Sign In Forgot Password

About Us

 

Congregation Or Ami serves as the center for Jewish life in the Lafayette Hill area.  With over 300 families, we host a vibrant and inclusive religious school and one of the city's most respected early learning centers. We are proud of how each member brings his or her own story to our diverse community—such as those who have a multi-generational history at our congregation and those new to the city or Congregation Or Ami, of all ages and backgrounds who are seeking a Jewish community – a place to call home.


History

In 1947 a small group of women who had been meeting regularly for a social evening decided to form a club of interest to Jewish men and women. Calling themselves the “Jewish Community Group of Roxborough,” the group of Jewish men and women met often in various locales. By the following year, the need for a Jewish community center was determined and the fledgling congregation held its first High Holy Day Services in an empty house donated by one of its members. The group became affiliated with the Conservative movement.

In 1949 the congregation purchased the vacant Epiphany Lutheran Church in Roxborough. With a membership composed of 25 families, it became known as the Ivy Ridge Jewish Community Center. After several years of study and debate, the congregation voted to join the Reform Movement and became affiliated with the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.  Prompted by the move of many congregations to the suburbs, the congregation purchased a tract of land in Lafayette Hill. It is on this land that the present structure was dedicated on May 20, 1960 and enlarged in 1964. Subsequent major enlargements occurred in 1972 and 1990. Each took years of planning and resulted in modernization of the building.

In 1965, the Ivy Ridge Jewish Community Center became known as Congregation Or Ami. The name means “light of my people.” Judaism, at Or Ami, is viewed and experienced as an evolving religious civilization. It is the ongoing creation of the Jewish people, rooted in the dreams and tradition of the patriarchs, the prophets and the sages offering us the insight, wisdom and experience of four millennia of our people’s pilgrimage among the nations.

The congregation elected its first full-time rabbi, Rabbi Tibor Fabian, in July, 1961. Rabbi Seymour Prystowsky led the congregation from 1963 until his retirement in June 2001, when he became our Rabbi Emeritus. Rabbi Kenneth Carr was the spiritual leader of the Or Ami Community from July 2001 through June 2016. Rabbi Glenn Ettman served as interim Rabbi from July 2016 through June 2017, and he became the Senior Rabbi beginning in July 2017.  Cantor Jordan Franzel is our first full time cantor.

 

 

 

Fri, December 15 2017 27 Kislev 5778