|Founders of Temple Sholom (Left to Right):
Mayer Bennett, Mr. & Mrs. Nathan Kletz,
I.J Weiss and Samuel Bennett
In 1917, ten families founded a synagogue that would become the visible center for a community where Jewish people could come, be welcome, and maintain their Jewish heritage.
Initially, High Holiday services were held in Abrams Hall on Greenwich Avenue. In 1919, a small house was purchased on East Elm Street. For the next thirty-five years, the Greenwich Hebrew Institute was the heart of religious and cultural activities for the Jewish community in town. At first, the Jewish population grew slowly, and then, more rapidly.
By the early 1950’s, not only the size, but also the character of the congregation had changed. From a membership of small shopkeepers and professionals who lived and worked in Greenwich, a new commuter population grew, contributing different views and ideas. The newcomers were welcomed and the synthesis of old and new formed the basis for Temple Sholom. From the beginning, Temple Sholom has attracted and welcomed members from Greenwich as well as from neighboring communities, including Port Chester, Rye Brook, Armonk and Stamford.
|"Old Shul", Temple Sholom in 1965
In 1955, after years of hard work,Temple Sholom became a “Putnam Hill” neighbor to Christ Church (Episcopal), and a major religious influence, source of pride, accomplishment and stability.
In 1990, to accommodate the needs of a rapidly growing congregation and the Religious School, a new building was erected on the site of the previous one. In 2000, because of even further growth, another large addition to the school wing, the Hershaft Pavillion, was constructed to add eleven new classrooms as well as other educational facilities.
From our original ten families, to a membership of ninety families in 1950, Temple membership has grown to include more than six hundred families. The Religious School has grown to serve more than three hundred and twenty five students. A congregation that started with just enough members for a minyan now holds a primary High Holiday service with more than sixteen hundred congregants worshiping, and a special family service with more than five hundred in attendance.
|Temple Sholom Sunday School class -
Daled grade in 1965
The Ladies Auxiliary, founded in 1924, provided for the education of the children, the teaching of Jewish values in the home, social, religious and cultural experiences for its members, and projects for the benefit of the congregation. The present day Sisterhood continues to fulfill these original goals.
The welfare of the wider Greenwich community has always been of primary importance to our congregation. For many years the Temple has provided facilities for the Red Cross Blood Bank, pre-school vision screening, and other groups. Many ecumenical programs, such as the community Thanksgiving Service and a Martin Luther King memorial service are held at the Temple. We have sought to involve and teach others about Judaism through our House Beautiful and Judaica exhibits, and workshops and tours through the synagogue.
As the new members with their ideas were welcomed by “the natives” in the 1950’s so we continue to welcome new and younger members today, ensuring that Temple Sholom remains a vibrant, energetic and committed congregation.
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