At Congregation Shaarai Shomayim we learn, we worship, we pursue justice, and we experience Jewish Life in a welcoming family environment.


At Congregation Shaarai Shomayim, we offer a multitude of opportunities beyond the traditional for people to engage and learn more. From our active Sisterhood and Brotherhood organizations to Youth Groups to our choir, Chavrai Zamir, and the unique stylings of The Chopped Liver River Band, 'fun' is a guiding principle. 

We also have a special focus on Jewish education. Shaarai's Religious School, Sh'arim, provides students with exciting, engaging, hands-on Jewish learning experiences while providing the literacy they will need to become practicing Jewish adults. We view Jewish learning as a lifelong process and adult education is a tradition at our Congregation. 



Executive Director

Ben Wachstein comes to Shaarai Shomayim after three and a half years as the executive director at Beth El Temple in Harrisburg. Ben has an extensive history working in the Jewish community, working with Reform synagogues in the Philadelphia suburbs, Hillel, BBYO and Jewish Federation. Ben also spent close to 18 years managing an entertainment business that provides educational and motivational programs for all ages.

Ben is a bit of a technology geek, so you will often find him looking at the latest gadgets and programs that will enhance the lives of the Shaarai Shomayim staff and community. And if you are looking to get on his good side, feel free to drop off a bag of Cheez It (regular variety please).

Ben's job responsibilities for Shaarai Shomayim will be evolving. As our first Executive Director, his job description will be built over time. It includes fiscal and physical realities of the Congregation, communications, day-to-day operations, and working alongside our Rabbi, Jack Paskoff, and our Board, in setting the vision for our Congregation in the future.

Ben is married to Amanda, a Lancaster and Shaarai Shomayim native, and together they have a nine year old daughter named Mila.

Tue, September 19 2017 28 Elul 5777