Congregation Kol HaNeshama is a community of spirituality, prayer, learning and friendship. Proud to be truly warm and welcoming, we embrace all individuals and families of varying Jewish lifestyles, regardless of marital status, gender, race, age and sexual orientation. We emphasize social action, chesed and tikkun olam.
Kol HaNeshama’s members share a wide range of opportunities for relevant, contemporary Jewish living:
Our vibrant and inspiring spiritual leader – Rabbi Jennifer Singer – is central to who we are – and what we do. Associated with KH as a member since it began in 2007, prior to her ordination, she knows and loves our congregation. And we return that love.
Rabbi Jennifer has many gifts we treasure. She offers services that are meaningful and moving, sometimes alternative, but always informed by tradition. She teaches in ways that help us explore Judaism spiritually and intellectually. Her insight and empathy nourish us in our good times and guide us when the going gets tough.
Our congregation is unique in Sarasota: We are a synagogue for everyone. Our reality transcends labels, but we are comfortable identifying ourselves as independent or post-denominational. The Reconstructionist Movement’s siddur and the Conservative Movement’s chumash, together, provide a framework for our services. Our beautiful name, Kol HaNeshama, comes from Psalm 150 and refers to “The Breath of All Living Things.”
We conduct services every Shabbat, on Friday evening one week, on Saturday morning the next. Friday’s relatively short Kabbalat Shabbat service– filled with music, singing and dancing– brings us together for an uplifting start to Shabbat. Our more contemplative Saturday morning balances prayer, song, Torah and thoughtful discussion. We conclude Shabbat mornings with a warm and convivial potluck lunch, suspended during Covid, but scheduled to resume after the High Holy Days.
Extensive programming and a wide range of interest groups bring our members together regularly. The KH calendar features holiday celebrations, weekly Torah study, and a variety of provocative classes, such as “Exploring the Prophets” and “Making Prayer Real.” Our Scholar-in-Residence Weekend is an annual highlight.
Our many programs include Books & Bagels, Jewish Meditation, a Chesed Committee and a Social Action Committee. We also sponsor occasional social activities, like a sock hop or a sunset cruise, just for fun. Our very popular monthly KH lunch series (on Zoom during Covid) “Who Was That Person I Sat Next to in Synagogue?” gives us the opportunity to introduce ourselves to each other in depth.
We observe Kashrut as follows: Synagogue Shabbat meals (Friday night dinners, Oneg lunches, holidays) are dairy-vegetarian-kosher fish. Members may prepare food in their own kitchens or bring items, in their original containers, purchased from kosher purveyors. We ask that members check ingredient lists for “hidden” meat products or non-kosher ingredients, such as chicken broth, clam juice, beef or chicken flavoring, etc. It is our practice to begin meals with the Hamotzi and to conclude with one of the versions of Birkat HaMazon.
If a meat meal is to be served, only kosher certified caterers or strictly kosher home kitchens (separated milk and meat dishes, pots, and utensils and only kosher meat) may provide the meal. The only meat meal that the congregation sponsors is the erev Rosh Hashanah dinner. Meat meals may be provided for Bar or Bat Mitzvah celebrations, etc., but must be planned in consultation with the Religious Practices Committee.
Social Activities – A synagogue is so much more than our services and classes. It is connections. It is those connections that create a community. We believe that having fun together is an important component of community building. And we do have fun. In the past we have had sunset cruises, sock hops with a live DJ, and we have traveled to Israel together. Participating in those activities have created friendships that go way beyond mere acquaintances. When you join KH you are joining a family.
Kol HaNeshama is so much more than a congregation. We are, indeed, a caring family that prays, learns, works, plays, and grows together.