Community Blog Hebrew College Announces New Home on Shared Campus in Newton
In a unique collaboration announced on March 16, 2021, Hebrew College, a pluralistic national institute for Jewish learning and leadership dedicated to literacy, creativity, and communal responsibility, and Temple Reyim, a traditional, egalitarian, inclusive, and spiritual congregation affiliated with the Conservative movement, are partnering to create a new shared campus for Jewish life on the grounds of Temple Reyim in Newton, Massachusetts.
Hebrew College will relocate in December 2022 from its current location in Newton Centre to the shared campus with Temple Reyim at 1860 Washington Street in Auburndale, Newton.
Through its capital campaign, Branching Out, Building Together, Hebrew College will renovate Temple Reyim’s current building and construct an additional two-floor state-of-the-art wing dedicated to offices and program space. The shared campus model will allow Temple Reyim and Hebrew College to maintain their distinctive identities and programs, strengthen their missions and long-term sustainability, and together, serve the wider Jewish community in Greater Boston and beyond.
“Our new campus will preserve the warmth of the communities at Hebrew College and Temple Reyim, while creating pioneering opportunities for the College to grow, meet evolving needs, and prepare Jewish spiritual and educational leaders to meet people at many different doorways to Jewish life,” said Hebrew College President Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld. “At a time of so much division in the world, we are enlivened by this vision of deep partnership and collaboration.”
The vision for the collaborative builds on the strength of existing relationships with organizations already located at Temple Reyim’s campus, including Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters Community Mikveh and Education Center, Kesher Newton Jewish Afterschool Program, and Zamir Chorale of Boston. Hebrew College will be bringing several other dynamic pluralistic Boston-based Jewish organizations to the shared campus, including the Jewish Arts Collaborative, the Jewish Women’s Archive, Keshet, the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis, RUACH/Breath Lab, and Camp Yavneh.
“Our vision is to strengthen the present and future of Temple Reyim and welcome organizational partners that share our core mission, which is grounded in a deep love of Jewish life and learning, spiritual openness, and meaningful relationships,” said Rabbi Daniel Berman of Temple Reyim. “This is our 70th year, a number that in Judaism signifies the importance of being expansive in how we understand and live in our tradition. As we celebrate this 70th year, we are excited to welcome Hebrew College and our new partners to our home to bring this vision to life.”
“This collaboration will create a new model for Jewish life and learning,” added Mara Bloom, President of the Board of Temple Reyim. “Both organizations will be poised for financial sustainability and expansion of innovative programming. We look forward to serving as a convener and hub for Jewish learning, social action, arts and music.”
The shared campus provides a strong fiscal foundation for both institutions and a national model for Jewish communal non-profit success. “I am enthused by the leadership and vision of both institutions in putting together this collaboration,” said Andy Offit, chair of the Hebrew College Board of Trustees and a member and past president of Temple Reyim. “We are creating a vibrant Jewish campus, lowering costs by sharing real estate, and at the same time allowing for growth and expansion for the College, Temple Reyim, and our partners.”
“It’s very exciting that Hebrew College and Temple Reyim are collaborating on a new shared campus, creating a vibrant hub for Jewish learning and life in the Auburndale neighborhood of Newton,” said Rabbi Marc Baker, President and CEO of Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP). “This collaboration will allow them to grow as institutions, optimizing their resources to ensure their long-term sustainability, and enabling them to better serve the Jewish community throughout Greater Boston. CJP is proud to partner with Hebrew College and is excited about a future built on cooperation to enhance, enrich, and deepen our collective communal impact.”
Founded in 1921, Hebrew College will celebrate its Centennial anniversary this fall. Originally in Roxbury, the College moved to Brookline in 1952 and to Newton Centre in 2002. In August 2018, Hebrew College sold its current campus to eliminate debt, reduce operating costs, and rededicate resources to people and programs. Today, Hebrew College is a vibrant center of Jewish learning and leadership, with the fastest growing rabbinical school in the country, groundbreaking graduate programs for cantors and educators, and community education programs serving over 2,700 adults, teens, Jewish professionals, and interreligious leaders throughout Greater Boston and beyond.
Temple Reyim was founded in 1951 as the Newton Jewish Community Center on Chestnut Street in Newton. In 1952, it changed its name to “Reyim,” which means “friends” in Hebrew, to reflect its warm, welcoming, inclusive, participatory, and down-to-earth culture. It moved to its current location in 1958. Since its opening, Temple Reyim has been dedicated to traditional Jewish life and learning, and joyful, meaningful prayer. It has also been a leader in the broader community, recently initiating a collaboration of multi-faith congregations in Newton and Brookline to support the resettlement of families seeking asylum, convening and hosting Jewish learning and social justice conferences, adding solar panels to its roof, and advocating to make renewable energy more accessible for multi-faith communities.