Just a year and a half old, Congregation Kol HaNeshama, founded by a small group of year-round and seasonal residents, has already established itself as a creative force in Sarasota, and has now joined JRF as the 106th affiliate. Since its inception it has grown to 38 households, and is operating on a 12-month calendar, including all major holidays.
The Little Minyan began with the pipedream of folks who envisioned a congregational model that included a holy community (kehilla kedosha) that truly cared for and supported one another in times of need, joy, and sorrow. Their vision was shared by a small group that began to meet regularly, jokingly calling themselves The Little Minyan that Could, and on Shavuot 5766/June 2006, The Little Minyan held their first Sabbath service.
Congregation Kol HaNeshama offers a variety of programs, including Shabbat morning services, lively musical services on Friday evenings, and holiday services and celebrations. On alternate weekends the congregation offers a very popular “Lunch and Learn” Torah study program, and an extensive adult education program will be offered next year. RRC student Evette Lutman served the congregation this year, and next year’s student rabbi, Nehama Benmosche, will be welcomed and introduced to the community on June 6.
Rabbi Shawn Zevit, Director of Outreach, welcomes Kol Haneshamah as “another jewel in the Florida Reconstructionist crown” and Rabbi Mark S. Kram, of Temple Beth Or in Miami sent greetings: “Welcome to JRF! And best of luck in growing your community. We send our best wishes and an offer to help in any way we can from Miami. B’hatzlacha!
Founders include Dr. Linda Charnes (President) and her husband Stanley Yudin; B’nai Keshet members Murry and Leona Brochin, board members of JRF and RRC, respectively; Adat Shalom members Kayla Niles, another JRF board member, and John Niles; and Charles Silberman, former RRC board member from West End Synagogue
President Linda Charnes says, "If you're thinking about Florida for a vacation next winter, think Sarasota and Congregation Kol HaNeshama. We will welcome all members of other Recon communities with open arms, good food and friendship. Let us know you are coming and we will be sure you are invited for Shabbat dinner at one of our members' homes."
Visit Kol HaNeshama's website, www.congkh.org, for information and the full schedule of activities.
The Little Minyan, a vibrant and highly participatory Jewish congregation in central Ohio, has chosen to enter into the covenantal relationship of affiliation with the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation (JRF). Although the Little Minyan will be the only Reconstructionist congregation in central Ohio, there are currently affiliates in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Wooster.
Members of the major movement, including Director of Outreach, Rabbi Shawn Zevit, will participate in Erev Shabbat services on Friday, June 12th, 7:30 p.m., to welcome the Little Minyan. The Little Minyan holds monthly erev Shabbat and Shabbat morning services at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 2070 Ridgecliff Road, in Upper Arlington. In addition, a wide variety of educational, celebratory, and social action activities of the Little Minyan can be found on their website, littleminyan.org.
The Little Minyan began with the pipedream of two 40-year-old moms, Irene Donhowe of Dublin, and Jessica Shimberg Lind of Upper Arlington, who met through their children and spent years serving in leadership positions at a Reform synagogue. They envisioned a congregational model that included meaningful educational opportunities for children and their parents, a participatory worship experience that welcomed innovation and fostered learning, and a holy community (kehilla kedosha) that truly cared for and supported one another in times of need, joy, and sorrow. Their vision was shared by a small group that began to meet regularly, jokingly calling themselves The Little Minyan that Could, and on Shavuot 5766/June 2006, The Little Minyan held their first Sabbath service.
Within 18 months of forming, the Little Minyan had worked together to create a chuppah (wedding canopy) to celebrate a wedding, welcomed their first Little Minyan baby with a lovely brit chayim (covenant of life ceremony), and assisted in creating a meaningful Shiva/mourning period for a beloved parent. In addition, the community had successfully created Shabbat and High Holy Day worship services, extensive educational programming, and social and social action opportunities, all with the energy and talents of individual members and on a very modest budget.
Over the course of their first three years, the Little Minyan has, on occasion, invited rabbis and other professional teachers to both study with and lead worship for the congregation. However, the Little Minyan remains primarily lay led and completely volunteer driven. With the assistance of a national movement that shares the values and dynamic vision of the Little Minyan, the congregation looks forward to a bright future serving its members and the central Ohio community. Affiliation affords the Little Minyan many opportunities while maintaining a great degree of autonomy.