This Summer there is a buzz in Sarasota about something special happening in South Gate Community Center on Friday and Saturdays. People are coming together to celebrate Shabbat in a spirited and fun way. Congregation Kol HaNeshama (AKA KH) is experiencing a renewal under the leadership of their new rabbi, Rabbi Sigal.
KH is preparing for the High Holy Days and is holding an Open House on Friday, September 8, 2023.
You are invited to a wine and cheese reception at 5:00 pm, an opportunity to meet Rabbi Sigal and KH Members and guests. The reception will be followed by a musical Kabbalat Shabbat service at 6:00 pm. All are welcome. First-time visitors are invited to join Kol HaNeshama members to get a taste of the exceptional community that is being created at KH.
Rabbi Sigal enjoys meeting and welcoming guests and is looking forward to seeing many newcomers at the Open House. She notes that “It is interesting to meet new people and to reach out to the wider community to make new connections and friends. We are creating a very special community here and I hope many will want to be a part of it. KH is a place for all of us. We are welcoming and caring.”
Richard Belle, president of the congregation, adds that “I can’t wait for visitors to share in our musical, uplifting service. It is a wonderful way to begin Shabbat and the energy and spirituality is unlike anything I have experienced in any other synagogue.”
The Open House will be held at the South Gate Community Center, 3145 Southgate Circle, Sarasota, FL 34239. For additional information or to sign up for the Kol HaNeshama mailing list, please email email@example.com or call 941-244-2042.
Rabbi Sigal Brier will begin July 1, 2023 as the new rabbi of Congregation Kol HaNeshama in Sarasota. She succeeds Interim Rabbi Carl Astor and Rabbi Emerita Jennifer Singer, the congregation’s first full-time rabbi.
Rabbi Sigal comes to Kol HaNeshama (KH) in Sarasota with years of experience as a congregational rabbi. She is an Israeli-born scholar, spiritual mentor, inspirational teacher, and artist whose background includes training in psychology, religion, art, music, yoga, and meditation. Rabbi Sigal has presented at TED and has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and National Public Radio. Rabbi Sigal is a longtime faculty member of the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in MA.
Ordained at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Rabbi Sigal also holds a master’s degree in organizational psychology from West Chester University and a master’s degree in Jewish Studies.
Rabbi Sigal’s leadership style is interactive and conversational. Her goal is to encourage spiritual conversation, learn together, inspire, connect more people to the community, do good through Tikkun Olam in the community, and build a spiritual caring community at Kol HaNeshama.
Rabbi Sigal visited KH in early March and again in April for Passover. Congregants raved about her pulpit presence, commenting “she will invigorate the congregation in our spiritual quest” and “the whole congregation seemed to come together for her service.” Other responses included “thoughtful and provocative” and “her discussions were enough to bring me to services.”
“I’m looking forward to working with members at the Kol HaNeshama community and others in the Sarasota area, starting in July 2023, and grow a Jewish spiritual home together,” Rabbi Sigal said. “My role as a rabbi and a spiritual leader is to meet people where they are and provide comfort, teachings, and inspiration. We celebrate together and when we face life’s challenges, individually and collectively, we help each other.”
KH President Richard Belle added that “Rabbi Sigal Brier is a truly charismatic, spiritual, and intellectually gifted leader. I have no doubt that the strength and vitality of our congregation will increase dramatically under her leadership. We will become an even more attractive place for those seeking a spiritual home here in Sarasota!”
Rabbi Sigal begins her service to the community on July 1. Everyone is invited to attend services, beginning on July 8 at 10 am, to meet her and experience the warmth and friendliness of KH. Information about Congregation Kol HaNeshama, including summer services, may be found at khsarasota.org. The congregation meets every Shabbat, alternating Friday nights and Saturday mornings at the Southgate Community Center, 3145 Southgate Circle, Sarasota.
For further information, please contact, Richard Belle, Kol HaNeshama President, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Will be published in February’s Jewish News of Sarasota-Manatee “Community Focus”)
Congregation Kol HaNeshama recently spearheaded a social action program responding to the needs of at-risk women and children throughout Sarasota-Manatee. Members of KH filled new or gently used handbags with everyday essentials such as toiletries, sundries and warm socks and encouraged friends and neighbors to do the same. The project resulted in the delivery of some 90 handbags, brimming over with necessities, to Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center (SPARCC) in Sarasota and HOPE Family Services, Inc., in Bradenton.
Delivering handbags filled with everyday essentials to Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center in Sarasota (l. to r.): Rabbi Jennifer Singer, Ellen Honig, Naomi Schwartz.
Delivering handbags filled with everyday essentials to HOPE Family Services in Bradenton (l. to r.): Joan Streit, Barbara Shagrin, Maureen Binderman.
“Thank you so much for supporting Young Jewish Adults – Sarasota! We had 20 young adults who came, a costume contest, beautiful havdalah, delicious food and drinks! We are so appreciative of your sponsorship for this event. The food was a hit and everyone was very grateful. On behalf of YJA-Sarasota, thank you!!!”