The Reform Temple of Putnam Valley
A Brief History
The dream to build a temple in Putnam Valley began in February 1967 with three families meeting in a home on Oscawana Lake Road. More meetings continued in an old library building on Morrissey Drive. It was not long before Grace Church, at that time located on Church Road, where the Reform Temple stands today, offered us the use of their sanctuary. The first service was held June 15, 1967. The first call to worship as follows: “The Reform Temple of Putnam Valley extends a warm welcome to its friends and neighbors to join us for Sabbath Service Friday evenings in our Sanctuary. Sit among the hallowed walls of a building that served as one of the first religious sanctuaries in the Valley well over a century ago. Enjoy coffee and good conversation around a blazing fire in our Social Hall during the winter after Services. Capture the Sabbath spirit in the traditional Oneg Shabbat. My House shall be a House of Worship for all people…rich and poor, young and old, troubled and untroubled.” After Grace Church expanded to a larger facility on Peekskill Hollow Road, Reform Temple purchased the building. Without the dream and vision of these foundling members and the kindness and generosity of Grace Church, would the Reform Temple exist today?
Fifteen years later on the morning of October 28, 1982, a fire totally destroyed the original historic 148 year old building. Two firemen saved our 200-year-old Torah that had survived Nazi Germany, that we use today. After this disaster, the long and difficult task to rebuild began. Churches, Community Organizations and Synagogues from our community and from all over the United States helped to provide funds in our time of need. A ground breaking ceremony was held on June 29, 1986. In place of the burnt down carriage house classrooms were built. Several years later the Social Hall was added. A Sanctuary Dedication Service was held on Sunday, December 13, 1987.
We have come a long way as we continue to dream new dreams of growth and expansion. Surely one thing that we have learned from the history of mankind, the history of the Jewish people and the history of the Reform Temple, is that nothing worthwhile comes easy. The Reform Temple, like its Torah, has survived the most difficult to times, has prevailed and moved forward. And that is what we continue to do today.
“Blessed art thou, Lord our God, King of the Universe who has given us life, has sustained us and who has permitted us to reach this joyous occasion.”