Welcome to the Lincoln Jewish Community

Written by
By the Rabbi
Published on
Feb 23, 2024

For about 2,000 years, the synagogue has been the center of Jewish life. The synagogue has been the place where our people would gather for inspiration, for learning, and for friendships. It has been the center of Jewish life at a time when there was no physical home for our people.

From Israel to Europe, from Africa to the Americas, from Asia to Oceania, our people wandered, trying to establish roots, carrying a Torah scroll and a prayer book with them. Assembling a quorum of ten adults to form a minyan, they would pause from their journey. Putting down their few physical belongings, they would get together to pray, to study, and maybe just to schmooze as they enjoyed each other’s company.

They did not have much. But they had their synagogue, their most treasured possession, and they kept it against all odds, making it flourish.

We as a people are a “living people” thanks to the synagogue.

In our beloved Lincoln, we are fortunate to be one Jewish community with 2 synagogues.

The founders of our community were Jewish people with a myriad of opinions and diverse denominations, but they had a unified Jewish heart. Their love of Judaism has permeated “Jewish Lincoln” for well over a century!

The gift of their faith and determination is being embraced by today’s members of South Street Temple and Tifereth Israel Synagogue.

They represent our Jewish home in Lincoln!

As such, our synagogues have survived because they simultaneously represent several meanings and functions.

Our congregations are a Beit Tefilah, a House of Prayer, where we try to communicate with the Almighty in a participatory mood, open to all, in a creative and unpretentious atmosphere.

Our congregations are a Beit Midrash, a House of Study where we come to learn Torah, God’s word, as we try to improve ourselves. They are a place where teaching is both formal and informal, where everybody strives to be a teacher and nobody ever ceases to be a student.

Our congregations are a Beit Knesset, a House of Assembly, a warm home, where we try to reach out to one another, stressing our concern for Klal Yisrael , the Jewish people, and our people. It is a house that is inclusive, where there is a spirit of sharing and total openness, a place of warmth and caring, truly a “home away from home.”

The Synagogue expresses those ideals of Judaism. Our Congregations are the paradigm of that ideal biblical Temple, where all venues, i.e., prayer, Torah, and Klal Yisrael, are available to everyone.

Our Spiritual home epitomizes a place where everybody is welcome; a place for the old and also for the young; a place for singles and also for couples; a place for those who want to pray and also a place for those who want to study; a place where people can talk to G-d and also a place where people can talk to each other; a place in which we can happily celebrate the pride of our Jewish lives and also a soothing place when we are in need of comfort and support; a place where we can be inspired and moved to action, as we strive to help the neediest.

It is also the place from where we reach out to all people around us and where we welcome other spiritual searchers looking meaning and eternal values.

It represents our Jewish home in which we will keep aglow the eternal light that our people received at Sinai and that after 3200 years remains with us here.

May this aspiration serve as a beacon that will illuminate our path to a meaningful, renewed, and creative Jewish life.


Rabbi Alex Felch