The only constant about Temple Kol Ami is its membership’s willingness to continue the search for excellence, wherever that search may lead.
We are a reform Jewish congregation in Scottsdale, Arizona, that honors its past and the achievements of the countless generations that have brought us together as a congregation in the 21st century, and looks for ways and means to instill our children with an abiding sense of who they are as Jews and as citizens of the world.
We see our congregation as a force for good and decency in our own lives, and a force of change for the better in various communities beyond our walls.
We engage in acts of social justice repeatedly throughout the year. Our children support hundreds of Jewish elderly in retirement and nursing facilities with shelach manot (goodie bags) for Purim, New Years cards and Passover bags. Our Youth Groupers engage in food drives, serve as counselors at Camp SWIFT for children from economically challenged families as well as their school tutors throughout the year. Our families share in food drives, citrus gleaning for the food banks, clothing drives and provide volunteers for a broad variety of social service providers. And that is just a beginning!
We see our congregation as a place for our intellectual growth, our spiritual growth and our social well being.
All with the focus of increasing our commitment to our Jewish faith and its demands on us to help perfect the world as a partner with God.
–Jim Bracy, Congregant who converted to Judaism at TKA
–Jeffrey Leyton, Founding Member
–Dana and Jon Kichen, Members
–Suzy and Bruce Wall, Members
–Leslee Kelly, Member
–Jason and Jessica Kaller, Members
–Nichole and Mike Arko, Members
–Betty Hirshman, Member
Temple Kol Ami came to life in October of 1988. Founded by 52 families, the congregation began humbly in rented space at a Lutheran church. Rabbi Herring became our first spiritual leader, Michael Rosenthal our first administrator, and soon after, Raina Sinclair, our first cantorial soloist. At first, all activities were held at the church, but growth required the congregation to move half of its religious school to a nearby preschool facility. Bar and Bat Mitzvah parents acquired space for their ceremonies at local hotels and resorts.
Kol Ami saw itself as a community family from the start. With a stated goal to never grow too big, Kol Ami chooses to maintain a “family feel” where each child has their own Bar or Bat Mitzvah weekend, where members know and enjoy each other, and where our Temple is an innovative place for learning, worship and social gathering. Tikkun Olam (social activism), is one of Kol Ami’s core platforms. Our social action projects join youth, seniors and all those in between in the work of building a better world as a reflection of our Reform Jewish faith.
Kol Ami moved to its current location, a beautiful, park-like five acres in 1992 designed by the world famous Will Bruder. With an elegant sanctuary, 14 classrooms, charming social hall, athletic field, office space, and a beautiful memorial garden, Kol Ami makes a stunning impression on those who walk the grounds.
In 2011, with the help of so many families who joined the “Save the Temple”campaign, Kol Ami welcomed Rabbi Jeremy Schneider as its new Rabbi. Rabbi Schneider served as the Associate Rabbi at Temple Shalom in Dallas Texas for five years prior to coming to Scottsdale. He is married to Rachel and they have four children.
Since Rabbi Schneider’s arrival, our temple has grown exponentially:
The religious school, which had about 50 enrolled in 2011, now has well over 200 children on Sunday mornings and provides the first-of-its-kind: online mid-week Hebrew education, also known as “eBrew”;
Our early childhood center, led by Debbie Glassman, is approaching capacity levels;
Membership, once at 150 families in 2011, is now over 380 families;
A state-of-the-art splash pad was built;
We have welcomed all new senior staff: a new Cantorial Soloist, Gregg Luchs, a full time executive director, Nancy Drapin, and Director of Youth Engagement Carly Kastner;
We have secured two different U.S. Homeland Security Grants for improvements to the safety of our grounds, building and families;
Our social action programs in collaboration with several Phoenix organizations, help more than 1000 individuals a month through food and other aid projects.
Most notably, with the support of so many families’ donations to the Save the Temple program, our capital campaign, and Dorothy and Michael Blaire’s generosity, our congregation has paid off a $1.25 million mortgage.
In 2017, our congregation continues on a strong path, mixing innovation with tradition. We are presently exploring new avenues for solar energy as well as strategic planning for programs and facility needs. Our leadership circle is growing with many new younger families joining together with our long-time members to build our future. We will continue to strengthen our link to the greater Reform movement, to our greater Scottsdale/Phoenix community, and to each other with all that we do together– L’dor va’dor, from generation to generation.