Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 16 November 2013.Phone: 913-642-1880
The Kehilath Israel Synagogue is comprised of 650 families. In addition to Rabbi Mandl, Jeffrey A. Shron serves as the cantor, Allan I. Greenberg is the ritual director, and Sheldon Singer is the President. Important holidays such as Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur may draw as many as 1,500 people to the synagogue. According to Cantor Shron, ethnicity within the synagogue is not important, as everyone is considered Jewish. Therefore, no statistics on ethnic composition exist. According to Cantor Shron, the Kansas City area has only about 18,000 Jewish people; therefore, Kehilath Israel often unites with other local Jewish centers for community-wide functions and Jewish family services. The synagogue is Traditional in practice. It used to be Orthodox but changed in 1950 to its current Traditional ways. As a result of its origins, the practices at this synagogue are similar to that of the Orthodox branch, with the exception that men and women sit together. The members speak Hebrew, Yiddish, Russian, French, Persian, Spanish, and English. There are more members over the age of 60 than under 60; Kehilath Israel has many members who are Holocaust survivors.
Activities and Schedule
The Rabbi and Cantor are the spiritual leaders. They lead services, bar mitzvahs, funerals, and weddings. They are also available for hospital calls and home visits, particularly to visit mourners, and they serve as chaplains for the Overland Park, Kansas, Police Department. The synagogue offers a religious school for its youth, where students learn and live out Jewish customs and traditions. The young people absorb these traditions to strengthen their family and faith community. The synagogue also provides classes where adults may learn about Jewish tradition. There are many opportunities for worship: weekly services on Friday night and Saturday morning and daily services in the morning and evening. For other activities, please consult the web page, www.kisyn.org
The Tranin and Brown families founded Kehilath Israel in 1912. It was located at 9th and Olive Streets. Then, in 1948, four other synagogues combined with Kehilath Israel to form the synagogue as it exists today. According to Cantor Shron, the reason for consolidating was because the Jewish community was becoming spread out across Kansas City. Combining the synagogues into one gave members a sense of unity. The synagogue’s first rabbi and cantor were the Solomon brothers, who served for 40 years. The synagogue moved five times before settling at its current location in Overland Park. According to Cantor Shron, Kehilath Israel has not experienced any severe challenges.
The recently-built facilities include a sanctuary, a chapel, various classrooms, a gym, and the religious school. Kehilath Israel's mikvah, or ritual bath, is the only one in the area and is open to anyone in the community who requires its use. The sanctuary is a large room, with a podium in the center surrounded by theater-style seating. This layout creates an intimate atmosphere for worshipers, and the sanctuary's back walls can open up to accommodate more people. The doors of the ark of the original synagogue hang in the entryway. The synagogue’s library is open to everyone, including non-members by appointment, and contains over 3000 volumes of literature. An outdoor chapel is used for special services.