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PJC History

In 1970, eleven Port Washington families formed Port Jewish Center. They had no rabbi and no building, but they did have an ark, built by one of the members, a Torah rescued from the Holocaust, a pioneering spirit and commitment to practicing Judaism and to giving their children a Jewish education.

In the first year, congregants managed to organize a religious school, build a Sukkah, engage a cantor and a part-time Rabbi, and conduct High Holy Day services where everyone, member or not, was welcome. Cantor Herb Strauss served, initially in a volunteer position, from 1970 until his death in 2007. His 37 year tenure offered long-term stability to PJC as we welcomed a series of student rabbis to our growing congregation. By 1981 PJC had its first permanent Rabbi, Donna Berman, who led the congregation for twelve years. In 1993, Rabbi Beth Davidson became our leader for the next twelve years. In 2005, Rabbi Sheila Goleboy began a eight year term as our congregation’s rabbi. Our congregation acquired its permanent home on Manorhaven Boulevard in Port Washington in 1986 and successfully completed a major expansion and renovation in 2000.

Presently, PJC is led by Rabbi Alysa Mendelson Graf and has 104 family member units, drawing its membership from Port Washington and nearby towns. It has a thriving religious school and a wide range of religious, educational and social programs. In our nearly 50-year history, the underlying values that shaped our congregation have not changed. PJC continues to welcome all who wish to worship with its warm, informal atmosphere and to encourage active participation in the life of our community. We strive to lead a Jewish life, to observe and preserve Jewish ritual and custom, to give our children a Jewish education, and to show compassion through acts of Tzedakah and Gemilut Chasadim (acts of loving kindness), both within the Jewish community and beyond.

Wed, April 17 2024 9 Nisan 5784