Our History

Our HistoryOur congregants come from traditional Jewish backgrounds as well as those from non-Jewish backgrounds. The Riverdale Temple community includes families (both traditional and nontraditional), couples and singles, as well as the GLBT community (couples and singles). We were the very first Jewish congregation in Riverdale and we remain the area's only Union for Reform Judaism-affiliated congregation.

The synagogue was officially established in 1947 with 67 founding families. Rabbi Charles Shulman was recruited from Chicago to become our first spiritual leader.He sought to establish and to provide both a spiritual and an intellectual understanding of the Jewish religion and to make it exciting and challenging and democratic and where the people share in its celebration. We continue to maintain that focus and that commitment.  Our current building was formally dedicated in September of 1954. Our chronological history tells only a small portion about our identity as a thriving, growing congregation. Much has changed in the community of Riverdale in the past 60 years. Every branch and interpretation of Jewish practice is well represented. Our purpose is no longer to serve as "the" representative of Judaism. Our goal is to offer a warm, progressive congregation to those individuals and families seeking a welcoming, family-friendly and innovative environment. We are committed to an inclusive approach to Jewish life, and celebrate the diversity of our membership.