Garden Spot Village in New Holland will launch this summer’s Meet the Congregations presentation series on Mon., June 9, with a program on Congregation Shaarai Shomayim, the fourth oldest Jewish community in the United States.
“We encourage our neighbors from throughout the community to join us and learn more about the rich heritage of faith in the Lancaster County area,” said Chet Yoder, director of pastoral care at Garden Spot Village. “The six programs in this year’s series each will feature a speaker from a pre-Reformationcongregation.”
Speaker for the June 9 program is Rabbi Jack Paskoff. A graduate of Brandeis University and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Paskoff served student congregations in Pennsylvania and New York and was associate rabbi at AnsheEmeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick, N.J., before coming to Shaarai Shomayim in July 1993.
Shaarai Shomayim, which means “The Gates of Heaven,” was chartered on Nov. 17, 1856. Services were held in members’ homes until 1867, when the congregation found its first permanent home at the corner of East Orange and North Christian streets in Lancaster. It moved to its present home at Duke and James streets in 1896. Since then, Shaarai Shomayim has expanded the temple building severaltimes to meet the needs of its growing congregation. Since 1888, the congregation has been a member of the Union for Reform Judaism.
“We look forward learning more about Judaism and other spiritual practices thatpre-date the Christian Reformation,” Yoder said.
Each session of Meet the Congregations features a leader from a different congregation. The scheduled presentations are:
June 9 Rabbi Jack Paskoff, Congregation Shaarrai Shomayim, Lancaster
June 16 Pastor Lloyd Elias Scalyer, Seed of Abraham Messianic Jewish Congregation, Lititz
June 23 Father Phil Rodgers, St. Benedict’s Roman Catholic Church, Mohnton
June 30 Father Stephen Vernak, Christ the Savior Orthodox Church, Harrisburg
July 14 Father Bill Kenney, Christ Our Savior Anglican Church, New Holland
July 21 Father John Colin Obenchain, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Gap.
The presentations begin at 7 p.m. in the chapel at Garden Spot Village, located at 433 S. Kinzer Ave. in New Holland.
A not-for-profit retirement community, Garden Spot Village is home to all faiths and backgrounds. It is affiliated with the Lancaster Mennonite Conference of the Mennonite Church, the Atlantic Coast Conference of the Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Health Services. The community’s mission is “to enrich the lives of older adults as an expression of Christ’s love.”
Meet the Congregations presentations are open to residents of Garden Spot Village and the general public. There is no charge for admission and no pre-registration is required. For more information, please call Chet Yoder,director of pastoral care, at 717-355-6203.