Our History

Walking the Torah up Dorset to Temple Sinai's new home at 500 Swift Street.

In 1966, Temple Sinai was organized by twelve Burlington Jewish families who sought a more liberal expression for their ancient traditions. Since this decision was made, by coincidence, on the eve of Shavuot, the festival commemorating the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai, the name “Temple Sinai” seemed appropriate.

Temple Sinai was the first Reform Temple in the state of Vermont.

For our first 20 years Temple Sinai was a very mobile congregation, holding services in congregant’s homes, in schools and in hotel conference rooms. In 1974, the Faith Methodist Church on Dorset Street graciously permitted us to move into its building on a shared basis. Finally, in November of 1985, the Congregation of Temple Sinai proudly dedicated our permanent home at 500 Swift Street in South Burlington. Temple continued to grow, and in 1998 we dedicated the second stage of our building which included a larger social hall, additional classrooms and office space, and a beautified sanctuary.

The Temple currently has a full-time Rabbi, music director, cantorial soloist, thriving religious school, Sisterhood, Brotherhood, youth group, and weekly worship services. We provide adult education and various committees develop programs for the congregation and the community, aimed at strengthening relationships, supporting worthwhile social causes and events and promoting Jewish culture.

As a result of our endeavor to seek new and dynamic ways for extending Judaism in Vermont, the original twelve organizers have grown into a congregation of more than 180 family units.

Although we have experienced many changes during the past decades, Temple Sinai continues to embody our original goal of contemporary relevance to the beliefs and practices of Reform Judaism: conducting worship in both Hebrew and English, being egalitarian in both spirit and action, accepting families of mixed religious backgrounds, and warmly welcoming all people in the spirit of fellowship.


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