We asked a number of member families with multiple generations who have been a part of Congregation Kol Ami and the Tampa Bay Jewish Community to share their thoughts and memories of living and growing here. This is a part of a project which looks at some of the history of Kol Ami in conjunction with the performances of "From Generation to Generation," which was presented in January 2017.
Meet the Shaw Family!
1st Generation – Leo z”l and Maisie Shaw z”l - Rena Waks
(Mother of Sheila Shaw)
2nd Generation – Sheila & Brian Shaw
3rd Generation – Darryl Shaw and Suzanne (Suzy) Friedman Shaw
Neil and Patricia (Trish) Shaw
Robin and Julie Shaw
4th Generation – Avi, Davida and Batia Friedman Shaw (children of Darryl Shaw and Suzy Friedman Shaw)
Daphna, Golda, Leya, & Leo Shaw (children of Neil and Trish Shaw.)
Seiji, Kiku, and Tomomi Shaw (children of Robin and Julie Shaw)
Brian and Sheila Shaw joined Kol Ami in 1979 soon after Kol Ami was formed. They had been at Temple Israel and then Rodeph Sholom for a short time period but wanted a shul that was closer to their north Tampa home. As Brian and Sheila’s parents moved to Tampa at later times, they became part of the Kol Ami family.
The Shaw family has celebrated many joyous events at Kol Ami, as well as sad life cycle events, including brit milah, bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings, anniversaries - including a 50 year celebration, a 100th birthday celebration (for Rena), and funerals.
The family has been heavily involved in the life of Kol Ami and the Tampa Jewish Community. Brian has served on the Kol Ami Board & Executive Board for most of his years as a Kol Ami member. He has been Treasurer, Financial Secretary, and Council of Chai Chair. He has been very involved with Tampa Jewish Family Services, serving as Treasurer, Board member, and Advisory Council member. He also served a short stint on Tampa Jewish Federation Board. Sheila has been active with our adult education program. Darry, Suzy and Trish have also served terms on the Kol Ami Board.
Brian’s fondest remembrance of Kol Ami is the feeling of a big family. He also note that Kol Ami satisfied our religious needs and was a place where the Shaw’s made many friends and enjoyed many good social events.
Meet the Kanter Family
1st Generation – Howard and Elizabeth (Lee) Kanter
2nd Generation – Richard and Mary Kanter
Gail and Steven Baker
Brad and Eileen Kanter
3rd Generation – Lauren Billington, Allison Agliata and Andrew Kanter (Children of Rich and Mary)
Nicole Luftig, Jaclyn and Danielle Baker (Children of Gail and Steven Baker
Michael, Joshua and Benjamin Kanter (Children of Brad and Eileen Kanter)
4th Generation – London and Legend Billington (children of Lauren and Maurice Billington)
Lia, Ava, and Noah Agliata (children of Allison and Daniel Agliata)
Nathaniel, Zachary & Olivia Luftig (children of Nicole & Andrew Luftig)
Rich and Mary Kanter joined Kol Ami in 1979. They attended a meeting about starting a new conservative synagogue in North Tampa. They felt we needed a conservative presence in North Tampa and they have been active members for the duration of their membership. While Rich and Mary were the only family members living in Tampa when they joined, Rich’s parents, brother and sister all moved to Tampa at later times and became part of the Kol Ami family.
Gail & Steven Baker moved to Tampa June, 1981. They came to Kol Ami to celebrate their 1st High Holidays with family, Rich & Mary Kanter. From that moment on they knew this synagogue was for them!! Along the course of 35 years they have given birth (1981, 1984, & 1986) and raised 3 daughters. They have built many lifelong friends and have had the opportunity to share many life cycle events with them and extended family.... some of who even moved to Tampa and joined Kol Ami.. For example, Gail's parents Howard & Lee Kanter and her younger brother Brad Kanter, along with Steven's sister Lisa Tolson who eventually joined Kol Ami with her 2 children, Jamie & Scott. Both Jamie and Scott also celebrated their B’nei Mitzvah at Kol Ami!
The Kanter family has celebrated many joyous events at Kol Ami, as well as some sad life cycle events. These events include:
Bar Mitzvahs - Andrew, Michael, Joshua, and Benjamin Kanter, London Billington as well as the Bat Mitzvah of Lauren and Allison
Kanter, Nicole, Jaclyn, and Danielle Baker.
In addition, the Kanter family has celebrated auf-rufs, weddings, baby naming’s, and Brit Milah with the Kol Ami Family.
Funerals – Lee Kanter, Howard Kanter, and Shelly Herzog (mother of Eileen Kanter)
Meet the Fox Family
1st Generation -Lilian and Henry Taylor (parents of Ronna Fox Hellman)
2nd Generation - Ronna Fox Hellman and Allan Fox – among the earliest members of Kol Ami, Allan was the first elected
president of Kol Ami
3rd Generation - Tammy Crampton Denney and Chris Crampton
Jeff and Sharon Fox
4th Generation – Brenden Crampton and Jodi Crampton Brenden’s wife), Taylor Crampton – children of Tammy
Crampton, Denney and Chris Crampton
Emily Denney – child of Tammy Crampton Denney
Justin Fox and Jordan Fox – children of Jeff and Sharon
5th Generation – Audrey Rose Crampton and Brooks Allan Crampton – children of Brenden and Jodi Crampton
Ronna and Allan Fox joined Kol Ami in early 1978 as soon as it was founded and helped the synagogue get established. They were interested in starting a new synagogue in North Tampa which was the Jewish Association of North Tampa, and was then later formally names Kol Ami. The family consisted of Allan, Ronna, Tammy and Jeff at the time Kol Ami was formed.
The Fox family has celebrated many joyous events at Kol Ami, as well as sad life cycle events:
Bar Mitzvahs - Brenden and Taylor Crampton, as well as Bar Mitzvah preparation for Jeff, Justin and Jordan Fox. They all celebrated their B’nai Mitzvah at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
Weddings - Tammy and Chris Crampton and Ronna and Mervin Hellman
Auf Ruf of Jeff and Sharon Fox
Brit Milah – Brenden Crampton, Taylor Crampton, Justin Fox and Jordan Fox
Baby namings - Emily Denney and Audrey Crampton
Funerals – Allan Fox at Gan Shalom; Henry and Lillian Taylor in Valdosta, GA (officiated by Rabbi Joel Wasser)
The family has been heavily involved in the life of Kol Ami and the Tampa Jewish Community. Allan was the first elected president of Kol Ami, replacing David Cross who was appointed president of Kol Ami prior to elections. Allan continued to serve on the Kol Ami Board throughout his life. He and Ronna were the early membership chairs and were the welcoming faces of Kol Ami in the early years. Allan also was involved on several Jewish Community organizations' boards. Ronna has served on numerous Kol Ami Boards and continues to be a welcoming presence at Kol Ami. She also served on the Tampa Jewish Family Services Board. Jeff Fox and Brenden Crampton have served on the Kol Ami Board. In the early years of Kol Ami the synagogue office was in the Fox home.
Ronna’s fondest memories of Kol Ami are the warm family feeling that makes all of Kol Ami an extended family. The years hold too many fond memories for Ronna to count. Early memories include attending religious services at the Masonic Lodge on Ola Street and helping with the construction of the synagogue on our present Moran Road site.
The growth of Kol Ami from a tight little community to a major force in the Tampa Jewish Community is the biggest change noticed. Ronna related that there were so many events celebrated at Kol Ami that it is difficult to select a story about one. However, she noted that the surrounding warmth of the Kol Ami family at the time of Allan’s death was a major factor that sustained her at the most difficult time of her life.
Ronna’s hope is that Kol Ami will again br a beacon of light for Jewish Life in North Tampa and that we return to the warm welcoming synagogue she so fondly remembers. She states, “She wishes for Kol Ami to be vibrant and strong with the love and cohesiveness that once was the hallmark of our wonderful synagogue.”
The Fox family has a long and committed history at Kol Ami. They have helped us get started, sustained Kol Ami throughout the years and continue to be a presence that enriches the lives of all of the members of Kol Ami.
Meet the FInk Family
1st Generation - Beverly Fink and Jay Fink (deceased)
2nd Generation - Matthew and Carolyn Fink
Joshua and Leanne Fink
3rd Generation - Jason, David and Michael Fink – children of Matthew and Carolyn
Nicole and Andrew Fink – children of Joshua and Leanne
Beverly Fink's late husband, Jay, and Beverly joined Kol Ami in 1979. They had just moved to Tampa and were interested in becoming part of a Jewish community. They joined when Matthew was 7 years old and Josh was 4 years old. The Fink family grew as Elizabeth was born in 1982. Subsequently Matt and Carolyn married in 1995 and have 3 children and Josh and Leanne married in 1999 and have 2 chilren.
The Fink family has celebrated several joyous events at Kol Ami, as well as sad life cycle events. These events include:
Bnai Mitzvot- Matthew, Josh and Elizabeth have celebrated their
Bnai mitzvot at Kol Ami.
Wedding - Matthew and Carolyn Fink were married at Kol Ami
Baby Naming - Nicole Fink was named at Kol Ami
Funerals – Jay Fink funeral was held in 1987
The family has been heavily involved in the life of Kol Ami and the Tampa Jewish Community. Bev has been extremely active at Kol Ami serving as the synagogue religious school administrator from 1984-1989. She has held numerous Kol Ami Board positions including, School Board Chair, Chavurah Chair, Library Chair, varied program chairperson positions, and served as a Vice President of the congregation for 10 years. Bev is one of only 2 individuals to have two terms as a Kol Ami President, first, in 2001-2003, and currently 2015-present.
Carolyn Fink currently serves on the Kol Ami as Membership Chair.