Throughout its history, Har Zion has been a local and national leader in Conservative Judaism. We are proud of our heritage, and equally proud of our membership who continues to be committed to developing spiritual and inclusive communities both within our walls and in our endeavors throughout the worldwide Jewish community.
Har Zion was officially chartered in 1923 in Wynnefield, PA from land donated by Harry and Phillip Publicker, with Harry Cohen serving as its first president.
Over the years Har Zion grew, adding a Radnor Campus and day camp in the early 1960s. In 1976 both campuses were consolidated into a central location in Penn Valley PA where Har Zion resides today.
Hallmarks in Har Zion’s History
- Har Zion’s first Rabbi, Simon Greenberg, went on to become Provost of the Jewish Theological Seminary.
- Har Zionites were instrumental in the creation of two local Jewish Day Schools—The Solomon Schechter Day School, and Akiba Hebrew Academy.
- First American synagogue to erect a building in Jerusalem—the Bet Hamidrash at the JTS.
- First synagogue chapter of the Zionist Organization of America
- Har Zionites participated in the first UJA congregational mission to Israel.
- Har Zion is home to the 1st afternoon religious school accredited by the United Synagogues of Conservative Judaism. We continue to win awards in all areas of childhood through adult education.
- Har Zionites were instrumental in the formation of Camp Ramah, Poconos.
- Har Zion’s award winning Madregot program continues to provide opportunities for special needs children in the community to be included in Jewish education
- Har Zion’s role in the Soviet Jewry movement from twinning Bar and Bat Mitzvot, through raising funds for emigration served as an example throughout the American Jewish community
- Har Zion continues its commitment to Tikkun Olam through its constituent groups, Cook for a Friend programs, Bar/Bat Mitzvah programs and the annual Martin Luther King Day of service.
- Leadership of Har Zionites in the local through international Jewish community organizations continues to be a source of pride. From JTS, Israel Bonds, JNF, The Abramson Center, Golden Slipper, Camp Ramah, AIPAC, Federation and it’s many agencies; Har Zionites serve all aspects and areas of the Jewish community.