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Our History

In 1988, in response to an ad placed in the Vermont Standard by Antoinette Matlins, several families joined together on a summer evening to enjoy a “Shabbat Pot-Luck Dinner.” Candles were lit, Kiddush was said, “Shabbat Shalom” was sung, and everyone felt nourished — nourished by both the food and the experience of simply being together, as Jews, here in rural Vermont. 

The Woodstock Area Jewish Community (WAJC), the first "no dues, no fees" Reform Jewish congregation in America, was born. It was a reflection of the vision and leadership of Antoinette and her husband, Stuart, who served as our lay spiritual leader for almost two decades. Over time, many others joined and shared their talents to help shape the WAJC/Congregation Shir Shalom.

Since that very first night, we’ve grown into a vibrant community with a part-time rabbi, sanctuary, and Hebrew School. We continue to grow, serving full- and part-time residents and visitors from a large geographic area. We retain a strong sense of community, rejoicing together at life-cycle events and providing comfort and support at times of need.

We are ever grateful to our founders and committed to sustaining their legacy and the warmth and intimacy of the community that we call home.   

Read about Our Holocaust Torah

Tue, September 21 2021 15 Tishrei 5782