Or Hadash was originally founded as White Meadow Temple in 1952 by a handful of dedicated men and women. Rabbi Jacob Weitman arrived in 1955 and served as the spiritual leader and guiding force in growing Or Hadash until his retirement in 1989. Or Hadash’s growing membership led to a 1964 groundbreaking ceremony for renovations and additions to the building situated at 153 White Meadow Road in Rockaway’s White Meadow Lake. Martha Silvershein is considered to be the founding mother of Or Hadash.
Worship Vision Statement
Or Hadash is built on the idea that central to our role as Jews is the search for a connection to God and the Jewish people through prayer. In our community, we welcome all who wish to pray, bringing their own experiences to our community. Inspired by the warmth of God’s presence, we seek a sense of protection and comfort within a communal environment. Those who enter our house to pray will feel a sense of continuity with the Jewish past and hope in the Jewish future, midor ledor (from generation to generation). We are guided by halakhah (Jewish law), inspired by the idea of kavanah (meaningful devotion) and faithful to the keva (the patterns of prayer).
An egalitarian and participatory community, we seek to create an environment where Jews from all backgrounds can enter our house to worship in ways that are spiritually meaningful and in accordance with the teachings of traditional halakhah (Jewish law).
Principles that Guide the Prayer Experience
Worship at Or Hadash endeavors to facilitate a relationship with a personal, accessible, and loving God. Whether it is through healing or in searching for forgiveness, worshippers will encounter a supportive God, one who embodies the key middot (aspects) of both din (justice) and rachamim (mercy). We understand that Jewish prayer can be challenging therefore learning is a central element that helps worshippers gain insight during our services. In our warm community, we welcome all to join our congregational family and seek to provide moments to worship and grow together spiritually. Hebrew, the language of the Jewish people for millennia, is central to our tefilah (prayer) but we include English as a way of making prayer meaningful to the modern world. The Torah portion is chanted in its entirety at Shabbat services, which include the study of Torah that is inspiring and relevant. Song is a vital part of our services. Using the traditional modes of Jewish liturgical music as well as contemporary melodies and styles, we create the music of memory, togetherness, inward focus, and the majesty of God.