Congregation Kol Shofar

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Congregation Kol Shofar
Kol Shofar's new sanctuary space
Basic information
Location 215 Blackfield Drive
Tiburon, California.
 United States
Geographic coordinates 37°54′16″N 122°30′07″W / 37.90435°N 122.501893°W / 37.90435; -122.501893Coordinates: 37°54′16″N 122°30′07″W / 37.90435°N 122.501893°W / 37.90435; -122.501893
Affiliation Conservative Judaism
Status Active
Leadership Rabbi Susan Leider, Rabbi Chai Levy

Congregation Kol Shofar is a Conservative synagogue founded in 1962 and located in Tiburon, California. The congregation is led by Rabbi Susan Leider who was ordained in 2006 by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and Rabbi Chai Levy who was ordained in 2002 by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York City.[1]


In the 1960s and 1970s, Kol Shofar was a nomadic congregation, meeting in various locations around Marin County. In 1984 it acquired its current location at 215 Blackfield Drive in Tiburon, California.[2] The Blackfield location was previously home to Reedland Woods Middle School from 1970 to 1976.[3]



The front of the Kol Shofar synagogue.

In 2006, Kol Shofar submitted plans to expand its synagogue space. The Tiburon Neighborhood Coalition opposed the construction, citing the traffic and noise impact due to the size of a new multi-purpose room and a proposed 27 additional events with up to 250 persons. That summer, the Tiburon Planning Commission rejected the expansion plans, claiming that Kol Shofar refused to engage in compromise discussions. As a result of the Planning Commission's rejection, the issue was brought to the attention of the town council who later that year approved a reduced synagogue expansion plan with restrictions on hours, parking, and number of events, as well as reducing the size of the social hall by 15 percent.[4] Kol Shofar argued that Tiburon's restrictions would violate the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), which prohibits "substantial burdens" on the exercise of religion by government regulations. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty threatened litigation on behalf of Kol Shofar depending on the outcome.[5] Both Tiburon and Kol Shofar were sued by the Coalition in March 2007, alleging environmental and land-use violations.[6]

In 2008, a Marin Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the expansion, and the Coalition filed an appeal with the 1st District Court of Appeal.[4] The appeal was ultimately dropped later that same year, and Kol Shofar was able to proceed, agreeing not to seek repayment of court costs.[7]


Construction on the new space began in April 2009.[8] The congregation held services in neighboring Westminster Presbyterian Church from February 8, 2009 until August 27, 2010.[9] On August 27, 2010, the congregation held its first Shabbat services in its renovated sanctuary. The next day Kol Shofar held a reopening celebration. Members of the larger bay area Jewish community were in attendance. The project costed 17.5 million dollars, adding a brand new 8,300-square-foot (770 m2) social hall, additional parking, and four class rooms, as well as a renovated sanctuary space.[4] Herman Coliver Locus Architecture of San Francisco designed the project.[4]

Kol Shofar's sanctuary facing the ark and ner tamid.


  • Rabbi Chai Levy (2002 – )
  • Rabbi Susan Leider (2012 – )

Past clergy[edit]

  • Rabbi Lavey Darby (1991 – 2010)
  • Rabbi David White (1977 – 1991)
  • Rabbi Daniel B. Kohn


  1. ^ Kol Shofar – Meet Our Staff
  2. ^ Palevsky, Stacey, With shofars blasting, Kol Shofar moves into temporary home, J Weekly, February 12, 2009
  3. ^ Fanning, Branwell, The Tiburon Peninsula, Arcadia Publishing, 2006, page 118
  4. ^ a b c d Jason, Will, Tiburon synagogue, neighbors look to futureMarin Independent Journal, August 28, 2010
  5. ^ Fimrite, Peter (2006-10-25). "TIBURON / Opposing sides square off at hearing over synagogue / Expansion proposal pits religion against neighborhood issues". The San Francisco Chronicle. 
  6. ^ Fimrite, Peter (2007-03-28). "TIBURON / Neighbors sue city for approving synagogue's planned expansion". The San Francisco Chronicle. 
  7. ^ Staats, Jim, Tiburon synagogue neighbors drop appeal, Marin Independent Journal, October 11, 2008
  8. ^ Pazornik, Amanda Rejuvenated Kol Shofar has Everyone Happily Back under One Roof, J Weekly, August 19, 2010
  9. ^ Weekend events celebrate reopening, J Weekly, August 19, 2010

External links[edit]