Is Reconstructionist Judaism for you?
Hunger and Poverty
This is an archive of material created by the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation before June 2012. For current and new Reconstructionist content, go to
Areas of Engagement
New York/New Jersey
Reconstructionism Today Magazine
Weekly Portion Divrei Torah Bank
STEP 2 - JRF Salutes Legacy Book - Congregational Information Form
STEP 2 - JRF Salutes Legacy Book - Congregational Information Form
Submitted by Anonymous
Friday, January 13, 2012 - 4:29pm
Congregation's Official Name:
What is the name of the city in which this congregation is located?
In which state or province is your congregation located?
What is your name?
Year of Founding:
In what year was your congregation founded?
Guy Pancer President Sandra Flannery Vice President Marty Stransky Treasurer Lisa Chamberlain Secretary
Please name your congregation's current officers and their positions.
About Your Community:
Aaron and Rose Pomerantz were the first Jewish family to settle in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, sometime before the turn of the century. By 1921, there were fifteen Jewish families, meeting for religious services at the Pomerantz home. Because their numbers were growing, they decided to search for a suitable site for a synagogue. They came upon Charlie Lee’s old carpenter shop on North Street, once a schoolhouse. Aaron Pomerantz and Ike Broverman signed a mortgage in 1921, but there were not funds for renovations. A fundraising committee was formed that came up with an original, and even spectacular idea! A group of the more musically talented members traveled the countryside every Sunday giving concerts of Yiddish and Hebrew songs. Isadore Seader was usually the soloist and was billed as the “Little Hazan.” This little group of dedicated congregants attracted many appreciative audiences and, therefore, was able to raise enough money to complete the renovations by 1922. The synagogue then successfully petitioned for a charter in 1926 and was named “Love of Peace” synagogue. There were seven founding members, some of which have descendents among our congregants today. In 1954, the synagogue adopted its current Hebrew name: “Ahavath Sholom.” From early in the shul’s history until the 1980s, Rabbi Jacob Axelrod led the congregation, and also served as Great Barrington’s kosher butcher. For many years, his shop stood next to the synagogue. After Rabbi Axelrod’s passing, the synagogue functioned with dedicated lay leadership. In the 1990s, Rabbi Bob Gluck, a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinic College, became spiritual leader of the congregation, and Ahavath Sholom subsequently joined the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation. After Rabbi Gluck left the congregation, Ahavath Sholom was served by four wonderful student rabbis from RRC. In 2005, the congregation welcomed Barbara Cohen as their spiritual leader. She and her husband Mark led an ambitious program to restore and renovate the historic shul—the oldest continuously operating building of Jewish worship in Berkshire County. Like the founders of Ahavath Sholom, a fundraising committee used music as the means to accrue money for the renovations—with three years of sold-out concerts, featuring a local Klezmer band, the Knaydels, with Barbara Cohen as vocalist. Today, Congregation Ahavath Sholom is a warm and welcoming community, in which people of many backgrounds can come together to worship and explore the richness of the Jewish tradition. Members of Ahavath Sholom are not mere observers but active participants in all aspects of synagogue community life. We provide opportunities for our members to grow in knowledge in order to make informed decisions about their personal and religious lives. All are encouraged to choose a level of participation that is comfortable for them. A variety of committees provides possibilities that appeal to the interests of our diverse membership. Friday night and Saturday morning worship, festival, and High Holy Day services are participatory through congregant involvement in liturgy, Torah, music and discussion. The thoughtful guidance of our Board, the Religious and Spiritual Life committee, working hand in hand with our Spiritual Leader, reflect one of the deeply held values of Reconstructionism and Congregation Ahavath Sholom...the respectful partnership of leader and congregation in creating a healthy religious community. Inclusiveness is a central aspect of a Reconstructionist community. We welcome all Jews and those with an interest in exploring Judaism regardless of race, sexual orientation, financial ability, or prior knowledge of Judaism or the Hebrew language. We respect the interfaith backgrounds of many of our members and families and deeply appreciate the decision to commit to participation in our synagogue. Our Religious School provides a nurturing and meaningful learning environment for our children with an emphasis on creating a lifelong love of Judaism: a sense of joy, confidence, and rootedness in our religion.
Please provide a paragraph or so about your community. Who's a part of it? What sets your congregation apart?
Now, please give us some information about your photos
In the boxes below, please type the name of each Photo, using the naming instructions from the e-mail. File naming instructions: Congregation Name.State.Category.(#).jpg For instance, if Congregation Beit Tikvah in Maryland has a picture that represents Tikkun Olam, it should look like this: CongregationBeitTikvah.MD.TikkunOlam.jpg If Congregation Beit Tikvah in Maryland has 2 pictures that represent Tikkun Olam, they should add a number after the Category to let us know which picture of Tikkun Olam we are seeing. It should look like this: CongregationBeitTikvah.MD.TikkunOlam.1.jpg. Please also give us the caption that should go along with each photo.
Photo 1 Name:
Photo 1 Caption:
In this box, please write the caption that should go along with Photo 1.
Photo 2 Name:
Photo 2 Caption:
In this box, please write the caption that should go along with Photo 2.
Photo 3 Name:
Photo 3 Caption:
In this box, please write the caption that should go along with Photo 3.
Photo 4 Name:
Photo 4 Caption:
In this box, please write the caption that should go along with Photo 4.
Photo 5 Name:
Photo 5 Caption:
In this box, please write the caption that should go along with Photo 5.
Photo 6 Name:
Photo 6 Caption:
In this box, please write the caption that should go along with Photo 6.
Photo 7 Name:
Photo 7 Caption:
In this box, please write the caption that should go along with Photo 7.
Photo 8 Name:
Photo 8 Caption:
In this box, please write the caption that should go along with Photo 8.
Photo 9 Name:
Photo 9 Caption:
In this box, please write the caption that should go along with Photo 9.
Photo 10 Name:
Photo 10 Caption:
In this box, please write the caption that should go along with Photo 10.