History

Congregation Kol Shofar (CKS) began in early 1962 when a group of four or five Conservative Jews met to discuss the possibility of establishing a synagogue. Here is the progression of events outlining the congregation’s leadership and search for a permanent home.

  • Congregation Kol Shofar Cantor held its first Shabbat service in May 1962 at the Jewish Community Center, San Rafael.
  • In 1963, the first rabbi, David Coren, was hired and remained for one year followed by  Rabbi Morris Schussheim who remained until 1966 and then an interim spiritual leader was hired—Dr. Jacob Milgrom.
  • Rabbi Emeritus David White became the Rabbi for Kol Shofar in 1977. His vision was to make Kol Shofar more about the congregants than the Rabbi.
  • In 1966, the Jewish Community Center, San Rafael, sold its land to the San Rafael Military Academy and Kol Shofar’s president, Albert J. Schilling, was faced with finding a new home for the community which had grown to 50 families. For a period of time Kol Shofar services were held at the Aldersgate Methodist Church in Terra Linda.
  • With the completion of the new Marin Jewish Community Center at Santa Venetia, Kol Shofar again made arrangements to become its tenants.
  • In 1967, a piece of land was purchased in Marinwood. The congregation hoped that it would one day build a facility at this location but, it was later determined that this location could not accommodate CKS’s needs.
  • From 1975, for two years, Aryeh Wineman was the rabbi and Kol Shofar’s congregants met at the Jewish Community Center, San Rafael.
  • In 1980 the synagogue moved once again to the Larkspur-Corte Madera school where CKS rented the lower level of the school and portable classrooms.
  • The Marinwood property was sold and with the proceeds from the sale CKS finally was in a better position to purchase its own facility.
  • In 1982, CKS was able to obtain the “green light” to purchase a former middle school in Tiburon as well as some acres surrounding the building. Since CKS was not purchasing all the surrounding acres, a buyer was need first to purchase the entire parcel and a Master Plan then submitted for its use to the Town of Tiburon.
  • A development firm in San Francisco made an offer for the entire piece, agreeing to sell CKS the building and 7 acres for $700,018. CKS negotiated a lease/option to purchase so that CKS could take occupancy before a Master Plan was approved.
  • CKS moved into its new home in June 1984. CKS was finally home!
  • Rabbi Lavey Yitzchak Derby was hired as Senior Rabbi in 1990 and served in this position until 2010. He was instrumental in building a community built on the principles of Torah study, spiritual quest and practice, and social justice.
  • In 2006, Kol Shofar submitted plans to expand its synagogue space with a large renovation project, but the Tiburon Neighborhood Coalition opposed the construction. Both Tiburon and Kol Shofar were sued by the Coalition in March 2007, alleging environmental and land-use violations.
  • In 2008, a Marin Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the expansion, and the Coalition filed an appeal with the 1st District Court of Appeal. The appeal was ultimately dropped later that same year, and Kol Shofar was able to proceed.
  • Construction on the new space began in April 2009. The congregation built strong coalitions with a church and held services in neighboring Westminster Presbyterian Church from 2009 until 2010. On August 27, 2010, the congregation held its first Shabbat services in its renovated sanctuary.
  • The project cost 17.5 million dollars, adding a brand new 8,300-square-foot social hall and additional parking, as well as a renovated sanctuary space. Herman Coliver Locus Architecture of San Francisco designed the project.
  • In 2010 The Congregation began a Strategic Planning process, a search for a new Senior Rabbi, and new Executive Director. During the transition, Rabbi Chai Levy, who had been hired in 2002, stepped up to assume the responsibilities of interim senior rabbi.
  • Nancy Drapin was hired as Executive Director in 2010.
  • Susan Leider was hired as Senior Rabbi in 2012. Rabbi Leider combines her love of Judaism and music and brings a participatory, multigenerational approach to the services and education.
  • Nancy Drapin left Kol Shofar in 2015, and Kaia Burkett assumed responsibilities as Interim Executive Director.
  • In 2016, Kaia Burkett accepted the role as official Executive Director.