By COLlive reporter
On Monday, June 6, 29th of Iyar, the Hebrew Congregation of Woodmont-Chabad celebrated 90 years since the synagogue’s founding with a gala dinner held in the Shul’s renovated social hall.
The congregation in Milford, Connecticut, was founded in 1926 by a dedicated group of Jewish vacationers who summered in the shoreline town. The fledgling synagogue’s membership steadily grew, and soon another building was built to accommodate the overflow crowds.
Over the next several decades after WWII, synagogue attendance steadily diminished, reflecting the decline of Woodmont from a once sought-after summer destination bustling with Jewish life and activity. The congregation weathered much uncertainty, and at one point considered closing its doors.
In 2007, Chabad of Milford was established by Rabbi Schneur and Chanie Wilhelm, who immediately partnered with the synagogue, expanding the existing summer operations into year-round services and programming.
In 2012, a devastating fire decimated the synagogue’s sanctuary, yet the congregation rebounded, vowing to rebuild. Today, the community is proud of the synagogue’s remarkable renaissance as it is once again a thriving center of Jewish life, serving the community both spiritually and physically.
Honored at the gala were two past presidents and their wives, Drs. Jay and Heidi Dworkin and Dr. David and Ina Fischer, along with the current president and his wife, Joel and Leslie Levitz.
Over 170 people were in attendance to mark this special milestone. The mayor of Milford, Mayor Ben Blake, read aloud a proclamation declaring June 6th as “Chabad of Milford Day.”
Senator Gayle Slossberg also addressed the crowd, and shared the importance of having a strong Jewish community. Glass Harpist Jamey Turner entertained during the cocktail hour with his unique instrument.
Attendees were able to “tour” the Shul building, which dates back to 1926, and which was utterly devastated by a fire in 2012. Since then, plans were drawn to restore the sanctuary and build a Jewish center around the Shul building.
At this point, the adjacent social hall has been renovated and extended, and the gala also served as the launching of a community-wide building campaign, “Building Together,” to raise the remaining funds necessary to complete the entire Jewish center. An interactive fundraising effort, with iPads on each table, allowed the gala attendees to contribute right at the dinner.
“We are so grateful to everyone who joined us at the gala and who shares in our mission,” said Rabbi Wilhelm. “Together, we will be able to rebuild our synagogue and complete our Jewish center, ensuring that there is indeed a home for every Jew here in the Milford area. With G-d’s help, we look forward to another 90 years of incredible growth.”