Architect's rendering of planned new Congregation Kol Emeth building (Illustration/Field Architecture)
Architect's rendering of planned new Congregation Kol Emeth building (Illustration/Field Architecture)

Kol Emeth building new campus in Palo Alto

Congregation Kol Emeth in Palo Alto has begun construction on a new, $25 million campus. The facility will be entirely rebuilt on its current site and include a new sanctuary, social hall, expanded classrooms, administrative offices, a playground and an underground parking lot.

Scheduled to open by January 2020, the new campus will replace the congregation’s old buildings on Manuela Avenue, built 60 years ago.

The new sanctuary, designed by architect Stan Field, will seat up to 450 people and will incorporate biblical motifs. The social hall will extend the sanctuary across an open atrium, and a second sanctuary will be built, as well. The entire facility will be ADA compliant.

“Everything will be larger,” said Elaine Sigal, Kol Emeth’s executive director, who credits building committee chair Stuart Bernstein for moving the project forward. “[The project] has given us the ability to create a warm and welcoming campus with open space and multiple-use rooms.”

The old structures were demolished in March. Since then, Kol Emeth has relied on help from neighbors to carry on, holding Shabbat services at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto and other events at Terman Middle School and a nearby church. High Holy Day services will be held at Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, and the administrative office is located at 2525 Charleston Road in Mountain View, within two blocks of the OFJCC.

“The Jewish community as a whole has been unbelievably supportive and welcoming,” Sigal said.

Founded in 1957, Congregation Kol Emeth, which is affiliated with the Conservative movement but promotes the tagline “Everyone is welcome in our egalitarian Jewish community,” has grown to more than 600 member families. Rabbi David Booth has been the head rabbi since 2006, when he took over for the retiring Rabbi Sheldon Lewis.

Dan Pine

Dan Pine is a contributing editor at J. He was a longtime staff writer at J. and retired as news editor in 2020.