A Brief History of Har Sinai Temple
Har Sinai Temple began nearly 160 years ago with the formation of the Har Sinai Cemetery Association in 1857 in Trenton, New Jersey. Har Sinai Hebrew Congregation grew from the Cemetery Association and began formal services in 1860. Services were held in the old Chancery Building on the corner of West State Street and Chancery Lane. During a founder’s meeting in July, 1860, the congregation decided to incorporate and purchase our first permanent house of worship on North Montgomery Street. The building was retrofitted as a synagogue and dedicated in 1866.
In July, 1903, Har Sinai sold its original building and purchased a lot on Front and Stockton Streets in Trenton, NJ. Our new temple was dedicated in 1904 and shortly after the dedication of the new building, our congregation adopted Reform Judaism. Changes in the religious practices of the congregation saw the return of the chanting of the kiddush and the use of the Shofar instead of a coronet for Rosh Hashanah. In February, 1922, Har Sinai joined the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, gaining it’s official status as a Reform Congregation.
A quarter of a century passed and Har Sinai needed to expand, particularly to accommodate the growing enrollment of our religious school. In 1925, Har Sinai purchased a lot on Bellevue Avenue and erected a new structure. The cornerstone was laid in late 1929, and the dedication ceremonies took place the following September.
In December 2006, after nearly 80 years in our urban Trenton location, Har Sinai completed the acquisition of our current home in Hopewell Township and completed the sale of our historic Bellevue Avenue property. In 2007, nearly coinciding with our 150 Year Anniversary, ground-breaking began on our new state-of-the-art religious school, offices, and multi-purpose chapel. We are proud to call this facility home.
Where We’re Going…
Over the years, Har Sinai has adapted and grown to be one of the preeminent congregations in our community. We serve the needs of our members and community by offering a wide range of services and programs. The Congregation has a vibrant and growing early education center and religious school offering midweek Hebrew and Sunday School programs. We also have an active Hebrew High and youth program, regular family services, adult education classes and a whole host of other programs and special events.
Har Sinai was not only the first Jewish institution in Central New Jersey, but it also has been at the focal point of the Jewish community in the Delaware Valley. Today, our congregants come not only from the Trenton area but as well from Hopewell, Princeton, Bordentown, and Yardley, PA.