Today is March 17, 2018 /

Main Office: 215-635-3110

Find Us: 8201 High School Road, Elkins Park, PA 19027




Kol Ami קול עמי – The Voice of Our People, is reflected in how we approach Inclusion.

How can we make sure that all people who desire may join us in the spirit of full community recognizing that we are all made in God’s image?

The mission of the Inclusion Committee is to evaluate, develop and recommend to the Board of Trustees policies and procedures concerning the inclusion and participation of all people in all areas of Congregation Kol Ami’s religious and communal life.  Because of the importance of this work, we had adopted a special needs policy to elevate and cement the place of inclusion at our synagogue.

We have focused our inclusion efforts in the broadest sense of the word with two different Board recognized committees: (1) LGBTQ, which fosters Kol Ami as a safe space in our synagogue for all LGBTQ Jews and to provide education for those looking to learn, grow and provide support to this community; and (2) Special Needs,  which seeks out ways to enhance the Kol Ami experience regardless of physical, cognitive, emotional or behavioral ability.

Award Winning

For our Audacious Hospitality and our LGBTQ efforts demonstrating a high level of inclusion, impact, innovation and replicability, Kol Ami received the Belin Award Selection Committee chose our synagogue as one of the 2017 award winners.

Our ongoing efforts to welcome, accommodate and include those with special needs, was also recognized as one of a select few Exemplar Congregations, during the 2007 URJ biennial conference.

Inclusion – LGBTQ

Integrating LGBTQ inclusion into our synagogue’s fabric is of utmost importance, as is our desire to ensure dignified documentation, signage and wording on our forms and flyers to be inclusive of all individuals.  Our leadership and educators are aware of inclusive practices to use, as well as the intent to create educational opportunities to further their progression in the area.

  • On October 10, 2014 at our erev Shabbat service we celebrated National Coming Out Day, the anniversary of the October 11, 1987 march on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. We welcomed member Jane Tausig to the bimahto speak about this anniversary and its meaning for our congregation and the Jewish community.
  • On December 7, 2014, we hosted a community-wide conference, Kindness Counts: Welcoming LGBTQ Jews and Their Loved Ones into the Mishkan, with keynote speaker Joanna Ware, associate director of national programs at Keshet; a leading organization dedicated to working for the full equality and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Jews in all aspects of Jewish life.
  • On November 13, 2016, we co-hosted with J.Proud, Kindness Counts Bet, Moving Beyond the Gender Boxes, Embracing Transgender and Non-Binary Jews, Their Loved Ones and Allies in the Miskan.This was our second conference on inclusion with informative workshops and an afternoon of learning and dialogue.
  • We are one of the founding members of the Philly Cohort for LGBTQ Inclusion in Jewish spaces in connection with Keshet dedicated to the future of inclusion.
  • Our community-based conferences both have been recognized by URJ, as models for other Congregations.

Inclusion – Special Needs

The approach of the Special Needs committee is defined by three pillars.

  • We listen.  We have conducted two Congregation wide surveys to listen to our congregation and assess any barrier to participation.   Our religious school director separately works with our teachers, students and parents to understand any special needs.
  • We evaluate.  From our interactions, we look for creative solutions to issues in a confidential and respectful way.
  • We act.  We have taken steps with our Operations and Worship Enhancement Committee to make changes — big and small to improve our worship experience by aiding physical access, improving lighting and sound, and creating a worship environment not dependent on ascending or descending steps.