Kol Hai is Hebrew for “all life”

Kol Ḥai is an emerging, Hudson Valley Jewish Renewal spiritual community, founded by Shir Yaakov in 2014. Our music-filled, joyful Shabbat and holiday experiences are held in New Paltz, NY and are open to all. Our intention is to connect with the unique vitality within ourselves, each other, and our world. Join us: kolhai.org

Wedding Officiant

Read more reviews on The Knot.

Read more reviews on The Knot.

It would be an understatement to say that our experience working with Reb Shir was exceptional. We were truly given a gift in meeting him and having the immense pleasure of designing our ceremony together. From the moment we first spoke, my partner and I knew that we had begun a connection that would grow beyond the planning of our wedding. Our first meeting was thorough, positive, and Shir ticked all the boxes for us: social justice minded, could speak to both of the spiritual and cultural aspects of Judaism that were meaningful to us, and musical. While my partner and I are Jewish, many of our guests were not. It was important to maintain many elements of a traditional ceremony, but it was imperative that our guests unfamiliar with these traditions feel respected and acknowledged. Simply everyone, Jewish or not, told us afterwards that our ceremony was the most beautiful they had ever witnessed. It was so amazing to share in this moment with so many loved ones, and for our diverse group to all be connected in this way, because of Shir's work with us and because of his graceful and magical ability to help everyone find meaning in ceremony. We felt true to ourselves and true to our communities. Shir was warm, his chanting was beautiful, and the entire thing felt dreamy and powerful. We are so glad to have met him.” —Hillary R, 11/02/2015 

Baby Namings

“You were so wonderful officiating and guiding my granddaughter’s naming. It was more beautiful and love and God-filled than I could ever express in words. The feeling of connection and community was palpable. You elevated the whole experience in such a gentle, loving way. It was sublime. Thank you from the bottom of my very deep heart.” —LN

Bar and Bat Mitzvahs

“After a decade of photographing Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Shir Yaakov’s service was by far the most beautiful, warm and inviting I have seen so far. His music was astounding and joyful. He made everybody in the room feel like family.” —LS

“After a decade of photographing Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Shir Yaakov’s service was by far the most beautiful, warm and inviting I have seen so far. His music was astounding and joyful. He made everybody in the room feel like family.” —LS

“It's hard to put words to something that is beyond words. Maybe a poet or a songwriter could do it, but it's not MY thing. MY thing is choosing the best, and Shir Yaakov is the BEST. He made every step of the process of Bat Mitzvah (for every generation) meaningful, engaging, fun, and real. What more could we ask? The culmination of learning, singing, debating, bonding, reflecting and prayer was a beautiful service co-led by our daughter and Shir Yaakov where all of her self-hood as a budding adult shined. We could not have wished for a better rite of passage for our whole family and everyone involved was enriched by the soulfull-ness of the approach, the music, the prayers, the Torah service, engagement with text, and the culture of active engagement.” —LG

Funerals. Memorial Services. Healing Circles.

“You did the most amazing thing for all of us, Shir. I could barely believe how strongly you held everyone. I’ve been realizing now how difficult the whole day was for me, how much work it was to show up…. You were a clear bright spot for all and I’m so grateful.”