in the culture of our congregation and is a key part of every service. We use both traditional and contemporary melodies, and we encourage everyone to join in as fully as they desire. We find great meaning and inspiration in joining our voices in prayer and song.

We use both Hebrew and English during our services, and our prayerbook is completely transliterated, so that everyone can feel comfortable praying with us and being able to follow along. We also livestream our services over the internet, so those who are unable to be with us in person are still able to feel connected to, and are still able to pray with, their congregational family.

We hold services and programming for our community with special needs, as well as holding alternative services, such as healing services, recognizing that people come to prayer with different needs and emotions at different times throughout their lives.

We strive to be a spiritual home where all can come together to mark sacred times during the year and in our lives; and we seek to be a safe space where we can leave the stresses of the week at the door, and enter into the sacred space of our sanctuary or chapel as we relax, study, learn, pray and sing together.

Tot Shabbat

At Congregation Kol Ami we deeply value the meaning of l’dor va-dor, from generation to generation, being able to come together across the ages and celebrate Shabbat and holidays together. Once a month, toddlers and their families worship together in services geared to children from infants through Kindergarten, and focused on different themes based on that month’s holidays or Torah portions. We even celebrate birthdays. Grandparents are also welcome to attend these joyful sessions that include tot-friendly snacks and crafts.

Purim

Purim is a joyous holiday that affirms and celebrates Jewish survival and continuity throughout history. The main communal celebration involves a public reading of the Book of Esther (Megillat Esther), which tells the story of the holiday: Under the rule of King Ahasuerus, Haman, the king’s adviser, plots to exterminate all of the Jews of Persia. His plan is foiled by Queen Esther and her cousin Mordechai, who ultimately save the Jews of Persia from destruction.

To mark this playful holiday, our clergy lead a playful “Dis”Service for which attendees comes in costume and ready to “Boo!” at every mention of Haman’s name. Following the festival service, the Religious School students (grades 6 and up) perform an original Purim Shpiel, a musical re-telling of the Megillah.

Chanukah

Chanukah is a festive eight-day celebration that for many people falls during the darkest, coldest season of the year. Also called the Festival of Lights, the holiday brings light, joy, and warmth to our homes and communities and is celebrated nightly with a menorah lighting, special prayers and fried foods.

Chanukah, meaning “dedication” in Hebrew, commemorates the incredible victory of a small group of Jewish rebels (led by Judah Maccabee) over the armies of Syria in 165 B.C.E. When the Jews sought to rebuild the destroyed Holy Temple in Jerusalem, they lit the menorah and, miraculously, the one-day supply of oil lasted for eight days, inspiring the Jewish sages to proclaim a yearly eight-day festival.

At Congregation Kol Ami, we celebrate the warmth of the holiday with a communal candle lighting on the Shabbat that falls during the holiday.

Teacher Appreciation Shabbat

At the end of each school year, we honor all the exceptional teachers in our lives, and notably our Early Childhood Center and Religious School role models.

Volunteer Appreciation Shabbat

We honor the work of our Social Action and Caring Community Committees, and the many volunteers who give of their time to the sacred work of tikkun olam (repairing the world) and gemilut chasadim (acts of loving-kindness).