Welcome to Congregation Kol Ami! I hope that we have people visiting our website for many reasons, whether you are already a member or just looking for information about who we are and what we represent.
I love the sense of belonging I feel whenever I enter our beautiful building. prayers in our Siddur speaks to me on a deep level and I want to share it with you:
Each of us enters this sanctuary with a different need.
Some hearts are full of peace and gratitude,
Overflowing with love and joy.
They are eager to confront the day, to make the world a better place. They are recovering from illness, or have escaped misfortune.
We rejoice with them.
Some hearts ache with sorrow;
Disappointments weigh heavily on them.
Families have been broken; loved ones lie on a bed of pain; Death has taken a cherished loved one.
May our presence and caring bring them comfort.
Some hearts are embittered:
Ideals are betrayed and mocked, answers sought in vain, Life has lost its meaning and value.
May the knowledge that we, too, are searching
Restore our hope, and renew our faith.
Those of you who attended our Annual Congregational Meeting in June of 2019 may remember that I asked how many of you work out at one of our local fitness centers. I love Planet Fitness because they advertise that they are a “No Judgement Zone”, which means that it is a place where you can work out without ever being laughed at for the way you exercise or how you look. I firmly believe that CKA should be a “No Judgement Zone”, as well. We should not judge or be judged by how we choose to participate, pray, or practice our Jewish faith. Rabbi Steinitz epitomizes this as he leads our congregation that was founded on a blend of Jewish traditions right here on Water Street. I have spoken with several congregants that have shared their insecurities about how they (and I) don’t always know why or how we do what we do. As an educator, I believe that we are all life-long learners and have many valuable opportunities to learn and grow in our Jewish faith. Whether it’s coming to weekly services, holiday services, or taking part in any of the classes that are offered throughout the year, there are a multitude of ways to learn.
Since March of 2020, our world has changed drastically in reaction to the Coronavirus pandemic. We have had to adjust the way we observe our traditions and carry on our day-to- day lives. I am proud to say that Congregation Kol Ami has risen to the challenge by offering weekly services and continuing education classes online. We often have more people attending services now that they are more accessible to those who live far away. While we pray for the day that we can once again congregate in our building, we will only do so when it is safe to return to “the old days and ways.” It has made us realize, however, that there is room for new ways of doing things and I am confident that we will find the right blend when the time comes. As you can see, we’re trying hard to keep up with all of the changes in our world that affect our lives at CKA. It truly is our reality that, “We are all in this together!” I welcome your thoughts, concerns, ideas, or questions.
© 2019 CONGREGATION KOL AMI
1008 W. Water St. Elmira, NY 14905
Shabbat Service Schedule:
Friday Evening Service - 7:30PM
Saturday Morning Service - 9:30AM