Magen David
Kedoshei Israel Logo
Beit Knesset Text
Kehilat Kedoshei Israel Text

זמנים ומועדים
פרשת השבוע
זמן הדלקת נרות
מוצאי שבת
תפילות יום חול
תפילות - שבת
מנחה ערב שבת
ערבית מוצ"ש


אתר חדש לקהילה

About Us

Our synagogue was established in the 1950s by Holocaust survivors. The founders included Mr. Moshe Shiffenbauer z"l, Mr. Meir Ze’ev Mendelsohn z"l, Mr. Ze’ev Hackel z"l, and Mr. Shlomo Leiber, may he be blessed with a long life. The group rented two tiny adjoining apartments and turned them into a shul.

In the early 60s, Mr. Shmuel Kaizler z"l arrived and became the driving force behind the group, which received a building from the Kiryat Gat municipality and made it into the magnificent synagogue that you can see there today.

Back then, most of the congregants were Holocaust survivors, and they set the prayer rite style as Nusach Sefard in accordance with their east European origins. They called the shul "Kedoshei Israel" as a kind of monument to their loved ones who had perished in the Holocaust, to all the Holocaust victims, and to the fallen heroes of Israel’s wars – all of these millions being brothers through their spilt blood.

Some of the congregants did not know the date of death of their loved ones. For "Yizkor" on the holidays, they communed with their departed loved ones, everyone who perished in the Holocaust, the fallen Israeli soldiers, and all souls who have no one to say Kaddish for them.

It was also decided that the character of the synagogue would be Zionist, which was a real breakthrough for Kiryat Gat. Every Shabbat, people prayed for the welfare of the State of Israel and its soldiers, and later also for the safe return of the captive soldiers and MIAs.

We are still following in the footsteps of the founders.

Today the composition of congregants has become more heterogeneous. People from all different ethnic backgrounds attend the shul – European, Moroccan, Ethiopian, Tunisian, Russian and American; people with varying lifestyles – religious, traditional, and non-religious; and people with differing political opinions.

We still continue to use Nusach Sefard just like the founders.

Our synagogue is an extremely pleasant place to encounter other people and Hashem.

In 2007, the committee resolved to make a significant change in order to move forward. It was decided to switch from being just a synagogue to being a community, and to build a community center. Incidentally, a similar change will be taking place in all the synagogues in Israel (following the Diaspora model) over the coming decades, in order to help us all retain and strengthen our Jewish identity, in all the various senses of the phrase.

A synagogue is a place where people gather to pray and then go home, a community center is constantly bustling with life. It is a social, activity and educational center as well as a focal point of religious life, and serves to bond families together.

As soon as the committee reached this decision, its members also understood they couldn’t fulfill this "dream" by themselves. A rabbi must be brought in. Not one who would just make Halakhic rulings, but one who would mainly lead us in becoming a community and a community center. He would have to embrace the vision.

The position of rabbi took on new significance for the congregants and us, much more than issues of Halakha. He needed to be able to spearhead organizational and social processes that could expand the community circle with all its diverse components and turn it into a center of attraction that bolsters our Jewish identity.

We didn’t have to go far; we found him right at home; in our own city.

Rabbi Sharon Shalom made aliyah from Ethiopia, and grew up among us in Kiryat Gat. He was ordained as a rabbi at the High Yeshiva in Gush Etzion, and is currently a doctoral student at Bar-Ilan University. Rabbi Sharon commenced his work in the summer of 2008, thanks to close cooperation with the Tzohar organization, which is accompanying and helping us in all our efforts.

After finding this wonderful, suitable rabbi, our next step was to select four young people for the community committee, one of them a woman, which was another “first” for Kiryat Gat. They were instrumental in setting up an NPO and a website, and in choosing a logo. When the time comes, they – the third generation – are meant to continue leading the vision on their own.

We are in advanced stages of getting approval from the municipality for taking over the lot adjoining our synagogue. That is where, with G-d’s help, we will build a hall and kitchen (for events, conventions and seminars), a mikveh, a training center to strengthen Jewish identity, and even a community agricultural plot (yes, the adam-adama bond), which is also part of our Jewish identity.

We are full of other "dreams" as well.
Yet we must keep our feet on the ground.

We would like to share the opportunity with you to help us fulfill our exciting vision.

Thank you for being part of it!

Community Committee:

  • Odelia Smadjia – Teacher at the Comprehensive School
  • Chaim Semila – Organizational psychologist and volunteer youth worker
  • Ronen Schwartz – Teacher at the Comprehensive School
  • Hagai Weiss – Teacher at the Comprehensive School, currently Bnei Akiva emissary in Skokie, Illinois.
  • Shlomo Reiss – Health clinic nurse
  • Menachem Weiss – Production worker in an industrial plant
  • Moshe Schwartz – Retiree, Holocaust survivor
  • Aharon Hershkowitz – Retiree
  • Baruch Kaizler – Retiree