The Early Years (1869-1954)

Kelm Family

Lippman and Rosa Kelm, 1 of the 25 families which founded Society Anshe Amunim in November of 1869

Society Anshe Amunim was founded by 25 families inPittsfield on November 14th ,1869, and  in 1904, Anshe Amunim affiliated with the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (Now known as the Union for Reform Judaism), formally establishing ties to the Reform Judaism which are still maintained and embraced more than 100 years later.  A long-standing principle of Anshe Amunim has been the inclusion of both genders in worship and leadership activities, as well as welcoming and respecting participation by interfaith couples and families.

Purim in 1920's

The Religious School Celebrates Purim in the 1920's

In 1887, the mortar of the educational program of our congregation was laid, as the Hebrew Sunday School program was established.  The program would later evolve into the Temple’s Religious School program, a strong program which promotes a deep and diverse religious curriculum for the youth of the congregation. 

1931 saw the establishment of the Temple Junior League, an organization which would later evolve into PFTY, the Pittsfield Federation of Temple Youth, which works on community service projects and encourages the growth of adolescent Jewish life throughout Berkshire County.  College-aged Temple members continue to benefit from the Isabella Kelm Scholarship, established in 1967 to encourage continued growth into the Jewish community by our Temple confirmands.

1934 Confirmation Class

1934 Confirmation Class with Rabbi Harry Kaplan

The importance of community bonds have always been an important facet of our congregation, as in 1882, the Hebrew Ladies Benevolant Society was established, which laid the groundwork for the makeup of our current organization, the Women of Reform Judaism.  In 1932, the Temple Men’s Club was established under Rabbi Harry Kaplan.  Both organizations continue to serve the Temple and the local community well into the 21st century, as they present programs, organize volunteer activities, support of religious school, and provide a deep sense of community for our members.


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