Kesher Zion's Heritage
The origins of Kesher Zion in Reading, Pennsylvania date back to the earliest years of the 20th century.
Congregation Bnai Zion, formed in 1911, and Congregation Kesher Israel, granted a charter in 1913, eventually merged into one entity—the Kesher Zion Synagogue Center—in 1929. It was a joyous union despite the looming years of the Great Depression.
The synagogue building itself, a converted church on the corner of 8th and Court Streets in Reading, became the Conservative congregation’s home for the next two decades.
In 1933, a separate entity—Kesher Zion Hebrew School—was created to further Jewish youth education and Bar Mitzvah studies. The school was originally located in a rented building on a property at Eckert & Perkiomen Avenues, which the synagogue eventually purchased.
In May 1947, under the leadership of President David Schein, groundbreaking for a spacious new synagogue at 1245 Perkiomen Avenue was held. It was followed in April 1949 by a “Dedication of Cornerstone” ceremony. Finally, after years of imagining, planning and construction, Kesher Zion’s new house of worship was dedicated on December 3, 1950. The imposing structure featured magnificent stained-glass windows in the main sanctuary, a beautiful Sisterhood Hall for social functions, a charming chapel, and ample classrooms for a growing Hebrew School.
The interior of 1245 Perkiomen Avenue
Countless simchas and family milestones were celebrated in that location for 65 years. As the costs for maintaining the building became more challenging in recent years, Kesher Zion explored various options and searched for a new home. Reform Congregation Oheb Sholom at 555 Warwick Drive in nearby Wyomissing opened its arms and doors to Kesher Zion, and the two congregations have been sharing space since 2017.
The interior of 555 Warwick Drive