The-Jewish-Community-of-Amherst

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The Jewish Community of Amherst

by Irving Seidman

This is the story of how a widely diverse group of Jews new to Amherst wished to connect to each other for the sake of their children’s Jewish identities and their own.

How word-of-mouth connections led them to establish two different Jewish committees that coalesced to form the Jewish Community of Amherst.

How a Torah carried to safety from a small town in Poland invaded by Nazis became the JCA’s first Torah.

How, without a building, the JCA’s wandering in Amherst created the imperative to find a home.

How the JCA’s bid to purchase the sanctuary and parish hall of the Second Congregational Church hung by the thread of a vote by the Zoning Board of Appeals.

How rabbinic guidance helped the JCA face the challenge of becoming true to its name.

How the establishment of its cemetery revealed the JCA’s developing maturity and it member’s willingness to face mortality.

How the accomplishments of the founders and early members of the JCA established principles, structures and ways of being together that continue to influence the JCA today.