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We are excited to share that Temple Shalom was recently named one of eight winners from across North America of the 2019 Union for Reform Judaism’s Belin Awards for our program, Honoring a Loved One’s Yahrzeit . The Belin Award recognizes Audacious Hospitality from URJ congregations in North America that demonstrate a high level of inclusion, impact, innovation, and replicability.

The program was conceived as a way to engage and retain existing members and attract new members by encouraging members to honor their loved one’s Yahrzeit and share personal, heartfelt memories. Congregants and their families are not only invited to say a few words remembering their loved ones at a Yahrzeit service, they are also invited to light the Shabbat candles (if there is not a Bar/Bat Mitzvah) at the beginning of a service with their family, inviting children, grandchildren, siblings, etc., even from out-of-town to attend. 

Tree of Life dedication

The weekend of January 10, 2020, we gathered for recognition, and remembrance of lives well lived, and a future secured: eleven congregants from Pittsburgh's Tree of Life community joined Temple Shalom for a weekend of prayer, learning and support. 

As Jews, the "Tree of Life" image is a symbol of our heritage. Ours, which is the highlight of our entryway for the sanctuary, reminds each of us of those who came before recognizing lifecycle events in their families lives.  At Temple shalom, we feel a deep connection to Pittsburgh's Tree of Life congregation in part due to our collective heritage.


When a group of our congregants visited Pittsburgh to show support, they returned with a desire to teach the next generation  we "must never forget" the horrific slaughter that occurred on American land.  Just as we remember the Holocaust,  Temple Shalom was not going to let this incident be swept under the rug.


To that end, a glass memorial was created and dedicated to the victims of crime, and our two congregations now weave the thread of remembrance together.  The attack that took place on October 27, 2018, killing eleven and injuring six people, will be forever remembered as a moment when we took action against hate.  

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