Congregation Kol Tefillah -- Santa Cruz, CA

Congregation Kol Tefillah

USCJ-affiliated lay-led 

Conservative Synagogue

Closing down synagogue on August 26, 2023 after 30 years

Stay tuned for future developments in terms of other forms of organizational worship

Contact Treasurer at 831-254-7325 if you wish to be on email list

with updates on future religious events hosted 

by members of our Congregation 

 Here is a photo from May 2007 of our Congregation carrying a new Torah

 to our location 2 blocks from the beach in Santa Cruz

Congregation Kol Tefillah is lay-led shul on a limited budget. We represent a model of how Conservative synagogues can exist outside of big cities.  We have a plan to increase our membership long term.  But we need help from Family Foundations and Donor Advised Funds in the short run.  Please contact our Treasurer Larry Abrams at 831-254-7325 to learn more about our efforts to keep Conservative Judaism alive on the Central Coast of California.

Congregation Kol Tefillah is a 501(c) organization and your net donation is tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by the law. Our Tax ID/Reg. no. 77-03839

Attention Visitors to Santa Cruz, California

Kol Tefillah can be your "destination" shul.  Join us for a full Torah Service followed by a Kiddush lunch. Plus you can be be shomer shabbos by staying at any number of motels nearby.


Ocean Pacific Lodge, 301 Pacific Avenue, 831-457-1234, < $200/night on weekends, all of 2 minute walk to the shul and  5 minute walk to the wharf.\

Pacific Blue Inn, 636 Pacific Avenue, 831-600-8880  “a green hotel” <$200/night weekends mid-way between shul/ocean and downtown Santa Cruz, both 15 minute either way

Santa Cruz Hostel 315-321 Main Street, Beach Hill, 831-423-8304, 15 minute walk to shul or downtown, 5 minute walk to boardwalk,  1880s cottages, shared bathrooms, kitchen, dining room, private rooms with bunk beds for 3 $140/night; shared dorm rooms with bunk beds for 6 - $50 per night per person; Requires cleaning up common rooms after use, stripping bed and bringing down to laundry, etc.

After Shul:

Walk along West Cliff past Dream Inn, Lighthouse, surfers at Steamer Lane.

After Shabbos: all within walking distance of shul

Vegan restaurants, live Jazz at Kuumbwa, G-League basketball, bowling, or video game arcade at the Boardwalk 

Vegan Restaurants

Malabar Restaurant, 514 Front Street, Asian fusion, 12-2:30 PM, 5-9:30 PM

Veg on the Edge, in Abbot Square, 725 Front Street,  12-8PM

Cafe Gratitude, 103 Lincoln Street, 11 AM - 9 PM

Outdoor Dining Food Court

Abbott Square - 725 Front Street

Santa Cruz Beach and Boardwalk

Saturday Sunday Hours: Rides 12PM -5PM   Arcade 10AM - 10PM

Boardwalk Bowling  Coasters Bar and Grill

Create your own Big Lebowski shomer shabbos meme, be The Dude, have a White Russian

115 Cliff Street, across from Boardwalk, Daily 9AM-12AM 


Kuumbwa Jazz Club  

G-League basketball  

Kosher Meats

Trader Joe’s,  700 Front Street,  Downtown SC, Open every day 8 AM - 9 PM

Healthy Grocery Stores

New Leaf Community Market, 1101 Fair St (Westside SC) and 1134 Pacific Ave. (Downtown SC) Open every day 8 AM - 9 PM

Fresh Fish 

Stagnaro Brothers Seafood (59 Municipal Wharf) -- a short walk from the Shul

Steamer Lane surfing, Santa Cruz Beach, and Boardwalk are a 10 minute walk from the shul 

 Be shomer shabbos at Kol Tefillah...then roll Saturday night

Being shomer shabbos has become hip.  First, it was the famous scene in the 1988 movie The Big Lebowski where Walter Sobchak passionately defended his need to be shomer shabbos. People speculate that he was suffering from PTSD from serving in Viet Nam and found being shomer shabbos healing.

So, when informed that his bowling team game had been moved to a Saturday, he was adamant that 

"I'm shomer shabbos! I don't ***** roll on shabbos"

In the past two years, there has been a growing awareness of burnout from always being "connected" to one's smart phone with its flood of emails and social media posts. 

There is a growing number of pundits advising to "disconnect" for a day and to focus on both going deep -- soul searching -- and going high -- reading "big picture" books. 

Torah study offers both.

A great example of the trend toward "a day a week to disconnect"  is a recent blog post by Erik Torenberg, a venture capitalist based in San Francisco.  He advises, "spend one or two Saturday's a month in device free solitude". 

 Go "solo" he says.  Explore your "inner Thoreau"  "Solitude begets solidarity"

With its location about a 10 minute walk from the Santa Cruz beach and boardwalk, Congregation Kol Tefillah offers a world class experience to "spend a whole day away from devices", to pray and reflect.

After shul, walk along the ocean, and then when the sun sets, do Havdalah and sing "Eliyahu Hanavi" 

Then walk down to the Boardwalk Bowling Alley, be the Big Lebowski dude, roll and have a White Russian, and, with a h/t to Hashem, just celebrate being alive.