Kohelet ~ An InvitationTo Learn
Since 1977, Kohelet has been a place for people who are interested in participating in an active Jewish community that includes learning, celebration of holidays, and synagogue services. We combine reverence for the Jewish tradition with a contemporary openness and flexibility that allows people of all skill levels an opening into the vast, dense tapestry of Jewish practice, with study groups and the Shabbat Service as central pillars.
"Never let your prayer be the same experience twice," a famous Talmudic admonition, could be our motto, because our services are led by community members, and work towards the goal of deepening the experience through interspersed explanation and illumination of the Hebrew and the Siddur.
Our Shabbat Service begins at 9:15 and ends about 12:05. The Torah Service is about two thirds of the way through, and is followed by a discussion led by a different member each week. In that amount of time there are so many different tunes and beautiful language that it's difficult to be there from beginning to end and hear everything, but many do. Others apportion their time between socializing with community members in the Kohelet house, and experiencing parts of the service in the Sanctuary. This freedom is characteristic of Kohelet.
Visitors, "shul shoppers," travelers and neighbors of all ages are welcome. Babysitting is provided, and we have a Kid's Service starting about 10:30 upstairs.
Once a month [3rd Saturdays], we have a "Library Service," which is a shorter service with more English, transliteration, and large type Hebrew. This service has a lot of singing, a Torah service, and a member-led discussion on the week's Parsha, or Torah portion.
Although our members learn with and from many wonderful teachers in the Denver Jewish community, Kohelet is a "do-it-yourself" congregation, operating without a rabbi. Our members lead our regular and "life-cycle" services, organize holiday observances, teach and study, and take an active role in planning and running Kohelet programs. Each Shabbat morning, a member leads a discussion of the week's Torah portion. Members trade-off in leading parts of the service, and co-lead with other more experienced leaders to "learn the ropes."
Kohelet offers the unique opportunity of allowing individual members to participate in creating meaningful spiritual experiences for the community. Variety in our services is welcome. Kohelet is the place to put your learning into action. Members take part in every aspect of the service, and find support and appreciation for fledgling ability. Our weekly Carlebach-style Shabbat service is only one "flavor" we offer. Our monthly "Library Service" is a contemporary-style service, with transliterated Hebrew, english readings, gender neutral language, meditative moments, shorter duration, and an inspirational, member-created siddur.
Kohelet uses an orthodox siddur [Metsudah] in an unusual way. We emphasize articulating the words clearly to enhance understanding. We aim to pace the service in a way that accommodates a wide range of Hebrew skill-levels, keeping the energy high with lots of singing, while still providing pauses for reflection. Our unique combination of traditional and innovative feels meaningful and uplifting, and appeals to people with a wide range of Jewish backgrounds and prayer knowledge.
The Kohelet sanctuary is an absolutely beautiful space to experience Shabbat - it actually has skylights, and one can do as the sages said we should - look at the sky now and then while we pray. The warm colors and lights, and the uncluttered surfaces allow one to hear the words of prayer and Torah without distraction. The social areas of Kohelet are homey, and there are several different rooms in which to meet, socialize, and learn.
Our community is close-knit and supportive through both joyous and sorrowful life events. We have a unique approach to b'nai mitzvot. Each child chooses one or two teachers who instruct in the leading of the service and chanting of Torah and Haftarah. These teachers help the child understand the meaning of the prayers and the Bible portions of that week. They are partners the morning of the Bat or Bar Mitzvah standing on the bimah during the service with the girl or boy, adding to the feeling that this is truly a family activity.
Kohelet : speaker, preacher, one who assembles a congregation, the Book of Ecclesiastes. The Hebrew root "QHL" means "assembly, gathering, congregation, community." (Klein)
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Denver, Colorado, USA
2013 / 5773