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Our History

The Original Kol Ami building circa 1980's

Congregation Kol Ami was started as a way to take care of the needs of the Jewish community in North Tampa. A group of 16 families who were eager to have a Jewish organization in the area, but we weren’t sure what was needed held an organizational meeting. They received names of people who lived in one of the zip codes we considered “North Tampa” from the Jewish Federation, and a letter and questionnaire was sent telling them that there was an organizational meeting scheduled in their area. Three meetings were held, and everyone who came was also interested in the same goals for the Jewish community in North Tampa. It was decided to form a synagogue and Congregation Kol Ami was established in 1978.

 

The first services were held in a Masonic Lodge with members of the congregation conducting all aspects of the services, until we engaged our first rabbi in 1980. Ever since that time, members of the congregation have continued to participate extensively in our religious services. Kol Ami started as an egalitarian synagogue and continues to be that today. Our first Religious School classes were held on the rustic grounds of a local private school. We now have many classrooms within our Synagogue building. Since the beginning, we have encouraged participation from children of all ages. Today, many of our Torah readers are teenagers and every year each class in our Kol Yeladim School has the opportunity to lead services.

 

The original synagogue facility contained a sanctuary, a social hall, classrooms, office space, and a kitchen. It opened shortly before the High Holiday services in 1982. In 1998, the congregation completed a major expansion which included: building a new sanctuary, enlarging the social hall and kitchen, adding a chapel for daily minyans and a board room, and enlarging the school wing. The whole building is used extensively during the week with many different activities going on during both the day and evening.

 

Our synagogue family has more than 350 households and, while it has grown in size, it has still been able to keep the “hamish” and warm feelings Kol Ami had when it started. There are a number of third and fourth generation families that are part of our congregation.

Wed, September 30 2020 12 Tishrei 5781