It has been a long time since I came to Kol Emeth in 2001, but I still remember vividly what drew me to this congregation. Very simply, it was the people – kind, caring, genuine, diverse, interesting, down-to-earth people. People of all ages and stages of life, wanting to grow in their Judaism, and wanting to be a part of a vibrant Jewish community.
More than a decade later, I can testify that Kol Emeth is indeed a thriving and vibrant Jewish community. I can honestly say that Kol Emeth is a congregation I would choose to be a part of, even if I were not one of its rabbis. I feel privileged to be a rabbi at Kol Emeth, and to get to share in this holy venture with Rabbi Booth, Rabbi Matzkin, and Rabbi Lewis, our Rabbi Emeritus. Together we aspire to make Kol Emeth an even more welcoming, engaging, and nourishing spiritual home.
One of my particular areas of interest is prayer – making traditional services more accessible, helping people find more personal meaning in Jewish prayer, and creating opportunities for Jews to talk more openly with each other about their relationships and struggles with God. I frequently share my own questions about God in my sermons and classes, and I have found the Kol Emeth community to be similarly interested in talking about these fundamental questions. I also lead our Shabbat morning Junior Congregation on a regular basis, and I cherish the opportunity to talk with our kids about their questions as well.
One of the most important experiences in my Jewish life was attending Camp Ramah. I was a camper and counselor at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin, and then later I helped found Camp Ramah Darom in Georgia. For me, Ramah was a place where it was fun to be Jewish, where Hebrew was spoken on the baseball field, where it was cool to read Torah and learn other new Jewish skills, and where I made some of my closest friends for life. I continue to draw upon my experiences at camp as we strive to make our Religious School, Kol Shabbat program, and family programs similarly fun and life-shaping.
I coordinate our Bar/Bat Mitzvah program and I particularly enjoy co-teaching a pre-Bnai Mitzvah family class with Rabbi Booth for 6th graders and their parents. I also get to work individually with our Bar/Bat Mitzvah students and their families, helping them prepare for this big milestone.
A fixture in my schedule is our Women’s Study Group, which has been going strong for many years. Every other Thursday, 15-20 women gather to study Torah, gain new insight into a Jewish holiday or ritual, and learn from one another’s wisdom. Newcomers are always welcome.
I also cherish getting to lead our Kol Emeth Women’s Retreat every summer. Each July more than 40 women from Kol Emeth head to the Redwoods for a weekend of learning, laughing, praying, and playing. It’s a wonderful chance to connect with other women of all different ages as well as to explore new facets of our Jewish lives.
Kol Emeth has been a place of wonderful growth for me – both professionally and personally. I have been privileged to celebrate both my wedding and the births of my 3 daughters within this supportive community. It is a congregation whose members know how to take care of one another in times of need and how to rejoice with one another in times of happiness. It is a community with so much to give, and it is also a community where everyone is needed.
If you would like to learn more about Kol Emeth, please call, email, or just come to one of our programs or services, and be sure to introduce yourself!
About Rabbi Graff
Rabbi Sarah Graff grew up in Olympia Fields, IL, a small Jewish community outside of Chicago. She studied psychology and Jewish studies at Washington University in St. Louis, and then earned her Rabbinic ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. She has served as one of our Rabbis since 2001.
Rabbi Graff and her husband, Dr. Scott Roy, have 3 girls – Eliana, Chava and Orli.
Contact Rabbi Graff
You can reach Rabbi Graff directly by calling (650) 948-7498 and dialing or asking for extension 115,
or by composing the private email address: rabbigraff
followed by the at sign, followed by kolemeth.org