Kol Ami means Voice of the People. Our group is also a circle of friends. Our vision is to establish a strong reform Jewish Community in the University City Area of Charlotte. We look forward to meeting other "friends" who will join us for this journey.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Moving ahead for 2007-8

Part of Kol Ami was to be started as a Chavurah and to make sure we can have regular services up this way. Some new groups have started up at the Lake. However, there still is a great need around the UNCC/University area for Jewish activities for services, social, and education.

With the growth at the University itself including future infrastructure such as Light Rail, more graduate schools, a major biotechnology center in Kannapolis and the 485 Beltway connecting from Western Mecklenburg it seems that this area would be prime for a 5 year plan to have our own facilities.

I believe the the Lake Norman/Mooresville/Statesville area will also need one as well. So I am proposing that we focus on holding quarterly family services and plan out events around Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Hanukah, Purim and Passover.

This past passover season I worked at my Gleiberman's Kosher Mart and one of the unforeseen benefits was that I would see and speak to the rabbis from all three (Beth El, Temple Israel, and Or Hatorah). The orthodox rabbis come into the store a few times a day to make sure it is "Glatt Kosher", and had spoken to them about the need up here for more Jewish activities in the University area as well.

Just as the Lake developed, we need to focus on being inclusive

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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Minutes from June Executive Meeting

We had a very productive morning meeting and discussed some of the goals for Kol Ami and laid out some of the dates for the year, plus added a few more people to our leadership team, Bill and Judy Hooker, and Karen Drexler).

1. Summer Social Activity - We agreed on going to a Kannapolis Intimidator Baseball game. We will need to gather some information about getting group tickets. We will need a chair person for this event.

2. Summer Shabbat - Rabbi Sperling will be able to visit our group on (Aug 18, 25 or Sept 8th). . We need to poll our members commit to a date to maximize attendance.

3. High Holidays - Yom Kippur Break Fast. Monday, October 2nd.

4. Sukkot - Sukkot runs from Saturday, Oct 7 thru 13th. Tentatively, we would plan to do an event on the 7th, 8th or 9th, depending on which works best for our members.

5. Chanukah - Hanukah is from December 16th - 23rd. We are looking at December 17th as the date to have an event up this way.

6. We also discussed having quarterly Friday Night services. We would need to set the date for these.

We are also open to ideas for a social event for the fall.

Andy Kaplan
Chair, Kol Ami

Monday, May 01, 2006

Community Shabbat - Friday May 19th, 2006

Kol Ami is hosting Rabbi Scott Sperling, mid-Atlantic Director of the Union for Reform Judaism on Friday night, May 19th in the University Area. Rabbi Sperling will lead us in a Friday Night Service.

The service is tentatively scheduled from 6:45 - 8:15 in the University Area. We are looking at several venues at this time. We would like to have a large turnout for this event, so that we can share in fellowship.

For more details, please e-mail Andy Kaplan at arksales@aol.com.

Be sure to sign up for our e-mail list (Yahoo Group).

We have been fortunate to have publicity for Kol Ami in the May edition of the Charlotte Jewish News and Temple Beth El's bulletin.

Monday, April 03, 2006

It's Official - Kol Ami is a Chavurah of Temple Beth El

On April 1st, Kol Ami launched as an official Chavurah of Temple Beth El, Charlotte, NC. It's official name will be Chavurah Kol Ami - University City to reflect the need to organize the reform Jewish families and unaffiliated families in the North Charlotte region.

University City has over 100,000 people who live and work here and each year more Jewish families have chosen to relocate here. We have identified over 60 Beth El member families in this area. We also have built a relationship with the UNCC Hillel which was recently voted one of the top Hillels in the state.

Kol Ami met with Temple Executives over the the past few months and identified some of the challenges facing the families. Some of the issues discussed included difficulty attending weekday Hebrew School and Friday Night services due to transportation/car pool. We also felt strongly that many of the families in this area do not have an opportunity to meet socially or to celebrate Jewish Holidays.
Based upon the committment of our membership, we will try to address these.

I want to thank Rabbi Judy, Fred Dumas (President), Jonathan Howard (1st VP), Sara Schreibman (Temple Administrator) and Rabbi Scott Sperling of the URJ for participating in this process and listening to our needs and concerns.

This is just the beginning of a journey that will enrich us all.

Note: To Join Kol Ami's mailing list, please see the link to the right of this page.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Community Shabbat at Temple Beth El (3rd Saturdays)

We have a great way to get together as a group on Shabbat. Temple Beth El has dedicated the 3rd Saturday of the month as the Community Shabbat including education sessions. The education sessions begin at 9 am followed by a bagel breakfast at 10:15 and then services at 11 am to 12:30 pm.

The purpose of these Shabbat services are to draw the temple community closer together. It is a great way for us to share time with your family and the others from North Charlotte.

Andy Kaplan
Chair, Kol Ami

Monday, October 17, 2005

Sukkot was a Sukkcess!

Our kickoff event for Kol Ami was a smashing success. We had over 40 people attend from kids to grandparents to college students from UNCC Hillel.

Under the full moon of Erev Sukkot, our community came together to build our Sukkah outside of the Cone Center on the UNCC Campus. The Sukkah building was a team effort.
We used bales of Hay for the walls of the Sukkah and decorated the sukkah with gourds, fruits, vegetables and pumpkins.

Jordan Poler, our event co-chair, built a 5 ft Jewish Star out of 2 x 4's. Each person was asked to write out their wish for the Jewish New Year on a small piece of wood and that was nailed to the Jewish Star which was hung from the front of the Sukkah.

The Sukkah Service was run by Sarah (past President of UNCC Hillel, Brian, current President of Hillel) and me. Sarah gave us an overview of the holiday of Sukkot and led us in the candle blessing. I was the lulav waver and expert and explained the meaning of the lulav. Brian led us in the blessings over the sukkah and the wine and challah.

Celeste Barone and other parents helped the children make Lulavs out of newspapers. Each child also painted their own small pumpkin which they could bring into the Sukkah.

All the families did a great job in preparing our feast of chicken, fresh vegetables
drinks and dessert.

Many of us made new friends tonight from across North Charlotte. The children had a fun time with plenty of room outdoors to run around after the dinner.

The Hillel Students did a wonderful job of helping to prepare the Sukkah and being part of our dinner.

Michelle Wayman of the Charlotte Observer was there to report on our event, we look forward to seeing photographs of our event in the University Section of the Charlotte Observer on Thursday.

We would love to have your comments about this event on the "blog", so please add them to this article or forward them to me at arksales@aol.com.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Our First Event - Sukkot with the UNCC Hillel

On Monday, October 17th, Kol Ami will be building a Sukkah with the UNCC Hillel on UNCC Campus. The event will take place in an area of wooden picnic tables which is in the rear of the Cone Center (click here for map - Cone University Center is Building #5 )

The event will be catered partially by the UNCC Hillel and we will request a $10.00 donation to help defray the cost of the materials for building the Sukkah. Each family will also be asked to provide a main course or other part of the meal.

If you are interesting in attending, please RSVP to Andy Kaplan (arksales@aol.com) no later than October 14th.

Wishing you a happy and healthy new year!

Andy Kaplan
Chair, Kol Ami

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Help Wanted - Volunteers to establish Jewish Education Programs in University City

One of the primary goals of Kol Ami is to establish a Hebrew and Religious education programs in the University City for people of all ages (3 through adult). As part of the effort we are looking for a group of people to be part of our planning committee. We also want to identify potential teachers and volunteers for the school who could become involved with the curriculum development.

Establishing a quality program will take a great deal of effort and resources. It will be exciting because the University Area is a ground floor opportunity to create a vision amd on-going program for Jewish religious activities. We have already been in contact with organizations in the University Area such as the University YMCA and UNCC Hillel and UNCC Jewish professors to let them know of our plans.

In this early stage vision, we believe we would need a teacher and volunteer assistant in each class that would work with each grade level. We are more interested in people that are innovative teachers and can make learning fun and keep the students motivated. The hebrew/religious curriculum can be learned and we are interested in a two year mininum committment. We plan to provide mentors and training to new teachers.

We also want to identify individuals that are willing to learn about a particular holiday and develop an innovative and fun program for families and the University City community. Other areas of interest will be programs around the challenges of interfaith families, outreach to public schools (educating teachers, administrators and students about Jewish holidays and themes) and community events with other religious institutions in University City.

Some of these ideas we may be able to do immediately, some may take three to five years to develop. It will be an exciting, emotional, and rewarding experience for those volunteers to see their visions and ideas come to fruition.

If you are interested, contact Andy Kaplan, arksales@aol.com

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Today was an exciting day as the planning committee for North Charlotte (University City/Huntersville) met with Rabbi Scott Sperling of the Union of Reform Judaism

Rabbi Sperling provided our group with the background of the reform movement and examples of how small synagogues have sprung up throughout the country.

Our goal for now is simple. Provide education, social and spiritual activities to bring the reform and unafilliated community together in the University City area.

We will be forming the following committees to help us in this endeavor.
Steering Committee (Chair, Education Chair, Membership Chair, Public Relations, Treasurer, Secretary).

We will have the following the following four sub-committees for executing the plans.
Education (Hebrew School, Adult Education, Community Outreach)
Social (Holiday events, Youth programs, and other social events)
Financial (Long term planning and Fundraising)
Communications (Newsletter, Public Relations)

We expect to fill these roles as we develop and find individuals.

Shortly we will be setting up a listserv and creating a calendar of events.