Congregation Achduth Vesholom
Congregation Achduth Vesholom is the oldest Jewish congregation in Indiana and has been building Jewish community in Fort Wayne since 1848.
A charter member of the Reform Movement (now known as the Union for Reform Judaism), the Temple is linked to a worldwide community of Jews whose progressive values allow a high degree of personal religious autonomy while at the same time place great emphasis on the importance of taking social responsibility in the world at large.
More than eight generations of Jews have found a home at Achduth Vesholom and built a strong Jewish presence in the Fort Wayne area. Located in the Woodhurst neighborhood since 1961, the congregation in 2012 re-envisioned its facility and grounds at 5200 Old Mill Road as a Jewish center, creating the Rifkin Campus at 5200 and later adding on the Madge Rothschild Resource Center.
The Rifkin Campus houses Congregation Achduth Vesholom and its Campus Partners: the Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne, the Fort Wayne Jewish Cemetery Association, Purdue Fort Wayne’s Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (satellite office), the Northeast Indiana Jewish Genealogy Society, and Brightpoint Head Start.
The Madge Rothschild Resource Center, which was dedicated in 2017, includes the Temple’s Rabbi Richard B. Safran Library, Jacob L. Goldman Memorial Museum, and meeting and conference space. A large timeline highlights 200 years of Jewish history in Northeast Indiana.
Fort Wayne’s congregational landscape changed in July 2019 – the first time in more than 80 years — following a landmark vote by members of Achduth Vesholom and Congregation B’nai Jacob, a Conservative egalitarian synagogue, to come together as one congregation with two traditions.
The decision came in recognition of shifting demographics and changing membership patterns. Congregation B’nai Jacob, founded in 1912, sold its building in southwest Fort Wayne in August 2019, bringing its Ark, Torahs, and many treasured items to its new home.
As part of this new chapter, Rabbi Paula Jayne Winnig became Achduth Vesholom’s Interim Rabbi in August 2019.
During this transition time for the newly strengthened Congregation Achduth Vesholom, worship offerings on Shabbat expanded to include Reform worship on Friday nights and a traditional lay-led service on Saturday mornings. The first High Holy Days included Reform and traditional services. Guest clergy and lay leaders help provide a variety of worship experiences as we continue to be sensitive to the diverse backgrounds within our congregation. All are welcome to attend services.
Achduth Vesholom is a welcoming congregation and offers a full scope of worship, educational, cultural, and social opportunities for all ages. Interfaith families are encouraged to participate fully in the life of the congregation.
Deeply involved in the community, Temple members spearhead activities that encourage interfaith understanding and cooperation in the Fort Wayne area. The Jewish community’s award-winning Thoughtful Thursdays social action program provides food, household, and educational items to the 72 families affiliated with Brightpoint Head Start at the Temple. It is a joint project of Congregation Achduth Vesholom and the Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne.
Adult learning, Torah study, music programs, a Temple Book Club, social activities, mah jongg play, and other events are offered. Please contact the Temple office for more information for non-affiliated individuals, interfaith couples interested in exploring Judaism, and those considering becoming Jewish.
Religious School is open to children of members. Classes are offered for those age 4 through 12th grade. In addition to a course of general Jewish studies and Hebrew, the Religious School provides creative programs, social action projects, and family education. Our Hebrew program includes a weekday evening session for students studying for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah.
The Temple’s youth groups for high school youth students (FOrTY) and middle school students (Junior Youth Group) bring together Jewish young people for ongoing learning, leadership development and social activities. The youth groups are associated with NFTY (North American Federation of Temple Youth).
Achduth Vesholom also encourages its young people to attend the URJ’s Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI) during the summer in Zionsville, Indiana, and Camp Joe Levine, a Jewish day camp sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne.
The Temple maintains burial plots at Lindenwood Cemetery for its members. In addition, the Fort Wayne Jewish Cemetery has plots available to all Jews, regardless of affiliation.
Office hours are Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Congregation Achduth Vesholom
5200 Old Mill Road
Fort Wayne, IN 46807