A place of Jewish worship...learning...and assembly.
Our focus is to cultivate a caring, inclusive community
in the spirit of liberal Judaism.
We welcome individuals and families of varying Jewish lifestyles.
Our personal philosophies and practices may vary widely among us. However, we are united in a common commitment to Judaism, to furthering our spiritual growth individually and communally and to engage in charitable works in the community. We recognize that study of Torah is an ongoing lifelong process. Development of Jewish identity and knowledge of our traditions will encompass religious and educational programs for children, adults, and intergenerational groups.
We hope to encourage and support one another as we grow in our studies and in loving-kindness and social responsibility.
St. Mary-in-the-Highlands and Philipstown Reform Synagogue Stand Side-by-Side
Philipstown Reform Synagogue a member of the Union for Reform Judaism, and St. Mary’s Church celebrated the installation of PRS’ new sign which was unveiled at a ceremony attended by both congregations, their religious leadership, and Congressman on December 16, 2017 at 4 PM. The group of celebrants stood together on the great lawn of St. Mary’s Church despite the cold to take a look at the new sign for the first time which stands directly next to St. Mary’s sign and to hear some brief speeches about the meaning of the new sign. Rabbi Helaine Ettinger Bloom and Father Shane Scott-Hambien stood together, explaining that this sign is a visual reminder of the cooperation, mutual respect, and spirit of diversity that both congregations share. Rabbi Helaine said a prayer to mark the occasion. The new sign is also an opportunity for PRS to have a visible presence in Philipstown.
Following the ceremonies, members of the two congregations participated in a Hanukkah candle lighting celebration and communal meal in the church’s parish hall. And on Sunday morning, Father Shane and Rabbi Ettinger led a service together in the church which both congregations attended.
St. Mary’s iconic setting at the intersection of Routes 9D and 301 is the heart of Cold Spring and serves the community’s Episcopal parishioners; but kindred spirits, Father Shane Scott-Hamblen and Rabbi Helaine Ettinger-Bloom, take pride in knowing that the two religious organizations have come together in Cold Spring, a village that cares and shares. Rabbi Helaine Ettinger of PRS stated, “We are grateful to have a permanent home in Cold Spring. This is a place of fellowship and inspiration for both of our congregations. Surely this is what it means to worship and to serve God. One Chestnut Street is a true spiritual center.”
The creation and installation of the synagogue’s sign on Route 9D represents a culmination of the growing relationship between the church and the synagogue that have been sharing space and friendship for more than ten years. Synagogue president Cathy Duke remarked, “Thanks to the kindness and spirit of fellowship of St. Mary’s leadership and parishioners, our synagogue had been encouraged to create a sign noting our presence at the church’s parish hall. We are deeply appreciative of the warm friendship with the church that this moment represents. The signs of our two institutions will stand side-by-side, a symbol of the two religious communities’ sense of sharing, and mutual respect.”
Over a decade and a half the church and synagogue have grown closer. The synagogue was grateful when the church offered to house the synagogue’s Torah and ark a number of years ago, as the Torah scroll represents the heart of Jewish observance. When Rabbi Helaine Ettinger-Bloom became the spiritual leader of the synagogue, she and Father Shane fostered the relationship between the two religious communities. They have led three services together in the church, including the service on Sunday, December 17. The lay leadership of both organizations are also committed to work to bring the spirit of diversity and fellowship to Cold Spring.
Today’s troubled society is sometimes fraught with conflict and disdain instead of love for “thy neighbor.” In Cold Spring the message of fellowship and caring is embodied in the actions of the two congregations as they share a belief that we can make the world a better place. Finding common ground in their spiritual beliefs, the Jews and Christians support one another. “The message here is one of diversity and that we are all entitled to a place of worship,” explained Fr. Shane Scott Hamblen, Rector of St. Mary’s who welcomes PRS with open arms.
On May 5, 2018 members of three community organizations -- congregants and the leadership of St. Mary’s Church, the Philipstown Garden Club, and Philipstown Reform Synagogue worked together to improve the grounds of the church. For more than two hours, some 30 volunteers raked leaves, pruned plants, and worked to beautify the church’s landscape which are best known for its great lawn.
This project was the brainchild of the Philipstown Garden Club which promotes both beautification and conservation throughout the U.S.. Several PRS members worked alongside Dr. John Drew and Father Shane of St. Mary’s: Charles Harris, Marty Saltzman, James Thomashower, and Cathy Duke. The event was a continued expression of the quality of the relationship the synagogue and Church share.
Rabbi Helaine Ettinger
Events are held at venues throughout Philipstown. PRS is especially grateful to St. Mary's Church for so generously hosting our Shabbat and High Holy Days Services in their Parish Hall.
St. Mary's Church
1 Chestnut Street
Cold Spring, NY 10516