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Salt Lake City synagogue marks 50th anniversary

Posted at 9:28 PM, May 07, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City’s longest-running and Utah’s largest synagogue celebrated its 50-year anniversary Sunday night.

Congregation members, community leaders, and supporters from other walks of faith gathered together at a gala at the This is the Place Heritage Park.

“I think that we’re an example of showing how people with differences can come together over shared values and the greater good,” said Rabbi Sam Spector of the Congregation Kol Ami.

In 1973, the Congregation B’nai Israel and Congregation Montefiore merged together to form Congregation Kol Ami.

“We’re a dual-affiliated synagogue of two different movements of Judaism that came together and that’s a very unique and rare thing,” said Spector.

At Sunday night’s gala, speakers included community leaders like Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, and Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson.

“We are here for you. We recognize the depth of your contribution in the community. We honor you, and I’m very happy to be here today in celebration with you,” said Wilson.

Spector said that many of the congregation’s members are Salt Lake City transplants.

“They maybe came here, not knowing anybody, not having a place to go for Passover or Rosh Hashanah, and how now they have a vibrant community and people who feel as close to them as their own brother and sister,” he said.

David Litvack remembers moving from Minnesota to Salt Lake City back in 1987.

“Congregation Kol Ami was there for us. It became our Jewish home right away,” he said.

It’s become a home to many others as well. In the past five years, Congregation Kol Ami’s membership has grown 27 percent.

Members can’t wait to see what the next fifty years have in store.

“Being Jewish means that you’re an ally to others in the community, that you stand up not just for yourself but you stand up for others,” said Litvack.