The Pelham Jewish Center is a creation of its members. Every aspect of life at the PJC — worship, the Learning Center, adult education, the comfort of mourners and the celebration of smachot, governance, finance, social action, interfaith and community relations — involves leadership and intense participation by the shul community.
Becoming a member of the PJC is an affirmative act. Pelham and its neighboring towns and villages, have no scarcity of Jewish resources and institutions. Many members pass at least one other shul on their way to the PJC. They come to the PJC because they have chosen to engage with and build a synagogue that is open, intimate, and authentic.
Openness: to Jews of all origins, colors, levels of observance, and at all stages of their journeys, and to their partners, whatever their gender identification or religious background. Fifteen percent of our congregation consists of interfaith families, many of whose non-Jewish members are regulars at services and active participants in synagogue life.
Intimacy: with people whose acceptance is a given; at melodious services where all of us make up the “choir;” when we attend shiva and, inevitably, sit shiva ourselves; when we linger at kiddush long after the last black-and-whites and rugelach are gone and with a rabbi whom each one of us expects to know and who wants to know each one of us.
Authenticity: the opportunity to be oneself. Our services are in Hebrew and there are transliterated siddurim if you need one. The Shabbat dress code is informal. There are no assigned seats, or even tickets, at High Holiday services and honors don’t bear price tags.
The PJC traces its beginnings to 1953, when a small group of devoted founders established it above a storefront, in a town with few Jews. Fifty years later, our community was hosted by local churches for two years while our building was renovated. The PJC’s growth in size and stature over the generations, while retaining its intimacy and spirit of self-reliance, is a testament to those who created it, and who have continuously nurtured it.