Mission & History

The mission of The Valley Temple is the deepening of Jewish experience and knowledge for our members, in order to strengthen faith in God, love of Torah, and identification with the Jewish people, through education, involvement in the Temple and participation in Jewish life.

We will foster the personal and spiritual growth of each member and each member’s family in an atmosphere where respect for self and others is enhanced. We will design The Valley Temple to serve those preferring the greater intimacy, informality and sense of personal satisfaction, which can be more readily achieved in a smaller congregation.

Cool Timeline

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1952

A small group (primarily Wyoming, OH residents) organizes as a response to too much Hebrew at their congregation, and starts educating their children in group members’ homes. School formally incorporates as the “Cincinnati School for Judaism” in 1957.

1961

The school’s name is formally changed to “The Valley Temple.”  HUC faculty member Rabbi/Dr. Abraham Cronbach serves as Rabbi Emeritus and assists in teaching and lifecycle events.  

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1962

Rabbi Herbert Stern becomes the first rabbi of the Valley Temple.  He later moves to Chicago to pursue a different career path. In 1964, Rabbi David M. Zielonka becomes the second full-time rabbi. The congregation meets in the Friendship Methodist Church on Springfield Pike in Wyoming, OH.

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1968

Rabbi Solomon T. Greenberg becomes the rabbi of the Valley Temple after serving for a few years as an Assistant Rabbi of Isaac M. Wise Temple. At the time of Rabbi Greenberg’s election, the congregation boasts 37 families. 

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1969

A house (122 Springfield Pike) is purchased as the first permanent home of the Valley Temple. Previous spaces included the Jewish Community Center (Roselawn), the Masonic Temple of Wyoming (currently the Wyoming Fine Arts Center), as well as the Friendship church.  Some ceremonies, including HHD are held in the HUC-JIR chapel in Clifton.

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1974

Significant growth in the membership allows for construction of a synagogue at 145 Springfield Pike. The building is dedicated in the Spring.

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1975

Acclaimed artist Nelson Ronsheim donates series of paintings called “Seven Days of Creation.” Prints of these paintings are found throughout Cincinnati Jewish organizations, but originals are housed at the Valley Temple.

1982

Cincinnati Reform Jewish High School begins as a combined effort of the four Cincinnati Reform synagogues.  Rabbi Greenberg is instrumental in establishing community commitment to high school scholarships for Israel.

1991

Temple is remodeled to accommodate greater space needs. Courtyard is enclosed, board room moved, and gift shop and storage room are added. New configuration allows for more classrooms.

1993

Sanctuary is remodeled in honor of Rabbi Greenberg’s 25th Anniversary. In 1997 new Torah covers by Jeanette Kovin Oren are dedicated.

2000

Due to health concerns, Rabbi Greenberg becomes Rabbi Emeritus as congregation celebrates a 32-year relationship with a trusted friend, mentor, and spiritual leader.  HUC-JIR student interns David Kaufman and Jeremy Barras serve the congregation until a new rabbi is elected.

2001

Rabbi Sandford Kopnick becomes the fourth full-time rabbi of the Valley Temple. Rabbi Sam Joseph, professor of education at HUC-JIR and Rabbi Greenberg participate in the installation service.

2001

Hebrew education expands to meet twice a week: one mid-week session in addition to Sunday morning during religious school for grades 4-6. Creative Middle School Program including internet-chatroom is also introduced.

2006

Camera installed in sanctuary to allow for occasional video streaming and video recording of lifecycle events.

2007

Congregation celebrates 50th anniversary with Gala weekend including 50th Anniversary sermon from Rabbi Gary P. Zola, Ph.D., director of the American Jewish Archives. Congregation honors members affiliated for 25 years or more. 

2007

Mural by Temple member Nancy Illman created to adorn wall outside sanctuary, and Temple member Andrea Knarr creates original art for the sanctuary. Newly painted walls allow for media projection to aid with transliteration and other worship service enhancements. Temple establishes $1.2M endowment fund to ensure Temple’s future.

2008

Middle School program revamped and renamed Valley Temple Mitzvah Corps and includes classroom learning, retreats, social action programs around the city and the online chatroom.

2009

“Rosh Hashanah Reconnect” is established as an experimental and contemporary service to reach out to the unaffiliated. Service features the Temple’s Friday Night Live band and eventually becomes the earlier of two Rosh Hashanah evening services at Valley.

2015

Building Enhancement Campaign adds a 2500 sq. ft. addition with board room & 2 early childhood classrooms. Space reconfiguration allows for a beautiful new kitchen, meeting space, enhanced classrooms & new offices. Congregation adds modestly to endowment. Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati grant helps with 15% of cost and groundbreaking is celebrated after 100% of funds are pledged.

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