Some Basic Facts
- Founded in 1992, Kol-Ami is West Hollywood's ONLY reform synagogue.
- Opened in 2001, Kol-Ami is the first predominantly gay & lesbian synagogue in the United States to construct its own building.
- The 3-story, 7,000 Square-foot building has a cutting-edge design, with a warm, modern feeling and special Judaic art and symbols incorporated into the design.
- It includes a sanctuary, offices, meeting rooms, class rooms, library, meditation garden and a roof-top garden deck. Plus a full service, resturant quality kitchen.
The Architect is Josh Schweitzer, whose other projects included: Border Grill and Ciudad restaurants
Special Building Features
Each of the seven windows on the West wall of the sanctuary signifies a stage of creation:
- Yellow = Light
- Blue = Heavens
- White parchment inlaid with leaves = Earth & Sea
- Purple = Space, Sun & Moon
- Green = Birds & Beasts
- Orange = Humanity & Animals
- White = Shabbat, the seventh day, God rested from the work of creation
Hebrew art and text are incorporated through out the building. The murals and biblical text in Hebrew circling the walls near the ceiling are based on the 10 aspects of God in the Jewish mystical tradition. They include: love, holiness, commandment, joy, compassion, justice, eternity, blessing, understanding and faith.
The 12 hanging chandeliers represent the 12 tribes.
The sanctuary has the Star of David rendered as the eternal light over the ark containing the torah scrolls.
The doors of the Ark are designed by Laurie Gross. Simple, glass double-doors framed in wood. Adorned with etchings that depict the ways in which water symbolizes the source of life and cleansing in the Jewish tradition.
The Yahrzeit boards are simple wooden shelves with black plaques. There is a small basket of polished stones that friends and family can set in their loved one's space as a gesture of remembrance.
The Mezzuzot are designed by Ruth Shapiro. The abstract, cast-metal figures represent people dancing with their arms outreached in joy.
The cutouts adjacent to each window around the outside of the building use hebrew text to spell 'peace' and 'justice'.