Kol Emeth has been a central part of my life and the life of my family for 40 years!! My wife Lorri and I arrived as a young couple in 1973. I retired to become rabbi emeritus in 2007, and it is from this perspective that I look back at this period to assess what this special community has been and what it might still become.
Our congregation is exceptional. Here wonderful people have gathered from around the world, contributing their experiences, their ideas, their skills, and even their melodies. We have all worked hard to shape a congregation that is traditional yet open to change, participatory, deeply caring about each other, Klal Yisrael, and the world, connected at the hip to the State of Israel, open to embrace new people, desirous of personal and communal growth, and eager to learn.
Lorri and I brought up our four children here. We have found wonderful friends here. We have found in Kol Emeth the kind of place where we would choose to pray, to learn, to act, and to find our community. And we hope to remain active and to contribute to the congregation for many years to come.
Rabbi Graff and I worked closely together for five years, and I know what a treasure she is for us. I have come very quickly to realize what a special man we have in Rabbi Booth, my successor. I feel very confident that our rabbis, working closely with very devoted lay leadership, will provide vision and exceptional leadership in the time to come.
I hope that you will find the same blessings at Kol Emeth that my family has found over these many years.
About Rabbi Lewis
Born in Chicago, Rabbi Shelly Lewis was educated at the University of Chicago and the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, where he was ordained as a rabbi. He was a student of Professor Abraham Joshua Heschel and was active in civil and human rights causes, especially the movement to free Soviet Jewry.
Rabbi Lewis served as an Army chaplain in Vietnam. For 33 years, he was the rabbi of Kol Emeth but retired in 2007 and is now rabbi emeritus. He lived in Jerusalem for almost three years and is a frequent traveler to Israel. Rabbi Lewis has an abiding interest in reconciliation efforts in the Middle East as a supporter of the Open House in Ramle, the Al Amal School near Bethlehem, and Rabbis for Human Rights. He is a past president of the Northern California Board of Rabbis. In 2012 he published a book on peaceful conflict resolution within Jewish sources entitled The Torah of Reconciliation. Learn more about The Torah of Reconciliation.
Rabbi Lewis writes stories for children in his spare time and is especially interested in studying Hassidut and Kabbalah, the Jewish mystical tradition.
Rabbi Lewis is married to Lorri, and they have been blessed with four sons, three daughters-in-law and one waiting in the wings, and six grandchildren.
Contact Rabbi Lewis
You can reach Rabbi Lewis directly by composing the private email address: rabbilewis
followed by the at sign, followed by kolemeth.org.