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About Us

Brief History

In 2007, a group of 20 families organized to form a new synagogue community with rabbinical student Geoff Basik, who was then completing his training at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia. Once Rabbi Basik was ordained, the new community was incorporated as Kol HaLev- Voice of the Heart.  Rabbi Basik and Cantor George Henschel led the first KHL High Holy Days services that fall in Mt. Washington.

In 2009, Kol HaLev moved to its present home at Brown Memorial Woodbrook Presbyterian Church on Charles Street, and in 2010 officially affiliated with the Reconstructionist movement.  KHL space at Brown Memorial is attractive and cozy. We worship together in-the-round in a lovely chapel, have 3 classrooms, a multi-function room, and a Rabbi’s office.  In addition, we have access to a large function hall/auditorium for High Holy Days and other festivals where we gather as a large group.  From time to time within our shared home, Kol HaLev holds joint interfaith activities with members of Brown Memorial, including an annual interfaith Thanksgiving service.

Demographics

Embarking on its 10th year, KHL has grown to nearly 100 member households, generally distributed geographically along the north-south central corridor of Baltimore from Federal Hill through Mt. Washington and Rogers Forge to Towson and Timonium.  We are a diverse, welcoming group of Jewish families and singles that includes interfaith, interracial, and same sex families.

Our Sunday school, Beit Lev, now serves more than 45 children, most of whom go on to our B’nai Mitzvah class.  Last year we had 15 b’nai mitzvah and created a post-b’nai-mitzvah teen group.  About 40 older couples and single members have formed a chavurah, holding a pot-luck dinner in a family home once a month.  Our High Holiday services are free to the community, and we overflow every year, with more than 200 members and guests.

Services and programs

Kol HaLev holds a weekly Kabbalat Shabbat minyan on Friday evenings and a Saturday morning service, including a monthly “mindfulness” Shabbat minyan. We have a regular Saturday morning Torah study where all voices are welcome.

Our annual calendar includes celebrations of the Jewish festivals, involving the Beit Lev school children and their families.  In April, 2016, Kol HaLev women hosted its 5th annual Woman’s Seder for all women of the Baltimore community.  As KHL has grown, Cantor George and several musicians in the congregation continue to bring new music for voice, guitar, drums and more.  In late summer, we had the Israeli group Nava Tehila come and share their music. Chanukah 2016 includes a concert with Susan Gaeta, renowned Ladino performer and storyteller.

The community has active Jewish educational programs, including a monthly “lunch & learn” book club, lectures, movies, family home gatherings and much more.  This year we started monthly hikes and a monthly woman’s Rosh Chodesh gathering.   Many individual KHL families are involved in community social justice programs, and we have one community-wide tikkun olam activity- promoting a warrant forgiveness initiative on Maryland.  We are an evolving community—come join us!  

Thu, October 19 2017 29 Tishrei 5778