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About Us > History



THEN . . .

In 1952, in a neighborhood of 17 churches, the Jewish Community Center of Ridgewood was founded in a little house on Oak Street  with a membership of 60 families.  Serving most of the Northwest Bergen area, this center was dedicated to the promotion of social, civic, educational and religious interests.  In the early 1960's a new building was constructed at its present location, 475 Grove Street, for the  congregation which had swelled to 126 families.  It became known as Temple Israel and Jewish Community Center.    Today, Temple Israel and Jewish Community Center has grown into a vibrant congregation of nearly 300 families, housed in a spacious and modern facility, most recently expanded and renovated in 2001.



AND NOW . . .

Our traditional Conservative, egalitarian services are just the right size to enjoy an intimate haimish atmosphere that is also energized by the enthusiasm and commitment of the participants.  Guided by Rabbi David J. Fine through prayer and stimulating discussions, and complemented by the beautiful musicality of Cantor Caitlin Bromberg, our services are a confluence of Jewish experience levels and perspectives as well as voices.  We also invite adults and children onto the bimah to lead many of the prayers and encourage their active participation in the services. Children can also opt for one of the several age-appropriate children’s programs and services held each Shabbat.


Under the guidance of our full-time Educational Director Rabbi Sharon Litwin, our religious school serves more than 110 children.  We have a Jewish Holidays and Festivals class for 3 year olds, in addition to our programs for Pre-K/4 year olds through children in the 7th Grade/Hey class. Our many families celebrate their children’s B’nai Mitzvah together with the community each year, with many of the students continuing their studies at prominent Hebrew High Schools.


There are no strangers at Temple Israel, only friends.  How many congregations can boast their own Casino Night, monthly Shabbat dinners, family sporting and cultural outings, a winning softball team in the Ridgewood area Church league, an active senior citizens group, youth groups, several Havurot (groups of friends who get together for social, cultural, and educational events), and a Purim Carnival where the adults’ costumes rival the kids’?  Our shul engenders a sense of belonging through an extensive calendar of activities, classes, lectures, discussions and other educational opportunities, as well as frequent social gatherings to schmooze and get caught up.


We are truly the synagogue that never sleeps, nor stands still.  We continue to grow through our collective energies and determination to build a positive Jewish identity for ourselves, our children and our community.

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