What is Kohelet?
Kohelet is a traditional, egalitarian, lay-led Jewish synagogue located in Denver, Colorado. We seek to provide and maintain a warm and intellectually engaging community for Jewish prayer, observance, study, and mutual support. We are a do-it-yourself group with most everything, from services to holiday events, designed and led by members.
Who are we?
Kohelet was founded more than 40 years ago. Although we hadn’t walked through the desert, we did come from different backgrounds and different levels of Jewish knowledge. Today those backgrounds and personal data are even more diverse, representing a wide range of ages, geographical home bases, Jewish observance, family make-ups, –and senses of humor.
We welcome people of all ages and with all levels of familiarity with Jewish texts and ritual. We are always looking for new members as well as new guests.
Where do we meet?
Kohelet at first had no residence of its own and convened in its members’ homes. Our second phase was in a Kohelet-owned free-standing, small house in east Denver. Today we meet in a large Kohelet-owned building which we remodeled to fit the needs of a growing congregation. We have a warm and beautiful sanctuary with a handsome Ark and two historic Torahs; seating space for up to 100 people; and adequate prayer books and chumashim.
We also have a newly remodeled Kohelet Courtyard consisting of a playground, adequate space for outdoor events and celebrations, and a small, meditative corner.
What are our minhagim (customs)?
We are an English speaking congregation and chant most prayers in Hebrew. We consider a minyan to consist of 10 adults, i.e. post-Bar Mitzvah men and women. We use the Metsudah siddur and the Artscroll chumash.
We employ no rabbi nor cantor, and our services are led by a rotating group of volunteer members. Each week’s parsha is read by an experienced Torah reader member; each Shabbat service includes a Dvar/Torah discussion led by a volunteer member.
Our services mean to be spiritual, participatory, melodic. Leaders note the page in the siddur as we progress through the service.
Can someone teach me how to lead a service or help me brush up on my skills? or do what is necessary for a new Bar/Bat Mitzvah?
Yes, there are several Kohelet members who are ready and able to help you. In addition, almost all our Bar/Bat Mitzvah children and adults study and prepare primarily with a Kohelet member.
Does Kohelet have a leadership structure or is it pure equitable chaos?
While we do encourage individual initiative and we certainly rely on members to develop and maintain services and events, we also have a leadership structure and defined areas of extra responsibilities. We have a 10-12 person Board with terms of two years and led by two co-Presidents. We have a designated Treasurer and a Membership Coordinator. We also have several committees made up of volunteers who take care of the congregation’s events and community needs. We employ a part-time administrator who is responsible for communications and social media.
What would a Jewish group be without food? We all enjoy food and many of our get-togethers rely on potluck provisions. We have a lovely kitchen with the necessary equipment for storing, cooking, or re-heating food. We keep utensils and plates, etc. on hand.
To accommodate a wide diversity of ideas on keeping kosher, we have chosen to maintain Beit Kohelet as a vegetarian house. Meat is not allowed into the building; milk and dairy products do not need to be kosher.
How can you visit Kohelet?
We welcome you for Shabbat morning services, observing the High Holy Days and other Jewish holidays, and various events. Due to security, we do not post our house address so please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for specifics.