Rockdale close on $1 million fund

The oldest continuous Jewish congregation west of the Allegheny Mountains is close to achieving a $1 million fundraising campaign it launched a little more than a year ago.

Rockdale Temple went public this week with its fundraising campaign, which began in July 2021 and has since achieved $875,000 of the goal. The temple’s Bicentennial Fund campaign is designed to endow its senior rabbi position over the next two centuries.

Senior Rabbi Meredith Kahan

“Our goal is to build for the future through the Rockdale Temple Bicentennial Fund,” said Senior Rabbi Meredith Kahan, Rockdale Temple’s 10th Senior Rabbi. “We will secure Rockdale’s future by connecting through our values, sustaining our traditions, building upon our strengths and developing new leaders.”

The temple is located in Amberley Village and serves a congregation of more than 350 households.

In addition to its legacy as the oldest continuous congregation in America’s new frontier, Kehal Kodesh Bene Israel/Rockdale Temple – founded in 1824 – is the 11th oldest Jewish congregation in the country. With its 200th anniversary approaching, the Bicentennial Fund has the objective of ensuring that rabbinic leadership will carry on traditions of the past. When fully funded, the Bicentennial Fund will safeguard financial support of the senior rabbi position for the next 200 years.

“We are pleased by the congregation’s level of excitement about the Bicentennial Fund, and the overwhelming participation of support the fund has received in its early days,” said Dr. David Schwartz and Josh Shapiro, co-chairs of the campaign.

The amount raised so far has come from gifts from congregants and donors, including some who are no longer members of the temple.

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