What sort of programs does Kol Shalom offer?
We have a Children's Education program for pre-kindergarten through Bar/Bat Mitzvah and are working toward starting up a teen group. The Mitzvah preparation requires two years of study of Jewish history, customs, ethics, culture and a little Yiddish, at least 36 hours of community service, and individual research on a Jewish "hero" or a Jewish topic, culminating in a ceremony in which the B'nai Mitzvah lead the ceremony and give a talk describing their service and their research, and what becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah means to them. Classes for younger children deal with Jewish customs and holidays, through stories, music, drama and art.
Our Sunday Forums include a variety of subjects such as Judaic studies, current events and arts and humanities. We observe the major Jewish holidays: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot (lulav, etrog, songs and food in a sukkah), Hanukkah (a party with candle lighting, singing and latkes), Purim (with a cool Megillah reading, costumes optional), and Passover, with a wonderful community Seder.
We try to celebrate Shabbat once a month. We have Havdalah potlucks several times a year, held in several members' houses all on the same evening, which results in small groups where it's easy to get acquainted and visit.
We have several interest groups, such as a book discussion group, a Yiddish study group, an adult education class , and a musical group that performs and leads us in singing at our events. There are also social occasions such as member-run dinners or desserts, picnics, and group outings. We have life-cycle ceremonies; "Mishpocha" Committee is our link to those who are in need of help or extra attention: illness, death, new baby or simcha.