Kehillah of Arizona
Name of organization: Kehillah of Arizona
Address: 10810 North Tatum Blvd Suite 102-308 Phoenix, AZ 85028
Program Address: 18010 North Tatum Blvd. Phoenix
Phone: (602) 369-7667
Year of incorporation: 2008
Kehillah is an inclusive synagogue community of caring individuals committed to learning, participating and engaging Jewishly.
Kehillah Core Values
Shema! – Actively listening, hearing
Tikkun Olam – Healing the World
Achrye’ut - Accepting responsibility as part of the community
Derech Eretz – Treating each other respectfully
Gemilut Chasadim – Performing acts of lovingkindness
Hishtatfut - Participating in the life and work of the community
Hitorerut Nafsheet – Cultivating Spiritual Development
Hachnassat orchim – Welcoming guests
Kavannah - Developing Consciousness and acting with intentionality
Kibud - Honoring the sacredness of relationships within the community and with God
Kibud Ha-bri’ot - Caring for all of Creation, including that which appears to be separate from us, but in reality, is not
Menschlichkeit - Living Jewishly
Rodef Tzedek – Pursuing Social Justice
Rachamim – Treating others with Compassion
Shiru Shir Chadash – ‘Singing a New Song’/Creative expression as a means of connecting
Talmud Torah - Life Long Learning
T’michat Yisrael - Supporting Israel
Zehut yehudit – Cultivating Jewish Identity
History of Kehillah
The idea of Kehillah was first explored in January 2008 when seven people met, looking for a way to create a more meaningful Jewish experience. As with many Jews, we knew in our hearts that there must be a better, more relevant way to practice Judaism. To us, Judaism is not a building or a stale routine, but very much vibrant and alive - and today’s Jewish institutions were not living up to their potential or fulfilling our needs.
Since we all have long-time relationships with Rabbi Bonnie Sharfman, it was clear from the beginning that she would be ideal as our spiritual leader and teacher. Rabbi Sharfman’s vision, experiences as a Rabbi, educator and keen observer of trends in Judaism would assure that Kehillah would be mainstream, but more in sync with Jewish needs and sensitivities in the twenty-first century.
In the earliest meetings held at Rabbi Sharfman's home, the founders discussed how and why Kehillah would be different from established temples and other congregations in the Valley. To guide our efforts, together we developed 18 Core Values to establish the ethical tone and provide structure and purpose to Kehillah's growth. On March 3, 2008, Kehillah of Arizona was incorporated.
One of the first challenges was to find a suitable meeting place for Kehillah. The founders did not want to own a building or be burdened with a building fund. What we wanted to build, instead, was a community.
After some traditional ‘wandering’, Kehillah entered into a relationship with New Vision Center in Scottsdale. New Vision is centrally located, has great parking, and offers a religiously neutral, comfortable sanctuary. When we gather with our Rabbi, our Torah, and our fellow Kehillah partners, this space becomes our own.
Today, Kehillah is a vibrant, participatory community. If you are interested or just curious, please explore our website. We hope you will become a partner in Kehillah and help us write our future history.
When Kehillah of Arizona was founded in 2008, the vision of the Rabbi and Board of Directors was to create a community for Jews that was more personal than institutional. Being a “partner” in Kehillah means that you are part of a holy community, but the concept goes beyond that. The Kehillah experience is centered on a series of relationships with our Rabbi and with the other Kehillah partners. From those relationships emerge opportunities for teaching and learning, spirituality, camaraderie and caring. The rapid evolution of programming in our first year has been remarkable. But the emergence of these programs came from partners’ initiatives, not from institutional design. It is this nurturing environment that makes Kehillah of Arizona unique in the Valley.
So whether you use the term ‘partner” or “member,” whether you “join” or “affiliate,” Kehillah is your community. We welcome your interest and hope that our community will become your spiritual home for many years to come.
General needs statement
How to donate, the Kehillah way: We encourage you to make your donations with intentionality – kavannah is one of Kehillah's 18 Core Values. Here are ideas to help you do this:
● Direct your donation to our Torah Fund that helps to maintain our rescued Holocaust Torah (see below)
● Dedicate a prayerbook - Purchase a special bookplate for our Gates of Prayer siddurim that will commemorate Kehillah's first year and honor you or whomever you choose. Each $36.00 donation will purchase one bookplate.
● For the loved ones in your thoughts, the Kehillah Memorial Board is available to you to honor loved ones who have passed away. Our beautiful, lasting remembrance is on display at every service, just inside the sanctuary doorway. Engraved brass plaques, $180 each, serve to honor your loved ones and support the growth of the Kehillah community, which in turn supports you in all your Jewish endeavors and spirituality.
● Lifecyle events - Honor a loved one or friend with a donation commemorating a birthday, wedding, anniversary, graduation, or anything for which you'd like to express appreciation.
● Support Kehillah's family-friendly religious education programs for youth and adults by helping us provide scholarships to families in need.
"The good will of good people - and people who want to be good people - can bring about grand and glorious changes in the world, and these changes can be far more dazzling and extensive than we would normally think possible... The actual doing of the mitzvah of tzedakah is the simplest-of-simple-things: we just do it, and marvelous things happen." -Danny Siegel
Kehillah of Arizona welcomes financial support in any amount. Your donations of time aka "sweat equity" and in-kind donations are also much appreciated!
About our Torah Scroll
Kehillah of Arizona was chosen to become the guardians of a Torah scroll recently rescued from the Holocaust (the rescue work is ongoing, even today!). Each time Rabbi Youlus, a father of eleven and Torah scribe who donates his time, becomes aware of the existence of a Torah scroll, his organization, SAVE A TORAH, sets out to rescue it – often from a basement somewhere in eastern Europe – and restore it when possible in order to give it new life in a community such as ours.
I’d like to share with you some of what I know about this particular Torah scroll and the community which chanted from it, studied it, cherished it, guarded it – whose babies were named with it open, their wimples (swaddling from the bris) wrapped around it as its binding, whose young people became Bar Mitzvah in front of it, whose festivals were celebrated with this Torah at its center. It has been an extremely painful experience to read about this community, the fate of the individuals who were its leaders, and the inhumanity that decimated the lives of the individuals who lived there at the very early stages of the occupation of Poland.
Siedlace was established as a town in the mid 1400’s and was the capital of a region known for its agriculture. The Jewish community of Siedlce (eastern Poland) is no more. At the eve of World War II, it is estimated that 50% of the town’s population was Jewish. At the end of November 1939, Nazi soldiers entered the synagogue and the Beit Hamidrash (House of Study) and threw out the Torah scrolls. In a frenzy of hatred they ripped them apart and trampled on them. During the night of December 24-25, 1939, the Nazis set fire to the synagogue; homeless Jewish refugees who were inside died in that fire. About 10,000 were deported to Treblinka and died there. Those who remained in Siedlce after the round-ups of its adult males began were concentrated in a small ghetto area which was destroyed on August 27, 1942. It is very possible that this Torah scroll was somehow guarded by a group of Chasidim, followers of the Tzaddik of Radzyn who, by all reports, distinguished themselves in the ghetto by helping one another and assisting their fellow Jews in the observance of the High Holy Days, and by collecting holy books. The Chasidim formed an "island amongst a sea of inhuman behavior".
Here with Kehillah, this Torah scroll, a survivor in its own right, has been given new life. The Siedlce Torah was welcomed to Kehillah of Arizona in a most moving ceremony on Erev Rosh Hashanah 5769/2008, the first public reading of this Torah scroll in sixty-nine years.
The cost of rescuing and repairing the scroll is estimated to be over $25,000. The costs of maintaining this precious legacy continue and your donations are most appreciated and welcome. Kehillah of Arizona is a duly incorporated 501c3 under IRS law….your contributions are tax deductable.PROGRAMS:
What is our vision?
Our vision is to provide a solid content education helping students and families to see the world through Jewish eyes with their minds, hearts and souls. We encourage the formation of community among students and families by offering a family-friendly, child-centered program with an innovative approach and unique scheduling, developed on principles derived from current research on how to improve religious school education.What was our inspiration?
At Kehillah we are passionate about Jewish education for Jewish children. That is why we have designed a full curriculum and program to help develop a strong Jewish identity and knowledge of self. Our teachers are all experienced Jewish educators providing positive Jewish experiences for all learners.
A really cool Religious School!
Educating the Jewish mind, heart, and soul. Jewish experiences combining the best of religious school and youth group through formal, technological, and innovative learning.
Tel (602) 369-7667
What are our key educational components?
● Brachot (Blessings)
● Basic Rituals and Customs
● Bar/Bat Mitzvah Preparation
● Cultural Arts (Music, Art, and Storytelling)
● Hebrew Language and Technology
● Torah, Texts, and Traditions
● Active involvement with Rabbi Sharfman, who is a nationally known and respected Jewish educator.
What classes do we offer?
● Aleph Class for grades K-1
● Bet Class for grades 2-3
● Gimmel Class for grades 4-5
● Dalet Class for grades 6 & up
● Madrichim (teaching assistants) for post Bar/Bat Mitzvah students - geared towards high schoolers Classes are activity-based and provide many hands-on experiences, all offered in a nurturing environment to cultivate children’s spiritual development as well as knowledge of Jewish practices, Torah, stories, and traditions.
How is our program structured?
● Small classes
● Three (3) scheduled
Sunday meetings per month
● A creative “Fourth Sunday experience” (not always on a Sunday)
● Tikkun Olam / social action programs
● Shabbat experiences
● Midweek structured online Hebrew program at home
● One additional midweek meeting for Dalet class
Name of CEO/Executive Director: Rabbi Bonnie Sharfman
Date of hire:
Rabbi Bonnie Sharfman has been long involved in the Jewish community. Her scholarly interests range from Chassidic and Jewish mystical teachings and Jewish Thought (she has edited and translated various works) to contemporary trends in modern Jewish life and implications for synagogues, schools and communal agencies. She is the founder of Pardes Jewish Day School, a K-8 school that integrates Jewish and general studies. An Avi Chai fellow in Jewish Education, she attended the Principal’s Center of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. Rabbi Sharfman served as Pardes’ Head of School for over a decade until her decision to attend rabbinical school. Ordained from the Academy for Jewish Religion-Los Angeles in 2005, Rabbi Sharfman lived in Israel for many years and holds graduate and undergraduate degrees from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and currently serves as President of the Board of Rabbis of Greater Phoenix.
Number of full time staff: None
Number of part-time staff: Two
Number of volunteers: Many and always seeking more!
Board chair: Sherry Siegel
Business or professional affiliation:
Term of office: Two years
Kehillah Board of Directors
VP for Education:
VP for Hospitality:
VP for Program:
End date for fiscal year: June 30
Projected revenue: 75.000
Projected expense: 65.000
EIN number: 26-2089075
Prior three years revenue by source:
Foundation and Corporate contributions: 0
Individual contributions (include bequests): 45,456
Special Events: 21,934
Grants from umbrella organizations (i.e. United Way, Federation): 0
Fee for Service revenue: 0
Interest and Dividend income: 0
In-kind revenue: 75.000
Prior three years expense allocations:
Program expense: 8,900
Ratio of fundraising expense to contributed income:
Prior three years assets and liabilities:
Current assets (excluding value of Endowment)
Total assets: 25,900
Current liabilities: 7,500
Total net assets (including value of Endowment): 25,900