In 1916 ten Jewish families met so as to establish a Jewish House of Worship in Greenwich, CT, and in 1917 they formally founded the Greenwich Hebrew Institute which would become the leader within the greater Greenwich community and home to generations of Jewish families.
Initially, High Holiday services were held in Abrams Hall on Greenwich Avenue.
In 1919, a small house was purchased on East Elm Street and a charter was granted by the State of Connecticut.
Regular Shabbat Services were inaugurated in 1925.
For the next thirty-five years, the Greenwich Hebrew Institute was the heart of religious and cultural activities for the Jewish community in town.
By the early 1950’s, a new commuter population grew, contributing different views and ideas and the East Elm Street facilities were no longer adequate.
In 1953 the building was sold to the Town of Greenwich and the Greenwich YMCA allowed the Jewish religious services to be held at their building.
The religious school classes were hosted by First Presbyterian Church.
In 1955 the Greenwich Hebrew Institute was renamed Temple Sholom and became the “Putnam Hill” neighbor to Christ Church (Episcopal), and a major religious influence and source of pride within Greenwich, Fairfield County and Westchester County.
In 1990, to accommodate the needs of a rapidly growing congregation and Religious School, a new building was erected and in 2000, because of further growth, the Hershaft Pavillion was constructed, adding eleven new classrooms as well as other educational facilities.
From our original ten families, to a membership of ninety families in 1950, Temple membership has grown to include more than six hundred and fifty families today.
A congregation that started with just enough members for a minyan now holds a primary High Holiday service with more than sixteen hundred congregants worshiping, and a special family service with more than six hundred in attendance.
The welfare of the wider greater Greenwich community, including Port Chester, Rye Brook, Armonk and Stamford, has always been of primary importance to our congregation.
For many years the Temple has provided facilities for the Red Cross Blood Bank, pre-school vision screening, and other groups.
Many ecumenical programs, such as the community Thanksgiving Service and a Martin Luther King memorial service, are held at the Temple.
We have sought to involve and teach others about Judaism through our House Beautiful and Judaica exhibits, and workshops and tours through the synagogue.
As the new members with their ideas were welcomed by “the natives” in the 1950’s so we continue to welcome new and younger members today, ensuring that Temple Sholom remains a vibrant, energetic and committed congregation.