From a Few Families to a Thriving Conservative Movement Congregation
It all began in 1978, when two Conservative (Masorti) Rabbis – Rabbi Lee Diamond and Rabbi David Spritzer z”l – moved to Israel’s Sharon Region, looking for a family congregation where they could feel comfortable.
A resourceful duo, they advertised in the Jerusalem Post newspaper seeking families of a kindred spirit. At first, the going was tough, with a small number of people meeting in each other’s homes. Determined to find their way, the group got permission to use the school auditorium in Kfar Malal, a local moshav, for the High Holidays. Not only did 60 people turn up Erev Rosh Hashanah, but the organizers also found a lay cantor named Mordechai Handelman to lead the services on Yom Kippur – a commitment that continues until today.
And so our fledgling congregation was born. By 1979, the numbers had reached about 30 families gathering weekly to welcome the Shabbat, in addition to holding a communal Tu B’Shvat Seder, Israel Independence Day events, study evenings and a host of other activities.
The year 1987 proved to be a turning point, when the ever growing congregation became fully egalitarian. The next giant step was taken in 1988, when the Goldsmith family of Baltimore, MD made a most generous contribution enabling Hod VeHadar to lay the groundwork for a permanent building. With members and their families chipping in, contributions coming in from congregations abroad, and a plot of land donated by the Kfar Saba municipality, we succeeded in fulfilling our dream of building a permanent structure for Hod VeHadar.
A House of Worship. A Learning Hub
Today, the Hod VeHadar membership includes some 200 families residing in Kfar Saba, Ra’anana, Hod HaSharon and the surrounding environs. We hold services every Shabbat eve, Shabbat morning and on Shabbat Mincha (late afternoon), every holiday eve and holiday morning, as well as a weekday morning service every Monday. Many Kfar Saba residents are especially appreciative of having an opportunity to pray in a non-Orthodox environment. Consequently, come Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, hundreds of locals attend our High Holiday Services.
A learning hub, Hod VeHadar is equally proud of the wide array of adult education classes held under our roof. The lineup of our adult education programs runs the gamut – from weekly classes on the Torah portion and Talmud, bi-weekly sessions on many subjects, taught by members and guest lecturers. All this is in addition to a thriving Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation course held for members and others interested in enrolling. Families can opt to hold their Bar Mitzvah ceremony either on Shabbat morning or Shabbat Mincha, or on Monday or Thursday morning.
A Place for Adults and Youth to Meet & Mingle
It’s no secret that in addition to prayer we love to meet and mingle. Our weekly community kiddush held after every Shabbat service is a mouthwatering social event where members and visitors meet with each other at the end of every week, exchange tales, jokes and advice.
The venue for Noam Shabbat weekends of Noam, the youth movement of the Masorti movement, Hod VeHadar is the happy host to youth representing the Conservative Movement from Israel’s central region. With a below ground-level floor fully equipped with classrooms, bathrooms and a kitchen, teenagers and their youth leaders are able to hold engaging activities and eat delicious meals, in addition to joining us for Friday night and Saturday morning services.
Finally….communal Friday night family meals, picnics, hikes and weekend retreats. We have them all. Our community-centered events are part of our attraction.
A Perfect Setting for Children’s Activities
Our children are our future. That’s why we try to create as many activities as possible for them. Starting with a fully equipped toy room and library, continuing with bi-weekly Shabbat services for children and special family programs on a monthly basis.
All this on a Volunteer Basis
Yes, we are a vibrant community, providing religious, educational and social services. But what truly sets us apart is that most of our activities are carried out by dedicated Hod VeHadar members who volunteer their professional services.
Please Join Us
We invite you to join us – physically and/or virtually. We are more than a synagogue. We are a stimulating experience. An experience of which we hope you want to be a part.