Congregation Kol Ami, originally called the Jewish Community Center, was founded in 1923 with approximately 50 families holding religious services and Sunday school in a variety of locations. They chose the name Jewish Community Center because they felt it bound them to the community they served. In just 3 years they managed to build a Synagogue and religious school on Sterling Avenue in White Plains where they continued to thrive for the next 20 years.

We moved to our current location on Soundview Avenue in 1946 where we have grown to approximately 900 families. Over the years as our congregation has grown, so have we. In 2007 we renovated our social hall, auditorium and lobby and in 2012 we renovated our sanctuary. Our beautiful new sanctuary creates a uniquely spiritual environment for worship and provides easy access to all members.

In 1994 we faced having to change our name becasue of the confusion caused by the YWHA and YMHA organization changing their name to the Jewish Community Center. We chose Congregation Kol Ami (The Voice of My People) because it reflects every aspect of our Temple life, from worship to social action. In addition, we felt it coonotated warmth, welcome, friendship, fellowship and family.

History buffs can learn more about the founding of our synagogue by reading the comprehensive history of our first 60 years that was compiled by Bernice Brussel and Edward Lee. Their research provides fascinating insight into the evolution of our synagogue in the context of how the world was changing during those times. A very limited number of copies are available in the Main office.

Our History In Pictures (click to enlarge)

  • 1923 Outside view of building
  • 1923 Our First Sanctuary on Sterling Avenue
  • 1952 High Holiday services at the County Center
  • 1956 Kol Ami moves to Soundview Avenue and builds a new facility
  • 1957 The entrance to Kol Ami's new facility
  • 1957 Inside view of our Sanctuary that was eventually renovated in 2012
  • 1957 Outside view of Sanctuary
  • 1985 Shulman Chapel In The Woods built
  • 2008 Lobby renovated and expanded
  • 2008 Inside view of lobby
  • 2012 Our beautiful new sanctuary photographed by Mariela Melamed

A First For Everything


1923 First High Holiday service
1927 First Bar Mitzvah
1928 First class confirmed
1931 First Sukkah built
1948 First family service
1955 First Man of the Year dinner
1969 First Bat Mitzvah
1969 First kindergarten class