Founded in February, 1950, Temple Emanuel was the first Reform congregation in Cherry Hill.
Our founders were motivated by a desire to practice Judaism in a liberal environment in southern New Jersey, an environment in which any Jew could feel comfortable. In the beginning, our members met in a variety of places: their own homes, schools, churches, a country club, even an abandoned police station. In 1959, our congregation moved to Cooper River Parkway. Rabbi Herbert M. Yarrish served as our spiritual leader starting in 1956. He was joined by Rabbi Jerome P. David as Assistant Rabbi in 1974.
Cherry Hill Mayor Maria Barnaby Greenwald was a frequent guest at Temple Emanuel services and other events in the 1980s. Here, Mayor Greenwald is shown with (from left) Rabbi Jerome P. David, Congregation President Lee Hymerling, and Rabbi Edwin N. Soslow. -- Steven L. Lubetkin photo
In 1975, Edwin N. Soslow was appointed Senior Rabbi, following the retirement of Rabbi Yarrish. Before long, a satellite religious school program was added for the convenience of members living in the Medford, Marlton and Voorhees areas. A Young Couples Club (known today as Club Emanuel) and Havurot were formed. Sadly, in 1987, the congregation mourned the death of Rabbi Soslow.
Singer-Actor Theodore Bikel was featured at our 35th Anniversary Celebration in 1986.
Shown here before Bikel's performance are (from left): Rabbi Edwin N. Soslow; Lee Hymerling, Temple Emanuel president; Shirley Chess, anniversary co-chair; Bikel; Eileen Friedland, anniversary co-chair; and Rabbi Jerome P. David. Bikel returned to Temple Emanuel for the Southern New Jersey Yom Ha'Shoah observance in 2004. -- Steven L. Lubetkin photo
Rabbi David was named Senior Rabbi and was joined by Rabbi Randi Musnitsky as Associate Rabbi.
In 1986, Brian Baratz became President of the congregation, following in the footsteps of other illustrious members: Charles Rudd, Harold Wolff, Morton Goldstrom, Albert Kilberg, Norton Gold, Leopold Jaffe, Irving Cohen, Matthew Arnold, Arthur Pierce, Dr. Stanton Deitch, Shirley Chess and Lee Hymerling.
Under Mr. Baratz’s leadership, our plans for a new Temple Emanuel began to evolve. The congregation voted to acquire a nine-acre parcel of land at the corner of Springdale and Kresson Roads on the rapidly expanding eastern side of Cherry Hill. In 1989, overwhelming congregational approval was granted to hire architects and a construction company to design and build our new home.
In 1991, Andrew Weiner was elected President. As our congregational leader, he was charged with overseeing the construction of our new facility.
Construction of our new home at Springdale and Kresson Roads, about 1992.
-- Dr. Kurt Bomze Photo
Now in 2014, we are proud to be a congregation that is continually growing. Under the leadership of Rabbi Jerry David, Rabbi Larry Sernovitz, and Cantor Neil Schnitzor, Temple Emanuel is now 1,000 families strong.