Columbia Jewish Congregation (CJC) is a welcoming, egalitarian community affiliated with the Jewish Reconstructionist Movement. It was founded in the late 1960’s by early Columbia, Maryland residents who brought an experimental spirit and desire to create a more personal Jewish community than the synagogue life of their youth. They wanted to raise their children in a progressive environment open to all varieties of Jewish practice and learning. From this beginning, CJC and the Columbia Jewish Community School (CJCS) were born. Now an established congregation of 300 households, including traditional, interfaith, same-sex families, and singles, CJC strives to apply Torah values in our congregation and our community.
Our clergy and their families are integral members of our congregation, and these bonds of friendship enhance our study and worship. We are proud of our Rabbis and Cantor for their scholarship, spiritual guidance, and passionate stands for social justice and gender equality. Our lay leaders work closely with our clergy and staff because we believe that grassroots involvement is essential for a healthy synagogue.
We honor our Jewish values by putting them at the center of our contemporary lives and we explore innovative ways to serve members’ needs and tikkun olam (healing the world). Our policies are informed, but not dogmatically determined, by study of traditional Jewish teachings and collective decisions are made through respectful dialogue—“sacred argument.” We apply our Jewish values to social justice challenges, such as marriage-equality and environmental protection, taking public positions on important issues in our civic community. We are inspired by Rabbi Hillel who asked, “If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?”
Sharing the religious, cultural and historical wisdom of Jewish civilization is an enduring trait of our people. At CJC, we explore Judaism in America, in Israel and around the world. Young and old are valued as learners and teachers; and learning is informal, fun and participative. We foster Jewish identity and knowledge in our young children, offer a comprehensive program for teens, provide B’nai Mitzvah preparation for the entire family and explore the myriad dimensions of Jewish life through our adult education program.
We form life-long friendships, share joys and come to each other’s aid and consolation in time of trouble or loss. We prize the intimacy afforded by our size, but seek to strengthen our foundation and nourish a living Judaism with new members, more children, and fresh voices. Our policy is that one’s finances should not be a bar to membership. Members contribute financially, as well as through gifts of, service, compassion, and commitment.
Wherever you are in your Jewish journey—new and curious, steeped in lifetime learning and worship, or searching for a welcoming community—CJC invites you to explore with us what it means to live as a holy people in a complex and demanding modern world.
If interested in joining us or obtaining information about our religious school, we would be glad to answer your questions. Please contact us by phone 410-730-6044 or email.