Congregation Kehilat Shalom was initially founded as the Jewish Community Center of Belle Mead by four families in 1982. This core group, which quickly grew to eighteen families, consisted of farmers, doctors, teachers, artists, mechanics, and managers. They were seeking a local Jewish identity and an alternative to the large, impersonal synagogues in the area. In joining together, they created an intimate and loving spirit of unity.
During those early years, they met in various locations, including the Montgomery First Aid Squad building, the Burnt Hill Road Elementary School, and in their own private homes. Finally, in 1986, after considerable growth, our own building on Belle Mead-Griggstown Road was purchased.
After much soul-searching and discussion, it was decided in 1989 to affiliate with the Reconstructionist Movement, as our beliefs were most aligned with its philosophies. That same year we hired our first full-time rabbi, Shana Margolin, who expanded our religious, educational, cultural, and social programs. Under the leadership of Rabbi Michael Tayvah, we changed our name to Congregation Kehilat Shalom (“Peaceful Community”) in 2006. Rabbi Susan Falk was our spiritual leader for eleven years.
In 2018, we welcomed Rabbi Jacob Best Adler. We are a congregation of over 100 families with an active religious school. We also operate Kindercapers, a non-sectarian Nursery school. We remain committed to the ideals of our founders: being a warm, friendly, unpretentious, caring, creative, stimulating congregation, in which all are welcome.