PO Box 1694, Westerly RI 02891




History of the Synagogue

The building that houses our congregation was built as an Episcopal Church in the late Nineteenth Century. In 1903, the building was sold to the ancient order of Hibernians, who then sold it to Congregation Sharah Zedek in 1917. For the last ninety years, the Congregation has operated continuously with waxing and waning populations of Jewish residents. From 1917 to the early 1940’s, this was the site of an orthodox Shul. After several years and a variety of external pressures, the building houses two distinct groups: an orthodox congregation in the lower level, and a conservative congregation upstairs in the sanctuary. Sharah Zedek continued as an active conservative congregation through the 1950’s. For many years, the Jewish population declined to the point where the synagogue was only offering services for the High Holidays. Through the efforts of Matthew L. Lewiss, who has been President since the 1980’s, and a small group of faithful members, the Congregation has become more active. Coupled with an increase in population and influx of part-time residents from out of state, there is now at least one Friday evening Shabbat service each month, a successful Chanukah party and summer pot luck dinner as well as celebrations for holidays other than Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Sharah Zedek has also recently been host to several B’nai Mitzvah and weddings.