A New Shul by the Bay
Thirteen years ago, we started a new shul by the bay,
Small at first but then it grew to the size it is today.
We were barely a minyan of chartered members
Who tonight are celebrating more than just 13 Septembers.
We say September since it has been KH’s busiest month
Annual renewals, Rosh Hashanah and welcoming a new bunch.
We started out as an alternative minyan at Temple Beth Sholom.
The Sufi Center and a Lutheran church were also our home.
KH finally settled down when it moved into Southgate
Which for 9 or 10 years was our sacred home until late.
As we prepare to move into very new premises–
Continuing to build community will be our main emphasis.
At the beginning, with so many of us away from our kin,
We sponsored Yom Tov feasts from which you wouldn’t get thin.
First was an annual Rosh Hashanah eve dinner–
Then a full annual Seder from which you also wouldn’t get thinner.
In the early years everyone had to take on a role:
Board duties, ushering, chair set up: duty sharing our goal.
At every service, members prepared both Motzi and Kiddush.
And we wished each other a gutten Shabbes as they say in Yiddish.
We started out with a very old loan Torah that needed repair.
Eventually we bought our very own whose fonts were very clear.
Latter we acquired yet another Torah through a family donation.
Upon arrival at SRQ Airport we held a welcoming celebration.
With our mixed multitude, we elected to be different in orientation.
Initially, Kol HaNeshama established as a Reconstructionist affiliation.
We chose the Reconstructionist Prayerbook to be our Siddur
But use the Conservative Etz Hayim Chumash to also be fair.
Early on, we recruited lay leaders to lead all our worship.
Reconstructionist talent came to help enhance our fellowship.
Eventually we engaged Rabbi Jennifer to lead us in prayer–
Well before her rabbinic ordination did occur.
You know you are a real shul when the following take place:
B’nai Mitzvahs, weddings, funerals and baby namings in our holy space.
Kvetching, gossip, disagreements and differing opinions—
Occur infrequently but like in all synagogues may be observed at minyans.
Unfortunately, many founders have passed on to the big stage above.
We remember them at Yizkor services and on their Yahrzeit with love.
This KH B’Mitzvah production that we are celebrating this evening
Would not have been fully possible without their being.
It’s fascinating to us how we have survived as a congregation.
The pandemic changed how we operate – with masks and mitigation.
However, our rabbi, leaders and volunteers have kept us together
Via Zoom technology during all kinds of weather.
Yashar koach to all for keeping our community on track.
We, like many others, appreciate KH having “our back.”
May we continue to flourish–from strength to strength.
We hope we didn’t bore you by this poem’s length.
Mazal tov and Happy B’Mitzvah, Kol HaNeshama!
by KH members Marden and Joan Paru – April 17, 2021