Our History

History of Temple Judea of Manhasset

tjom aboutTemple Judea of Manhasset has a rich and vibrant history as a large reform congregation on the North Shore of Long Island We are more than just a house of worship; we are a vibrant and caring congregational family. We welcome your membership!

“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?”

–Rabbi Hillel

Temple Judea of Manhasset is a diverse, caring, multi-generational, multi-ethnic community that includes singles, couples, traditional, non-traditional and interfaith families. We consider our members as family enveloped in a warm and welcoming environment – a true second home.

Temple Judea of Manhasset began its illustrious history in 1955 with 75 charter families. The first meetings were held in a local hall in Manhasset, and the first High Holiday services were celebrated in a nearby church.  On May 22, 1960, Temple Judea dedicated a modest building at 333 Searingtown Road in Manhasset to be the permanent site of our spiritual home. Yet, as the membership quickly grew, so did the need for the facility to expand. In April of 1968, the Louis A. Peirez Library and the Youth Lounge were dedicated. Then in May of 1970, the Sisterhood School Wing was dedicated. In May of 1978, the Sisterhood Office/ Sophia Hammer Study was also dedicated. In May of 1980 the exquisite Holy Ark Tapestry became an addition to our Temple. With great pride, in 1994 the Holocaust Resource Center was dedicated as a unique memorial to those who perished as well as those who survived the darkest period in Jewish History.

“ The purpose of the Congregation shall be:
To worship God in accordance with the faith of Judaism
To cultivate love and understanding of Jewish heritage
To stimulate fellowship in the Jewish community
To promote Judaism in all relations of life by means of public and private worship, by religious education and through social and welfare activities.
To maintain our devotion and connection with our spiritual homeland, Israel. 

Article II Purpose – Constitution Temple Judea

 Today, over five decades since its inception, Temple Judea has over 300 families. Temple Judea continues to grow and to move forward in its wide variety of programs, educational opportunities and worship services. The once modest building of Temple Judea now stands proud and majestic atop its inclined property. It truly represents a beacon of warmth and spiritual guidance for all who enter its hallowed halls. Remarkably, Temple Judea’s greatest accomplishment are in its ability to create a haymish and loyal and vibrant Jewish community. This truth is best evidenced by the fact that the professional staff of Temple Judea chooses to make it the place of their life-long careers.

In July of 2006, Temple Judea welcomed Rabbi Todd Chizner as its third rabbi in 50 years. Rabbi Chizner’s compassion for others along with his love of teaching Torah made him the ideal choice to be the spiritual leader of the Temple Judea family. Rabbi Chizner, a Long Island native, graduated from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. In 1999, he was ordained as rabbi by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. Following ordination, Rabbi Chizner worked for seven years as the associate rabbi of Temple Beth Torah in Melville, NY. Rabbi Chizner is married to Lauren and they have three children; Jacob, Jed and Rachel.

In July of 2006, Rabbi Abner L. Bergman z”l became Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Judea. Rabbi Bergman z”l served for 23 years as spiritual leader. In that time Rabbi Bergman z”l established himself as an outstanding teacher and counselor. He conducted lectures on subjects relating to Judaism, history, philosophy and customs. He also took an active role in the education of the Temple’s youth, conducting Confirmation and Post Confirmation classes.

In 1983, Rabbi Eugene J. Lipsey z”l, the first spiritual leader of Temple Judea, became the Rabbi Emeritus. Rabbi Lipsey z”l was a leader in the community, and through his efforts, Temple Judea became the first synagogue on Long Island to hold meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous (which it still does to this day). In Rabbi Lipsey’s honor, the Board of Trustees dedicated the Rabbi Eugene J. Lipsey Gardens.

In July 2017, Mariel Guarrera-Ashkenazy will begin working as Cantorial Intern at Temple Judea of Manhasset.  Mariel is an experienced and talented young cantorial fifth-year student at Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion.  She is studying in the Cantorial Ordination program, where she will earn a second Master’s degree in Sacred Music.

In July of 2005, Temple Judea welcomed Cantor Abbe Sher.  Cantor Sher studied for the cantorate at the Academy for Jewish Religion in Riverdale New York where Cantorial students are educated in contemporary Liturgical music as well as traditional Nusach.  Cantor Sher earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Music from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, a Master’s Degree in Opera from BostonUniversity’s School for the Arts, and an Artist Diploma in Opera from Boston Conservatory of Music.  Cantor Sher previously served  at Temple Or Elohim in Jericho, New York for 9 years.  Cantor Sher embraces the music of Meir Finkelstein, Michael Isaacson, Craig Taubman and Debbie Friedman.  Cantor Sher is the proud mother of Mia and Nathaniel.

In 2005, Cantor/ Rabbi Richard Berman became the Cantor Emeritus. Cantor Berman is noted as serving longer than any other cantor in America in the same congregation, serving Temple Judea for 44 years. Throughout his tenure, Cantor Berman’s musicianship and graceful demeanor elevated the worship service experience to new heights.