On June 1, 1966, during a dinner at a local country club honoring Rabbi Ernst Conrad, the founding of a new Reform Temple was announced. Originally known simply as “The New Temple”, this congregation held a deep commitment to both liberal Judaism, a socially conscious philosophy, and a strong belief in the independence of pulpit and pew.
The New Temple was accepted into the UAHC in August 1966, and held its first Shabbat services on August 12, 1966 at the home of Shirley and Morris Mersky. Shortly thereafter, the Temple moved to the Birmingham Unitarian Church, where services were held until March 1975, when the congregation moved to its own building on Walnut Lake Road in West Bloomfield.
In January of 1970, by vote of the membership, The New Temple became Temple Kol Ami, The Voice of My People.
From an original congregation consisting of Rabbi and Mrs. Conrad and 8 founding families, Temple Kol Ami grew to 225 families by 1986. Recognizing the need for a larger facility, The Board of Trustees undertook a capital campaign to construct a social hall, bride’s room and additional storage areas. The Conrad Social Hall was formally dedicated on May 7, 1988.
Rabbi Conrad became Founding Rabbi Emeritus upon reaching 65 years of age in 1986. In August of that same year, Rabbi Norman T. Roman became the Rabbi of Temple Kol Ami. Rabbi Conrad remained active in the Temple, until his passing in 2009.
At a celebration marking the 25th Anniversary of Temple Kol Ami in 1991, the mortgage was officially retired and burned. The congregation commissioned the writing of a new Sefer Torah, which was dedicated at Simchat Torah in September 1991.
Under the guidance of Rabbi Roman and the Board of Trustees, the Temple Kol Ami family has grown to over 330 families. The congregation formally limited the size to 500 families in 1996.
While Temple Kol Ami continues to welcome new members and new ideas to the congregation, it remains committed to its original principles, as designed by the founding families almost 40 years ago.