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About Us

Congregation Shaarai Shomayim is Lancaster's Reform synagogue, and the center of Jewish life in Central PA. At Congregation Shaarai Shomayim, we offer a multitude of opportunities beyond the traditional for people to engage, learn more, and live Jewishly. We are committed to diversity and inclusion in all that we do.

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.

Our Mission

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

Our Congregational Brit

Based upon our common heritage and a shared vision for the future, we, the members of Congregation Shaarai Shomayim, enter into this covenant in the spirit of our ancestors who entered into a covenant with God at Sinai generations ago. We pledge to continue the proud traditions of this congregation as an enduring Jewish presence in Central Pennsylvania for more than 250 years. Together, we will continue to build a Kehillah Kedoshah, a sacred community, and hereby describe our sense of purpose and mission through the Hebrew names traditionally used for our place of worship: Bet K’Nesset, Bet T’filah, Bet Midrash and Bet Tzedek.

Beit K’Nesset  (House of Gathering) - We strive to treat each other with Kavod (honor) and to support each other through times of joy and sorrow as Mishpacha (family). In the spirit of G’milut Chasadim (acts of loving kindness), we will welcome the stranger and embrace the diversity of our congregation, for we were once strangers in a strange land. We especially strive to be a safe space for LGBTQ+ individuals.

Beit T’filah  (House of  Prayer) - We will strive to make worship meaningful to all of our members and enable individuals to feel God’s presence in their lives. We will seek to support each other spiritually and to unite our congregation in worship. Through the words and the music we choose, we will celebrate Shabbat and each chag (holiday) in a spirit appropriate to the occasion.

Beit Midrash (House of  Study) - We will guide one another to understand Torah in its broadest possible context and meaning. We will support our educational program to meet the needs of our congregation, from preschoolers to adults, and foster an environment for lifelong learning. We also will continue to support informal Jewish learning and growth for our congregational family.

Beit Tzedek (House of  Justice) - We will work continually to create a congregation dedicated to the principles of Tikkun Olam (repair of the world) and Tzedakah (charity). We will pursue justice in our local and global communities through political and social action.

We strive to be a Ner L’Atid, a light to the future.

Our Partners

Fri, June 21 2024 15 Sivan 5784