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The Jewish Community of Fort Wayne, Indiana
Fort Wayne Jewish Federation
227 E. Washington Blvd, Fort Wayne, IN 46802
260-422-8566 E-mail: email@example.com
Web site: www.jewishfortwayne.org
The Federation was organized in 1921, primarily as a welfare and relief organization to coordinate work and communal fund raising for the entire Jewish community. In 1939, Fort Wayne employed its first executive director. In subsequent years the Federation developed into a multi-faceted organization serving young and old in the areas of social services, education and cultural programs, leadership development, community relations, and fund raising. The FWJF was one of the founding agencies of the Community Chest and remains a program funded member agency of the United Way of Allen County. The Federation is considered a community leader in the efforts to reduce and eliminate prejudice.
Today, the Federation serves as the central coordinating, fund raising, budgeting, and social planning agency for the Fort Wayne Jewish community. The Federation is a volunteer organization assisted by a trained professional staff. It is affiliated with the United Jewish Communities, a national association of 180 Jewish Federations serving communities in the U.S. and Canada.
Raising funds to finance human services at home, in Israel, and around the world is a fundamental Federation purpose. The annual UJA/Federation Campaign raises money for the Jewish Agency for Israel, the American Joint Distribution Committee, beneficiaries including community relations organizations, overseas, cultural, religious, regional and national agencies, and the local Federation operation.
For over a decade, the Federation has operated the Gan pre-school, quality early childhood program. Camp Joe Levine is our summer day camp program.
The FWJF has been actively involved in refugee resettlement since its inception. Refugees from Europe, Southeast Asia and the former Soviet Union have been assisted in their efforts to come to America.
Endowment gifts and bequests to the Federation Endowment Fund keep alive the memory and values of the donor while assisting our Jewish community.
B'nai Jacob Congregation
7227 Bittersweet Moors Drive, Fort Wayne, IN 46814
260-672-8459 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Founded in 1914, B'nai Jacob, known as the 'friendly family Synagogue', became a Conservative Traditional congregation in 1938. In 1997, it became Conservative-Egalitarian. The new, debt-free Synagogue has formal gardens that are ideal for outdoor weddings, receptions, and spring and summer holidays. A beautiful Ark created by renowned artist, Lee Bleifeld, graces the sanctuary. There are magnificent stained glass windows depicting the 7 Days of Creation, created by artist, Anika Droegmyer, in memory of her parents. Services each Friday are at 8:00 p.m. during spring and summer, and at 7:30 p.m. during fall and winter, followed by an Oneg Shabbat. Saturday morning services are at 9:30 followed by a kiddush luncheon. All holidays are celebrated. Chevra Kadisha, a cemetery, Minyanim for Yahrzeits, and all life cycle needs are available.
Children are educated in Conservative Judaism with classes during the week. On Sunday mornings the younger children attend Religious School at the Temple. Each child is required to have a Bar/Bat Mitzvah and remain in the Synagogue Religious School through Confirmation. Adult education classes in many subjects are conducted weekly. All classes are taught by the Rabbi or qualified teachers. The Men's Club and Sisterhood often join forces to bring a large variety of social events to B'nai Jacob including family dinners, musicals, comedians, speakers, scholars-in-residence, Klezmer bands, movies, and even bingo games! The Synagogue is spiritual, social, family oriented, and is active in all aspects of community relations.
Visit the extensive library, the well-stocked gift shop, or the breath-taking sanctuary where the wrap-around windows bring the outside in for a unique spiritual experience. The Rabbi is always available for counseling. Office hours are from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Material submitted by Leah Tourkow.
Congregation Achduth Vesholom
5200 Old Mill Road, Fort Wayne, IN 46807
260-744-4245 E-mail: Office@TempleCAV.org
Web site: www.templecav.org
Congregation Achduth Vesholom (“The Temple”) is the oldest Jewish congregation in Indiana and a charter member of the American Reform Movement of Judaism. Founded in 1848, the Temple moved to its current location in 1961.
Achduth Vesholom's affiliation with the Union for Reform Judaism links it to a worldwide community of Jews whose progressive values allow a high degree of personal religious autonomy while at the same time places great emphasis on the importance of taking social responsibility in the world at large. Deeply involved in the community, the Temple spearheads activities that encourage interfaith understanding and cooperation in the Fort Wayne area.
A full scope of educational and cultural enrichment programs are available, including outreach to interfaith families both within and outside the organized Jewish community.
Religious School includes children from both congregations from pre-school through 12th grade. In addition to a course of general studies, the Religious School provides a series of creative programs, trips, and elective courses for the older grades. Hebrew classes, which are taught on Tuesday evenings and Sundays, are mandatory for Bar/Bat Mitzvah candidates. The Temple encourages its young people to attend the Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI) during the summer in Zionsville, Indiana. An active high school youth group is involved in ongoing learning, leadership development and social activities.
During the year, a wide range of adult education classes and scholar-in-residence weekends are held. The rabbi is available for counseling support.
While Friday evening Sabbath services take place year-round, Shabbat morning services are held from September to June. Services also are held for the High Holy Days and other major holidays. The Temple maintains burial plots at Lindenwood Cemetery.
A fully stocked gift shop offers Judaica and other holiday-related gifts and ceremonial items. Extensive Jewish resources, including periodicals and books, are available in the Temple library and museum.
Office hours are daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Material submitted by Beth Zweig.
The Fort Wayne Jewish Community
Beginning in the late 1700's, Jewish fur traders lived in the Fort Wayne area. The first known Jewish resident was John Jacob Hayes, appointed by President James Monroe to serve as Indian Agent. He lived in Fort Wayne from 1820-1823.
Jewish immigrants from Germany began to arrive in Fort Wayne around 1830. They worked as peddlers, merchants and craftsmen. By 1848, there was a sufficient number of Jews to form the first Jewish congregation in Indiana, The Society for Visiting the Sick and Burying the Dead. In 1861, the congregation changed its name to the Synagogue of Unity and Peace (Congregation Achduth Vesholom), affiliating with the Reform Movement in May 1874.
As the city grew, the Jews prospered and, by 1880 lived in comfortable homes on the near west side of the city close to the Temple. During the 1890's, Jews immigrated to Fort Wayne from Russia, Poland, Romania, and other Eastern European countries. These Eastern European Jews formed the B'nai Israel Congregation. This group lived on the east side of the city near their synagogue. In 1912, Jews who had continued to flee the pogroms in their European homelands organized B’nai Jacob Synagogue. When B'nai Israel disbanded in 1936, some members affiliated with Congregation Achduth Vesholom and others joined the B'nai Jacob Synagogue, which became a Conservative congregation.
As in many other early Jewish communities, relations between the German Jews and Eastern European Jews was sometimes less than harmonious. With the formation of the Fort Wayne Jewish Federation, all community members had a conduit to work together for the betterment of the local and world-wide Jewish community.
Jews live throughout Fort Wayne, although the largest number live primarily in the Aboite township zip codes. Current population is approximately 450 family units.
Programs and Services
Contact either congregation for a complete list of committees and activities.
Federation committees include: Community Relations, Allocations, Social Service, Cultural/Adult Education, Youth and a Caring committee.
We're here to serve you and your family. Our Federation activities include:
- Preschool for ages 18 mo.- 5 year
- Summer camp for ages 4-10
- Scholarships for Jewish Studies (college)
- Scholarships to Israel for High School Students (teens)
- Adult Education
- Leadership Development
- Social Services for Seniors, for teens, for young families, for singles (information and referral services)
- Gerson Family Jewish Free Loan Fund (no interest loan program for those in need)
- Emergency and transient assistance
- Senior Services (activities, home visits, cultural programs)
- Immigration assistance (assistance with HIAS, INS)
- Home visits for shut ins
- Cultural activities (open to the entire community)
- Educational Missions to Israel, New York, Washington, D.C.
Other Jewish Contacts:
- Lindenwood Cemetery
- Fort Wayne Jewish Cemetery Association
- The Indiana Jewish Historical Society
- Camp Joe Levine
- Gan Preschool
Contact Fort Wayne Jewish Federation for more information at 260-422-8566.
We look forward to getting to know you as you make Fort Wayne YOUR community.