Today is September 23, 2021 /

History

The First Hebrew Congregation of Peekskill was organized by a minyan in 1896 which first met in a loft above the Peekskill City Laundry at 110 South Division Street (when dues were 15 cents a week). As a majority of these members were of German origin, meeting minutes were recorded in German. By 1903 there were 25 member families and fundraising began to purchase a plot of land along Main Street where the original synagogue building still stands. It is a pretty wooden building in a Gothic style first used for prayer services in 1904 (and the first wedding was also held that year… Mr. Louis Keller and Miss Hanna Weiss). The first English language records were taken in 1908 and had a sprinkling of German and Yiddish words.

Our “new”, mid-Century synagogue center was built in 1957 with facilities which have been continually upgraded over the years.

Our Lil’ Sprouts Early Learning Center is a shining example of what a quality day care can look like.

The gym is a multi-purpose room for everything from parties to Bingo, Volleyball and Basketball.

Our sanctuary has been updated several times but still maintains the mid-century stained-glass windows our parents and grandparents worked so hard to fundraise to complete. They are a reminder of our past as a new generation makes First Hebrew their Jewish communal home.

One of the most important needs for any Jewish community is a place for the burial of our loved ones. So great is this need that historically it has been among the very first things a Jewish community did- establish a cemetery. Our 120+ year old congregation is one of the few in the entire area which has its own cemetery. The First Hebrew Cemetery is located at the corner of Oregon Road and Cortlandt Avenue.

The gates of our cemetery are always open. When you walk in, you can see the stones gently placed on the memorials to our loved ones. You can read the history of our community in the monuments erected by our families. This sacred ground is a vital part of our Kehilla Kedosha and we respect it as such. For our sustaining members in good standing, burial rights are a benefit of membership.