Half a century ago, Dor Hadash was established, but when the congregation celebrates its 50th anniversary this coming Sunday, the remaining founders will be wondering where the time went.
Starting at 3 p.m., past and present members of Dor Hadash (Hebrew for New Generation) will come together to reminisce and rejoice upon the longtime success of their congregation. The festivities will include live music, an oral history by founders and other members, and a viewing of the 40th anniversary video.
Furthermore, there will be an unveiling of a tapestry made by artist and congregant Wendy Osher in honor of the golden anniversary.
Dr. Solomon Abrams, along with other members of the community, founded Dor Hadash Congregation in 1963 after seeing the need for an unaffiliated congregation. The first service was held on June 14 of that year.
“When we joined, they sat us down and said, ‘What form should the congregation take?’ ” said Jerry Mattes, an early member of Dor Hadash. “We wanted a place to pray, and there was a need for there to be some belief without being so stringent.”
Six years later, after much discussion, Dor Hadash joined the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, the synagogue arm of the Reconstructionist movement.
“I think they were looking for something that reflected their own kind of views,” said longtime member Anne Marie Mizel.
Mizel’s parents, Phyllis and Victor, were one of the 20 original couples to join the congregation.
From the beginning, Dor Hadash has been a member-led worship community, with most members not feeling the need to the hire a rabbi. However, in 1987, the board decided to hire Cheryl Klein as its permanent cantor, and she has been serenading members ever since.
From its original location in Pittsburgh’s Hebrew Institute, Dor Hadash moved to the Josiah Cohen Chapel at Rodef Shalom in 1995, then to the Community Day School building. Finally, Dor Hadash, which has more than 120 families, settled in at its new home at the Tree of Life-Or L’Simcha synagogue in 2010.
“It’s a forum for intelligent people to express their opinions on what they read in the liturgies,” Mattes said of the congregation. “It’s more relevant to today.”