|448||Jan 18 2012 - 10:30pm||Anonymous||18.104.22.168||Mishkan Torah Congregation||Greenbelt||MD||Jackie Kling||THIS IS THE UPDATED VERSION:
A simple question asked of Ethel Morganstein, a Greenbelt, Maryland resident in the late 1930’s, planted the seed from which Mishkan Torah ultimately grew. When she went to pay her rent to the rental manager, he pointed out that various Christian denominations had established churches and asked why no Jewish congregation had yet been formed in Greenbelt – the first planned community in the United States.
Motivated by the rental manager’s query, Ms. Morganstein obtained the names and addresses of Jewish families and went door to door to invite them to an organizational meeting at her home. At that meeting, the Greenbelt Hebrew Congregation was born. Regular Friday night services were held in the music room of the Center School in Greenbelt, and the first High Holy Day services were held in the fire house, with a chorus, led by Harry Fleisher, enhancing the services. A Torah was borrowed from the Washington Hebrew Congregation as were the prayer books. Years later, congregant Marlene Mollerick learned that a British synagogue had custody of twelve hundred Torahs from Czechoslovakia, which had been saved by British troops from Nazi destruction. They were available on permanent loan to worthy synagogues. She promptly applied for a Torah on Mishkan Torah’s behalf and was told that Mishkan Torah had qualified. The existing ark was re-designed by Joe Dalis to house Mishkan Torah’s permanent loan.
Eventually the Greenbelt Hebrew Congregation merged with the newly established Jewish Community Center of Prince George’s County. Its mission was mainly focused on social activities and having a community center for Jews although there were some religious aspects as well.
Shortly after the Jewish Community Center of Prince George’s County’s founding, Rabbi Morris A. Sandhaus who had worked for nine years with a Jewish congregation in Yonkers, N.Y., was hired to lead the congregation. On February 13, 1943, the JCC celebrated Greenbelt’s first Bar Mitzvah. In 1949, the JCC acquired a tract of 0.79 acres from the federal government, which cost $1,000. Once this purchase was made, the dream of a new building was on its way to becoming a reality. In a 1995 essay commemorating Mishkan Torah’s 40th anniversary, a congregant recalls, “I remember a gentile watching us lay bricks. He went back to his boss, a Mr. Brown of the Aldon Construction Company, and told him, ‘Some crazy Jewish amateurs are trying to build a church in Greenbelt and are doing a terrible job of it.’ He continues, “One Sunday, Mr. Brown came out with all of his bricklayers and helped put up all the corners of the building, which gave us a marvelous start.” Many synagogue members worked steadily on the building for over three years. On March 20, 1955 the new building was dedicated, with appropriate ceremonies and celebration.
The Jewish Community Center of PG County continued to grow, and although it is still officially incorporated as the JCC of PG County, in 1968 the membership decided to begin using the name Mishkan Torah. The decision stemmed from the fact that it was becoming more of a house of worship while retaining its original purpose as a community center for Jews. In 1969 a ground breaking ceremony was held for the addition of the Karp Family Hebrew School. Men and women have participated equally in all facets of synagogue life since 1973 when Mishkan Torah became affiliated with both the Conservative and Reconstructionist Movements. Following the tenure of Rabbi Maurice Weinberg from 1966 – 1973, Rabbi Kennth Berger, of blessed memory, was hired from the first graduating class of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Mishkan Torah has had three Rabbis since the tragic death of Rabbi Berger in a plane crash - Rabbi Steven Bayar (1981 - 1986), Rabbi Saul Grife (1986 - 1998 ) and our current Rabbi, Jonathan Cohen (1998 – present). Our Cantor, Phil Greenfield, has been with us for over 30 years.
Though many years have passed, and the world has changed since the 1955 dedication, much of the world of Mishkan Torah has remained the same. In the 21st century, Mishkan Torah’s members mirror their predecessors in bringing their devotion, do-it-yourself energy, individual talents, and financial support to a shul that is known for its warmth and sense of family. Now as then, Mishkan Torah has demonstrated its ability to survive and flourish, no matter what odds or challenges are placed in its way.
by Ellen Rubin and Jackie Kling
The content of this essay is a compilation of 40th anniversary essays written by the following contributors:
Abe Chasnoff, David Stern, David Spevack, Ethel and Ben Rosenzweig, Jordan Choper and Joe Dalis
|449||Jan 18 2012 - 11:27pm||Anonymous||22.214.171.124||Temple Beth El||Hammonton||New Jersey||Claudia Tung||1937||Steering Council
Paul Milovsky-Vice President
Corrosponding Secretary-Kathy Wagner
Reconstruction Officer-Rob West, Russell Heinemann
WebMaster-Sherry McGlynn||Temple Beth El of Hammonton, is made up of members and friends from the Camden, Burlington and Atlantic counties, and has been meeting the needs of the Jewish Community since 1934. Our shul is quaint, and is located in the residential part of Hammonton, NewJersey. We are a warm community, committed to tradition and a creative joyful Jewish experience in English and in Hebrew. We engage in a spiritual and relevant approach to Judaism through study, holiday celebration, prayer, music, community connection and social action. We have Shabbat services, adult education and holiday celebrations and weekly religious school on Sundays. Our mission is to focus on building a foundation in Jewish knowledge, personal spiritual growth, and to have a meaningful Jewish practice in our community.
All of our programs are free of charge and are led by our spiritual leader Abby Michaleski. Despite the cost of extensive renovations to our historic building, our dues remain extremely affordable and no one is ever turned away for financial reasons. A minimal donation from non-members is requested for High Holy Day seating and school attendance is free to new members for the first year.
To find out more about Temple Beth El, contact us on our website. www.tbenj.org||TempleBethEl.NJ.CapitalCampaign.1.jpeg||flood reconstruction 1||TempleBethEl.NJ.CapitalCampaign2.jpg||Flood reconstruction2||TemplebethEl.NJ.TikkunOlam.jpg||winter warmth drive flyer||TempleBethEl.NJ.youth.jpeg||Our youth celebrating Lag B'Omer||TempleBethEl.NJ.Ritual.2.jpeg||Sierra Tung celebrating Sukkot||TempleBethEl.NJ.Regional.1.jpeg||Felt Family Celebrating Jewish Heritage Day with the RiverSharks, Campbell Field,NJ||TempleBethEl.NJ.Ritual.2.jpeg||Tori felt,Sierra Tung,Elizabeth Heinemann-Purim Schpeil|| |
|450||Jan 19 2012 - 1:54pm||Anonymous||126.96.36.199||Congregation Kehilat Shalom||Belle Mead||New Jersey||Natalie London||1982||Stacey Anderson - President
Susan Waskow -1st Vice President
Iris Rubinstein - 2nd Vice President
Matt Rosenthal - Past President
Steve Weinstein - Financial Secretary
Debbie Tesser - Recording Secretary
Sheryl Rosenberg - Corresponding Secretary||Congregation Kehilat Shalom was initially founded as the Jewish Community Center of Belle Mead by four families in 1982. This core group, which quickly grew to eighteen families, consisted of farmers, doctors, teachers, artists, mechanics, and managers. They were seeking a local Jewish identity and an alternative to the large, impersonal synagogues in the area. In joining together, they created an intimate and loving spirit of unity.
During those early years, they met in various locations, including the Montgomery First Aid Squad building, the Burnt Hill Road Elementary School, and in their own private homes. Finally, in 1986, after considerable growth, our own building on Belle Mead-Griggstown Road was purchased.
After much soul-searching and discussion, it was decided in 1989 to affiliate with the Reconstructionist Movement, as our beliefs were most aligned with its philosophies. That same year we hired our first full-time rabbi, Shana Margolin, who expanded our religious, educational, cultural, and social programs. Under the leadership of Rabbi Michael Tayvah, we changed our name to Congregation Kehilat Shalom in 2006.
In 2007, we welcomed Rabbi Susan Falk. We are a congregation of over 100 families with an active religious school. We also operate Kindercapers, a non-sectarian Nursery school. We remain committed to the ideals of our founders: being a warm, friendly, unpretentious, caring, creative, stimulating congregation, in which all are welcome.||CKS.rabbifalk-723011.jpg||Rabbi Susan Falk - Rabbi||CKS.katefridkis-765947.jph||Kate Fridkis - Lay Cantor|| |
|451||Jan 19 2012 - 2:09pm||Victoria Cangelosi||188.8.131.52||Reconstructionist Congregation Beth Emeth||Hewlett||NY||VC||1994||Rabbi: Elliot Skiddell
co-Presidents: Carol Drucker, Larry Kalvar, Herb Ruben and Judy Schneider
Secretary: Marion Newman
Treasurer: Gordon Drucker
Education Director: Julie Skiddell
Office Manager: Rita Farber||Congregation Beth Emeth, established in 1994, is the only Reconstructionist Synagogue on the South Shore of Long Island. Our eclectic, friendly, and caring congregation welcomes members of all ages, regardless of marital status - single, married, widowed or divorced. In our congregational family members participate according to their own needs, whether it is for worship, education, socializing or friendship. Each experiences that special sense of community that is found in a Reconstructionist synagogue.
We see our synagogue community center as a place to realize an enrichment and fulfillment of Jewish living, a place to find warmth, inspiration, and camaraderie, a place to live our heritage, a place of deep involvement, participation, and commitment, a place of extensive study and learning, a place of prayer, a place of emotional, spiritual, and intellectual stimulation, a place of unusual and intense musical expression, a place of humanity and community. It is a place where Judaism and you have the opportunity to intertwine in so many and varied ways. These include Israel, art, education, sports, study, music, social awareness and action, entertainment, health and fitness, Shabbat and holidays, travel, and more. It is a place from which to carry all this into our daily lives.
We are committed to understanding and bringing to life our magnificent, dynamic, age-old and ever growing heritage, and to ensuring its ongoing exciting and meaningful contemporary expressions. ||bethemeth.ny.congregation||Inside our congregation|| |
|452||Jan 19 2012 - 2:20pm||Victoria Cangelosi||184.108.40.206||Congregation Dorshei Tzedek||West Newton||MA||VC||1991||Rabbi: Toba Spitzer
President: Peter Katz
VP Finance: Sivan Nasoff
VP Membership: Lisa Dee Port White
Secretary: Josh Lieberman||Dorshei Tzedek is a dynamic and growing Reconstructionist congregation. We are dedicated to Jewish learning and to ethical Jewish living in the modern world. Our religious school is a Reconstructionist education program committed to making Judaism relevant and meaningful for children as well as parents.
Our community has over 190 member households and includes people from traditional Jewish backgrounds, interfaith families, and people with little or no previous Jewish learning or experience. Our membership includes families, couples, and singles; children and elders; Jews by birth and Jews by choice (or still choosing). We value and include everyone who shares our commitment to living and learning about compassionate, ethical Judaism regardless of age, marital status, income level, or sexual orientation.
In partnership with Rabbi Toba Spitzer (who has received the honor of being included in both Newsweek's Top 50 Rabbis in America 2008 list, as well as the Forward 50 list) members share in the leadership of the congregation and take an active role in decision-making and planning community events and activities.
Six households created Congregation Dorshei Tzedek (CDT) during the summer of 1991. The founders were committed to establishing a Jewish congregation committed to Reconstructionist principles and philosophy.
The founders envisioned a welcoming, participatory and inclusive community with a rabbi, strong lay leadership, a religious school, lifelong education, Shabbat and holiday services, and lifecycle observances. They chose the name "Dorshei Tzedek" which means "seekers of justice."
To create Congregation Dorshei Tzedek's first High Holy Day services, each founding household contributed $500 for initial funding. Services were held at Brandeis University's Sacher Auditorium. We bought a modest number of High Holy Day prayer books and engaged Rabbi Mordechai Liebling to help us lead services. We advertised in the Jewish Advocate, local Newton newspapers, and on community bulletin boards and held our breath!
To our amazement, services were a great success. We were able to pay all our bills, make an appropriate contribution to Brandeis Hillel, and even had a little left over. More important, several families joined us right after the holidays. We applied for membership in the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation and were accepted at their next board meeting.
Over the next two years we started to hold regular Shabbat services, celebrated holidays, and organized a Board. We knew we needed to grow and to do that we needed a rabbi and a religious school.
For the first few years, Temple Emanuel in Newton graciously allowed our children to enroll in their religious school. By our third year as a congregation, we were able to start our own Religious School, starting with a Gan-Aleph (K-1) class and adding another grade each year until we had a full Gan-Zayin school.
Rabbi Liebling, at that time the Executive Director of the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, continued to serve as our High Holy Day rabbi. As our congregation grew to almost 30 households, he advised us to hire a student rabbi for one Shabbat weekend per month plus High Holy Days. Rabbi Linda Potemken served our congregation for the last three years of her rabbinic schooling, from 1994 until 1997.
With a regular rabbinic presence, our membership grew steadily, and by the time Rabbi Potemken graduated we had reached 60 households. At that point, we were able to raise enough money to guarantee a half-time salary for two years. We were incredibly fortunate to bring Rabbi Toba Spitzer to Boston. Since Rabbi Spitzer's arrival in 1997, we have grown to over 170 households.
Our religious school, adult education and holiday programs, and especially our commitment to tikkun olam, continue to grow thanks to Rabbi Spitzer's guidance and our dedicated membership.||DorsheiTzedek.ma.stainedglass.jpg ||Our beautiful stained glass window|| |
|453||Jan 19 2012 - 10:15pm||Anonymous||220.127.116.11||Congregation Kehilat Shalom||Belle Mead||New Jersey||Natalie London||1982||Please see prior submission ...this is picture only||Please see prior submission - this is picture only||CKS_rabbifalk-723011.jpg||Rabbi Susan Falk ||CKS_katefridkis-765947.jpg||Kate Fridkis - Lay Cantor||CKS_temple dedication.jpg||Temple Dedication - Our havarah moves from the rescue squad building and local schools to a permanent home||CKS-BBQ.png||Annual Welcome Back BBQ||CKS_bagel cafe.jpg||Sunday Summer Bagel Cafe - Of course it's wonderful indoors as well!||CKS_Communiversity 2010.png||Annual Princeton Communiversity Booth - art projects and fun with the Princeton community||CKS_Kol Ahava picnic.jpg||Kol Ahava. our CKS choir, at our annual Welcome Back BBQ. Kol Ahava members sing during the High Holidays, Chanukkah and services throughout the year.||CKS_Studio 253 csc_0028.jpg||Studio 253 transforms our synagogue to a paradise of music, dancing and socializing as well as our annual auction fundraiser. A great time! ||CKS-Lego.png ||Building Jerusalem - one Lego at a time - ending another year of religious school|| |
|454||Jan 20 2012 - 10:43am||Jennifer Glowacki||18.104.22.168||Kol Ami: The Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community||Arlington||VA||Jenn G :)||2001||President: Don Kraus
Vice President: Mary Kuntz
Secretary: Susan Freiband
Treasurer: Elizabeth Lower-Basch||Kol Ami began as the Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Havurah in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Most programs and services were conducted in members' homes or in small community rooms, such as for High Holy Day services. In 2000, with the havurah's small membership shrinking, there was a decision to be made among a small group of remaining members - to disband or put an effort forth to build a more robust congregation. A meeting was held with a core group of members and Rabbi Leila Gal Berner. With Rabbi Berner's encouragement the decision was made to take the “if we build it, they will come” approach to establishing a Reconstructionist congregation in Northern Virginia. An organizing meeting was held in December of 2000 at a Fairfax County community center. We were overwhelmed by the number of people who attended this informational program (about 60). We got the message that there was interest.
We forged ahead. The congregation, the Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community held its first Shabbat service in early 2001, with its first High Holy Days held just days after 9-11. It was quite an initial High Holy Days! We took on the name Kol Ami (voice of my people) the Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community, a few years later. Kol Ami has and continues to be virtual religious community without an edifice complex and it is essentially run by dedicated volunteers. Our mission is to: Celebrate our Jewish souls, Expand our Jewish minds and Reconstruct our Jewish heart
Kol Ami's services over the years have generally been held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington. We have attracted members from across a broad swath of Northern Virginia. Today Kol Ami has approximately 65 member units (families, singles, couples, young people, empty nesters, and more). We hold about three Shabbat services per month with various other holiday and religious celebrations (both lay led and Rabbi Leila led). We have built a Jewish Children's Education Program which is taught by four dedicated volunteer parents and now has more than 30 students ranging from kindergarten age to pre B'nei Mitzvah. We are celebrating more B'nei Mitzvahs as the years go on. All in all, many accomplishments accomplished by a small group of dedicated volunteers. Events and more information are always available at www.kolaminvrc.org.
|455||Jan 21 2012 - 12:48pm||Anonymous||22.214.171.124||Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation||Bethesda||Maryland||Sheila Blum||1987||Co-Presidents- Ruth Spodak, Garry Grossman
Vice President Programming - Ted Berman
Vice President Membership Services - Scott Lessne
Vice President Administration - Hannah Lipman
Vice President Personnel - Rhoda Ratner
Treasurer - Sandy Hayward
Secretary - Jeffrey Rubin
General Counsel - Mark Klapow
||Adat Shalom provides Washington, DC-area Jews of all ages and backgrounds an opportunity to experience Jewish thought, ritual and culture in a vibrant and progressive community. Born in the late 1980’s, we are now a congregation of more than 475 households. Members come from across the metropolitan area (DC-MD-and-VA). Like many Reconstructionist shuls, we are an inclusive congregation; our membership spans young and old, singles and couples, gay and straight, intermarried and in-married, with children and without, and are also very diverse in terms of Jewish background. But despite that diversity, our members agree that they are "ba’alei she’eilah"–Jews with questions--with a common interest in exploring and enriching their connection to Judaism. Building a close, caring community, and maintaining that sense of community as we have grown, has always been a priority. Our weekly oneg luncheon, where members prepare and serve a full vegetarian lunch for each of the hundreds of attendees, every Shabbat of the year, is prime community-building time. That lunch is enjoyed too by the many students in our energetic Saturday Torah School – though our educational commitment is not just to youth but to life-long learning, with numerous and varied opportunities for serious study to enrich our understanding of Judaism, from torah study to family education to Israel trips, and much more. While we are blessed with outstanding clergy and staff, our spirit of volunteerism has helped make Adat Shalom the special place it is. We believe strongly in the importance of tikkun olam and have worked to build housing for the poor, combat hunger, end genocide in Darfur, and legalize same-sex marriage in DC (successful) and Maryland (soon). Adat Shalom is also famously a “green” shul, as evidenced by our energy-efficient EPA Energy-Star-Award-winning building, our on-site organic “Mishnah garden,” and our large solar panel installation. We are proud Reconstructionist Jews, who have contributed an outsized number of resources and leaders to the larger movement (and sent the largest cohort to Camp JRF!). || |
|456||Jan 21 2012 - 1:14pm||Anonymous||126.96.36.199||Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation||Bethesda||Maryland||adatshalom.MD.dedication.jpg||Celebrating at the dedication of our new building - 2001||adatshalom.MD.tikkunolam.1.jpg||Adat Shalom members on tikkun olam mission in Haiti - 2011||adatshalom.MD.tikkunolam-enviro.1.jpg||Digging the Adat Shalom mishnah garden - 2009||adatshalom.MD.tikkunolam-enviro.2.jpg||Rabbi Fred discussing our 44 kW solar panel installation||adatshalom.MD.youth.jpg||Ellis Island - one stop on Torah School's "Jewish New York" trip|| |
|457||Jan 22 2012 - 4:37pm||Anonymous||188.8.131.52||Congregation Beth El||Bennington||Vermont||Lance Allen Wang||1909||President: Lance Allen Wang
Vice President: Libby Harris
Treasurer: Rich Lowenthal
Secretary: Jennifer Burt
Ellie Roden||We are a diverse and lively community nestled in the Green Mountains, full of people who enjoy learning and questioning; we consider diversity our strength. We are committed to our community within and without the congregation, especially to children, the needy, and the sick. The Judaism school, supported by members of the larger congregation, provides a monthly dinner for those in need. We have a beautiful and historic Shul and also an adjacent building with offices and a small social hall. Both of the building have been renovated in the past year. A centerpiece is a beautiful new ark designed by a congregant, a new kitchen and expanded social hall, and improved classroom facilities. We have a monthly print newsletter, weekly e-mail announcements, and a website. Programming is targeted to all ages and demographics in the congregation. We celebrate an extended-day “Green Mountain Shabbat” monthly during the school year during which we have a variety of offerings for all ages and inclinations. In the past (and, hopefully, again in the future) we have a weekend-long community retreat in the spring. We have had good response to adult learning offerings provided by our rabbi, others in the community, and a visiting scholar once yearly (Art Green this year). We have offered several trips to Israel led by our present and our past rabbis. We also have had specialty programs which have been shaped by the interests of our Rabbis - for example, we currently have weekly meditation groups. In the past, we had a rabbi who led dog-sled trips. We have a beautiful cemetery, a Shomrim group, and men’s and women’s Chevra Kadisha groups.|| |
|458||Jan 23 2012 - 10:28pm||Anonymous||184.108.40.206||Shir Hadash Reconstructionist Synagogue||Northbrook||IL||Jeffrey Wallk||1995||Jeffrey Wallk - President
Fred Andes - Exec VP
Melanie Andes - VP Worship & Ritual
Rebecca Rice - VP Education
Marilynn Singer - Secretary
Ken Green - Treasurer||Shir Hadash, which means a "new song," was founded in the spring of 1995. It serves more than 175 households from more than 25 different towns in the North and Northwest suburbs of Chicago. Reconstructionism, the fourth branch of contemporary Judaism, was founded by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan in the 1930’s. It defines Judaism as the evolving religious civilization of the Jewish people. Thus, it seeks to create warm and welcoming Jewish synagogue communities that are respectful of traditional Jewish practice, yet open to new interpretation and creative forms of religious expression. ||Shir-Hadash.IL.SimchaToraj.jpg||Our kids celebrating Simcha Torah||Shir-Hadash.IL.Harvest.jpg||Rabbi Eitan Sharing Fruits of the Harvest||Shir-Hadash.IL.HebrewLab.jpg||Our Amazing Madrichim who run our Hebrew Lab||Shir-Hadash.IL.HighHolyDays.jpg||High Holy Days - Shir Hadash Style !||Shir-Hadash.IL.Kallah2.jpg||Midwest Kallah Celebration||Shir-Hadash.IL.SundayServices.jpg||Sunday Services at School||Shir-Hadash.IL.MitzvahAward.jpg||Celebrating our Amazing Mitzvah Program||Shir-Hadash.IL.SoupKitchen.jpg||Members helping out at the Soup Kitchen||Shir-Hadash.IL.Toys4Tots.jpg||Students helping run our Toys 4 Tots Program||Shir-Hadash.IL.Picnic.jpg||Picnic for Shir Hadash Members & Community |
|459||Jan 25 2012 - 3:57pm||Anonymous||220.127.116.11||Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation ||Evanston||Illinois||Jonathan Markowitz||1964||President
Administration Vickie Korey
Development David Tabak
Operations Lisa Pildes
Education Steve Fox
Tikkun Olam Marty Rosenheck
Ritual Practices Ann Perkins
Information Brad Moldofsky
Membership Karen Libman
Treasurer Henry Nutkevitch
Secretary Susan Witz
Members-at-Large Lisa Barbe Linda Kaskel
Stan Cohn Jason Osborne
David Forte Sandy Spatz
Marge Frank Ruth Wenger
Rick Friedman Carla Willis
Youth Member Aaron Litoff||The Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation of Evanston is a 500-household congregation known for its joyful spirituality, intellectual curiosity, inclusivity, and deep commitment to social justice.
We have built a highly acclaimed green building, and our rabbi has been heralded by Newsweek magazine as one of the top 25 pulpit rabbis in the United States. But most of all, JRC is about people - our members. Our congregation is as diverse as the American Jewish community, including observant and nonobservant Jews, interfaith families, blended families, people of color, gays and lesbians, believers and nonbelievers.
Here is our history:
With its roots in an Anshe Emet study group led by Rabbi Ira Eisenstein (1955-59), and in the Jewish Reconstructionist Havurah (probably the area’s first Havurah), the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation (JRC) fully blossomed when it incorporated as a congregation in 1964.
Although Wilmette was the first of its many homes, from the outset early JRC members envisioned and advertised themselves as an ideological rather than a geographical congregation. Inaugural High Holy Day services were held, highlighted by study sessions rather than sermons. By the end of 1965, JRC had already elected its first female president, celebrated its first bar mitzvah and begun a school. By the spring of 1970, membership approximated 60 families, and the Congregation had moved into larger, more flexible headquarters at Chute Middle School in Evanston. A social action committee was formed and its first bat mitzvah was called to the Torah.
Ties to Reconstructionism at the national level were also strong. JRC hosted the national Reconstructionist convention. We became the first congregation to adopt the Rabbinic Intern program from the then two year old Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC). The second student to visit us was an energetic young man named Arnold Rachlis who subsequently conducted High Holidays in 1972 and the first JRC Kallah (retreat).
While stability and growth marked the next few years, JRC members continued to innovate using musical instruments and multi-media presentations in Shabbat services. High Holidays were celebrated with a complement of drama and modern dance. By the fall of 1972, JRC had expanded to 76 families.
JRC extended its links to the Jewish community. JRC was admitted to the Synagogue Council of the Northwest Suburbs and the Congregation’s school became affiliated with the Board of Jewish Education of Greater Chicago. Because membership was still increasing 10 years after its inception, this period was marked by much attention, study and discussion devoted to an assessment of the congregation’s needs and its future.
The President’s 1973 report to the congregation raised questions concerning, among other things, membership (then at a record 85 families), the need for a permanent rabbi, and the need to limit school size. Several meetings in the spring of 1973 resulted in the decision to stabilize growth and not to hire a rabbi.
Throughout this period, services were held in members’ homes during the summer, and often during the school year as well. JRC had only one official home, Chute Middle School in Evanston. While this provided some stability, the “shlep a shul” existence also meant that the “sanctuary” (Chute cafeteria) and all JRC school classrooms had to be set up and put back into homes and cupboards after each weekend of activity. Still, the JRC arts committee, in the next years, managed to complete two large projects: the JRC tablecloth and needlepoint panels for the ark then in use.
Debates about the future size and nature of JRC had not ended with the decisions made in the spring of 1973. Many months of thoughtful meetings, begun in the summer of 1975, culminated in a decision in December, 1975, to offer the position of part-time rabbi to Arnold Rachlis, who was soon to be ordained. This represented an exciting turning point for the congregation, a reaching outside itself for new leadership after years of teaching and learning primarily from each other. To insure the participatory nature of the congregation, the initial agreement with the rabbi uniquely required that members would continue to lead half of all Shabbat services. A similar commitment to active leadership and participation by our members still exists today, although our Rabbi and Cantor now lead most services throughout the year. JRC members continue to participate actively in many parts of the service and we still have several “member-led” services throughout the year.
Rabbi Rachlis was installed as JRC’s Rabbi by Rabbi Ira Eisenstein, his teacher and JRC’s original inspirational force. Within weeks of the installation, we moved from Chute to the First Baptist Church, an ecumenical first in Evanston. Although serious consideration was given to adopting a Hebrew name for JRC, consensus could not be reached.
Growth and reorganization were continuing themes for the next years. The rabbi’s position had become a full-time one and the school committee asked that enrollment be limited. By 1978, JRC membership approached 160 families – double the size just 5 years earlier.
In the fall of 1978, the school, having reopened its enrollment, expanded to 120 students and added weekday classes to the formerly weekend-only program. Adult education mini-courses were established to accommodate parents on Sundays.
We kept growing, and in August, 1980, rolled up our sleeves (again), packed, and moved to new quarters at Covenant United Methodist Church. The first congregational trip to Israel occurred that summer. By spring, 1982, we expanded to over 200 families with more than 175 children.
During the next 3 years the subject of a permanent home, our own shul, came up in discussions again and again. After serious debate and soul-searching, the momentous decision was made and, in 1985, we moved into our synagogue building at 303 Dodge Avenue in Evanston. There were to be no more temporary homes for JRC in which we were guests, and no limited space for our school. We had arrived home. Because of the concerted efforts of our members and the extraordinary dedication of individuals skilled in matters of architecture, law, fundraising and the art of negotiation, JRC is now able to welcome new members into our own synagogue building without limits set by someone other than ourselves.
In 1988, a pre-school director was hired to coordinate early childhood classes as well as a pre-school summer camp. We also hired a part-time cantor.
Rabbi Arnold Rachlis relocated to California in July, 1992. In August of 1993 we welcomed Rabbi Richard Hirsh as the new Rabbi of JRC.
In the past two years, we have instituted new programs and practices to help meet the growing needs of JRC. Our “Friends and Neighbors” (FAN) program is bringing small groups of JRC members together in their neighborhoods. Our Friday evening rotation of informal Farbrengens, family Torah services, guest speakers, and discussion, meets the needs of the diverse group within JRC.
Today we are a 500 plus family congregation, and it bears repeatin; most of all, JRC is about people - our members. Our congregation is as diverse as the American Jewish community, including observant and nonobservant Jews, interfaith families, blended families, people of color, gays and lesbians, believers and nonbelievers.
||JRC.Evanston.aPlatinum.Leeds.certified.Synagogue.jpg||JRC a Platinum certified Synagogue||JRC.our.Ark.from.recycled.materials.jpg||Our Ark from recycled materials||JRC.ourBima.jpg||Our Bima||JRC.youthprogramming.jpg||Youth Programming||JRC.Services.jpg||Services||JRC.Simchat.Torah.jpg||Simchat Torah JRC Style||JRC.Tikun.Olam.NewOrleans.style.jpg||Tikun Olan New Orleans Style|| |
|460||Jan 26 2012 - 12:20pm||Anonymous||18.104.22.168||Congregation Beth-El Zedeck||Indianapolis||Indiana||Gale Halperin and Shari Lipp-Levine||1928||Steven Crell - President
Ellen Gabovitch - 1st Vice-President
Rebecca Geyer - 2nd Vice-President
Brian Nachlis - Treasurer
Paul Felix - Secretary||Beth-El Zedeck (The House of the God of Righteousness) has kept pace with the changes of modern Jewish thought and practice while embracing the warmth and richness of our religious civilization. In 1955 Beth-El Zedeck became a founding member of the Federation of Reconstructionist Congregations while retaining its affiliation with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. The synagogue supports equal participation by men and women in every aspect of the congregation. Beth-El Zedeck is a traditional, yet innovative synagogue where we experience Judaism as “the evolving religious civilization of the Jewish people.” We are a large congregation, yet we are dedicated to creating an environment of personal warmth, caring and spiritual growth for all members. Our biblical motto, Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof – “Justice, justice you shall pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20), commits us to be agents of Tikkun Olam, the perfection of society and the world. Rabbis Dennis and Sandy Sasso, the first husband and wife rabbinical couple in Jewish history, have been our spiritual leaders since 1977. Rabbi Dennis Sasso is a past chairman of the Race Relations Leadership Network and serves on the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, the boards of United Way of Central Indiana and the Lake Institute for Faith and Giving of the IUPUI Center on Philanthropy. Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso is the first woman to be ordained by the Reconstructionist Movement and to serve a Conservative congregation. She also serves on the Lake Institute board and is past Chair of the Indianapolis Spirit and Place Festival and of Gleaners Food Bank. She is the author of nationally acclaimed children’s books. Ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, the rabbis hold earned and honorary doctorates. Both are past Presidents of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association. Cantor Giora Sharon has been with the congregation since 1999. The rabbinic and lay leadership of the synagogue have attained local and rabbinical recognition, and our congregation has been commended for its innovative and creative programming. From our Early Childhood Center for ages 12 months to kindergarten, to our Religious School for grades kindergarten to 10th grade, to an active Sisterhood and Men’s Club, Beth-El Zedeck offers something for everyone.||Beth-El Zedeck.IN.building||Our beautiful synagouge||Beth-El Zedeck.IN.RabbisOfficersExecutiveDirector||Our Rabbis, Officers and Executive Director||Beth-El Zedeck.IN.adult B'nai Mitzvah||Adult B'nai Mitzvah||Beth-El Zedeck.IN.EarlyChildhood||Early Childhood fun||Beth-El Zedeck.IN.Mitzvah Day1||Mitzvah Day||Beth-El Zedeck.IN.MitzvahDay2||Cleaning at a Shelter||Beth-El Zedeck.IN.Hamantaschen||Baking Hamantaschen|| |
|463||Jan 31 2012 - 8:45pm||Anonymous||22.214.171.124||Or Zarua: Reconstructionist Havurah of the East Bay||Berkeley||CA||Emily Galpern||2004||Emily Galpern, President
Jeff Burack, Treasurer
Carol Caine, Secretary
Board Members: Ross Andelman, Ann Lopata, Sara Sarasohn||Or Zarua is a community of families and individuals striving to build a welcoming, intimate, progressive, and spiritual Jewish community. We gather monthly for member-led Shabbat services, as well as for holidays, simchas, and study. Our services are characterized by spirited singing, thoughtful discussion, and a participatory spirit. Or Zarua celebrates diversity in our community, including LGBTQI people, singles, people with partners from other faiths, and people or color. Children are encouraged to participate in the services. Childcare is also available. ||OrZarua.California.CongregationalLeadershipAndGovernance||Bi-annual communty meeting||OrZarua.California.Rituals1||Our "triple wedding' when same sex marriage was briefly legal in California!||OrZarua.California.Rituals2||Procession at triple wedding!||OrZarua.California.Rituals3||Getting ready for the kids' song at triple wedding||OrZarua.California.RegionalEvent1||Hamentaschen task force||OrZarua.California.RegionalEvent2||First hamentaschen making for our youngest member|| |
|464||Feb 21 2012 - 1:51pm||Anonymous||126.96.36.199||Kavita||CFabFSmFLf||VAAqRjJNacMHdkgWpb||Kavita||HVbeAIKUVt||So much to do, in so llttie time, I run all over, I seldom do drive. Some think I'm crazy, some think I'm crass, check out these legs, they're hairless and fast!||So much to do, in so llttie time, I run all over, I seldom do drive. Some think I'm crazy, some think I'm crass, check out these legs, they're hairless and fast!||Kavita||rrEhvyyrdiRyLLcrU||Kavita||QTeAJCSfGwpzXzjs||Kavita||kpJLylyBXmQTl||Kavita||eANJXMXLkysyyNMrOdf||Kavita||YroUCVgmJESG||Kavita||ofKvEhwlESGriPwCZVh||Kavita||rdVjlbfJYD||Kavita||ECrHFzDwgucWVUioxuY||Kavita||IpdNZvleVLSi||Kavita||oFacjOUqumiMOXMGBHH |