About Kol Tefillah

Statement of Principles -- Congregation Kol Tefillah

Adopted December 10, 2002


Since its founding, Congregation Kol Tefillah has found its enduring strength as a Jewish community to be rooted in certain core values and principles that embody and enhance the shared religious values of its membership. Congregation Kol Tefillah is constituted as a traditional congregation. We are affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. The Torah is our guide, informing us how to act as a community in the service of G-d. This Statement of Principles speaks for Congregation Kol Tefillah as an institution and only addresses communal activities. It covers four key areas:

  1. Religious Observance

  2. The State of Israel and World Jewry

  3. Education

  4. Member Participation

1. Religious Observance

Our ritual practice is predicated on the understanding that we are a Jewish community committed to serving G-d. Within the framework of men and women's equal participation in our communal ritual practice, we seek to fulfill this commitment to the best of our ability through the observance of mitzvot as expressed in Halacha. While recognizing the diverse level of religious observance and interpretation of halacha and tradition among our individual members, as a community we strive to follow the precepts of the Torah as interpreted by Rabbinic tradition within Talmudic Judaism, and we are committed to moving in the direction of increasing our religious observance. For example:

  • We endeavor to offer traditional worship services for Shabbat and all festivals.

  • We endeavor to conduct our worship services using traditional Hebrew liturgy.

  • We endeavor to observe the halacha of Shabbat and festivals, kashrut, gemilut chasadim (acts of kindness), bikkur cholim (visiting the sick), and other mitzvot.

  • We endeavor to study the weekly Torah portions through divrei Torah that respect the sanctity of the Torah and the belief that the Torah is the word of G-d given to Moses at Mt. Sinai, and that draw upon the wisdom of the Jewish Sages throughout the ages.

  • We endeavor to create in our worship services an atmosphere of sanctity which is conducive to traditional prayer through dress and conduct that is respectful and appropriate.

2. The State of Israel and World Jewry

We recognize that the State of Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people. Our prayers have included the desire of the Jewish people to return to the Land of Israel, and especially to Jerusalem. This concept has been central to Jewish religious thought for thousands of years. We offer complete support to the people of the State of Israel and their government, and to the community of World Jewry (Klal Yisrael).

Our support for Israel and for Klal Yisrael includes:

  • Educating our members about our people’s religious and historical connection to the land and people of Israel and in the diaspora through drashot, invited speakers, articles in congregational newsletters, etc.

  • Offering assistance to various charitable Jewish institutions and organizations involved with immigration, absorption, integration, education and the social welfare of the people of the State of Israel, as well as the welfare of Jewish communities throughout the world.

  • Helping to oppose the international political, economic, and military forces of destruction aligned against the people of the State of Israel and other Jewish communities.

3. Education

We are committed to educating ourselves toward becoming a community in the service of G–d. We endeavor to increase our knowledge in order to become more observant Jews, and promote the principle of "learning by living it" in our ritual practices. We believe in the value of life-long Jewish study, and consider the study of "Talmud Torah," including all classical Jewish texts, to be a core value. Furthermore, Congregation Kol Tefillah endeavors to offer a comprehensive family oriented religious school for the children of our members, in order to educate them in the fundamentals of traditional Jewish belief and practice, and enable them to become full participants in family and community observances. Children who are enrolled in the religious school and their parents are expected to attend Shabbat morning services together.

We continually provide opportunities for increasing our knowledge, for example:

  • Weekly Shabbat Torah service, followed by a D'var Torah.

  • Shabbat afternoon and weekday study groups.

  • Study sessions with visiting rabbis and other scholars.

4. Member Participation

Since Congregation Kol Tefillah’s inception, we have been dependent on the participatory nature of our community in both liturgical and logistic endeavors. Our self-reliance encourages our membership to assume responsibility, get involved, become more educated, and take on new challenges in meeting the needs of our community. We depend on and encourage the continued involvement of all members of our community in every aspect of the organization. For example:

  • Organizing and leading services.

  • Participating in special projects.

  • Working on standing committees.

  • Taking on active leadership roles in those committees and on the Board of Directors, etc.

As a community, it is essential that we encourage wide and increasing participation and sharing of responsibility by all to the best of their ability. Such involvement ensures the vitality and longevity of the congregation.