Who We Are

WHO WE ARE

Our Past and Future

Temple Sholom’s history began more than 60 years ago in a rented storefront where we celebrated the High Holidays. Our pioneering founders were mainly young families with small children, recent émigrés from crowded city apartments moving to the brick single-family homes and sunny apartment complexes of Eastern Queens. While many of them had been raised in Orthodox and Conservative homes, they opted for Reform Judaism as offering them and their children new possibilities for spiritual growth, inspiration, and engagement as Jews.

We moved from the storefront into our own new synagogue building around 1958 and then expanded to include a large Religious School, all on the corner of 263rd Street and Union Turnpike. Eventually Temple Sholom faced the same demographic challenges as so many other city and suburban synagogues. Unlike so many other synagogues however, Temple Sholom made the decision to downsize rather than merge; what made this possible was selling our old building and exploring alternate ways of building and sustaining our community.

If you are new to Temple Sholom, we hope you will visit us in our temporary quarters at the Jewish Center of Oak Hills, while alternate models are being explored. The pioneering spirit of our founders lives on, and we are still experimenting, deciding on how much and what type of innovation we want as we learn more about ourselves and explore the gift of our Jewish heritage and as we decide what we want to do next to build a sacred community.

Committees

Small committees can “get things done” with true efficiency in a small-scale organization like Temple Sholom. We view our committees as teams, led by captains rather than chairpersons with titles and gavels. Small teams that are built around shared interests and friendships (like the “Bagel Boys” who are members of the Mazon/NourishmentTeam) can also make good use of informal communications and can serve, to bring new people along and incorporate them into ongoing Temple life. One team captain said: “No need for bureaucracy because we know each other.” Another captain observed that we build community when we work together, even at unglamorous tasks like folding and sealing the monthly newsletter or pasting stamps on large-scale Temple mailings.

 

In addition to a standing Ritual committee, Temple Sholom has three small teams organized by function:

The Chesed Team
Chesed means kindness and this team is committed to creating a caring community. Its membership can be expected to increase as congregants train with our Cantor to lead Shiva Minyan services and perform Bikur Cholim, visiting the sick.

The Mazon Team
Mazon means food or nourishment and this team is committed to nourishing the body; it organizes food for our various functions (planning, purchasing, preparing and serving). Mazon, like all committees/teams, is coed, but it originated with the Bagel Boys, who saw a need for refreshments before Saturday morning Torah Study and worked together to meet this need.

The K’hilah Team
K’hilah means community, or congregation; this team is committed to the recruitment, welcoming and integration of new members .