Kol Ami and Neshamah to Combine Congregations

There is exciting news to share about the discussions that have occurred between leadership teams from Thornhill based, Reform congregations Kol Ami and Neshamah Congregation.

Neshamah’s board of directors have decided that combining with another congregation was the best strategy for their membership. As such, leadership teams from Kol Ami and Neshamah held a series of informal discussions in early March aimed at discovering if there was enough common ground for the two congregations to work together.

Therefore we are pleased to announce that Kol Ami has delivered to Neshamah a Letter of Intent to join the two congregations into a single congregation governed by the Kol Ami constitution.

Kol Ami Rabbi Micah Streiffer commented: “This is a very exciting development for our congregations and for Jewish life in York Region! There is so much that we have in common.  I’m looking forward to welcoming our new members, and forging a single, stronger community.

Streiffer has served Kol Ami for almost seven years as its rabbi, bringing a warm and welcoming demeanour and an emphasis on musicality, family, and inclusiveness.

Neshamah was started by Rabbi Erin Polansky seven years ago and billed itself as “a new model for Jewish community,” while Kol Ami was established in 1988. The combination makes sense on a number of fronts. Firstly, both are Thornhill-based Reform congregations who share the common values of strong community, accessible education and ritual, and a progressive, inclusive approach to Jewish life. Secondly, combining the two congregations, each of which consists of approximately 160 families, would create a longer term sustainable synagogue and school. And finally, a combination could offer considerable synergies, from the elimination of duplicated functions to the larger pool of people available to plan and participate in events.

Under the terms of the Letter of Intent provided to their leadership, Neshamah’s congregation would become members of Kol Ami, effective July 1, 2018. Rabbi Micah Streiffer would serve as Rabbi of the congregation, and Kol Ami would remain at 36 Atkinson Avenue in Thornhill. High Holy Day services would be at 36 Atkinson.

Any agreement is subject to approval by the members of both congregations, and a lot of work remains over the next few months to ensure its successful completion.

For media enquiries contact:
Rabbi Micah Streiffer
(905) 709-2620 ext 1