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		                                    about us		                                </span>

History

The founders: Neil Leibman z”l, A. Leo Levin z”l, Eric Korngold z”l, and Leon Korngold. Picture taken circa 1999. (Not pictured: George Castle z”l)

 

Lower Merion Synagogue (“LMS”) began in 1954 with just five families, and has grown into the largest Orthodox Synagogue in Pennsylvania. LMS was incorporated in 1957, (click here to articles of incorporation)

 

Our current location, at 123 Old Lancaster Road, Bala Cynwyd, was purchased in 1956. The property included a three-story dwelling. We held our first services there in 1957, and it remained our main synagogue until 1980. We used the living room as our shul, and the dining room as a kiddush area. In 1958, as the Lower Merion Synagogue was growing, we decided to engage a full-time rabbi. Our first rabbi was Rabbi Jerome Herzog, followed by Rabbi Aaron Rothkoff, and then Rabbi Eli Lazar.

 

By 1967, our membership had grown to about 50 families, and Rabbi Abraham A. Levene joined us. His knowledge of Torah, friendly smile, his welcoming attitude toward children and to Jews of every affiliation, and his warm and capable Rebbetzin and children, brought stability to our synagogue. The shul expanded exponentially and a new building was completed in 1980. We thought we would never have a membership large enough to fill the new sanctuary, but with Rabbi Levene’s expert leadership and personal connection with each and every member, we shortly outgrew our newly-built facilities. By the 1990s, we felt the need to expand once again. The three-story dwelling served as our Beit Midrash until its demolition in 2001 to make way for a larger synagogue to accommodate our continually growing community. The Synagogue is graced with beautiful stained glass windows in our main sanctuary. A history and description of the beautiful stained glass windows can be found here.

 

In 2008, Rabbi Levene retired, and we welcomed our current spiritual leader Rabbi Avraham J. Shmidman. His incredible energy and broad vision for the community have resulted in an enormous expansion in minyanim and programming of all types at our shul. He has also been the driving force behind the building of a mikvah worthy of our community, as well as helping to build other community institutions. Last but not least, his warm and capable Rebbitzin and sons have enriched our shul and community beyond measure. Membership has expanded dramatically, so much so that in 2018, our main sanctuary, Beit Midrash, social hall, meeting rooms, classrooms, and library are all at capacity, with our membership exceeding 450 families. We face the challenges of success with every confidence in a bright future.

Mon, May 25 2020 2 Sivan 5780