(Courtesy of Sephardic Cong. of Fort Lee) In the mid-1980s, a group of young Sephardic families, in search of a place where they could practice their distinctive Sephardic liturgy and customs, gathered at their new home in Fort Lee. The congregation was composed of 20 adults from ten families. The establishment of this unique place of worship provided a spiritual haven for its worshippers.
The origin of this new congregation had its roots in the Spanish inquisition. At the end of the 15th century, the Jews fled the persecution of the Royal Inquisitors, seeking refuge on the North African shores and settling in different cities where they remained and thrived for over 500 years. Independence for the kingdom of Morocco in 1956 forced a civilization and culture which flourished for five centuries to move once again, this time seeking hope in the USA—thus creating the first Sephardic congregation in Bergen County.
Today, the congregation is full-fledged, with daily minyanim and shiurim, adult and children programs, lavish kiddushim, a rabbi and more than 100 families from different backgrounds.
Regular participants and visitors all say that the feeling they get upon entering the edifice is a feeling of warmth of a small place where you will never feel lost in the crowd and your participation truly makes a difference. The congregation has no membership or board and the only fees are for the High Holidays seats (and, of course, the congregation does not turn anyone who cannot afford it).
The congregation is planning to expand the building by enlarging the social hall, adding on a class for the children, building a new kitchen and a mikvah.
The congregation is looking for new families to move to Fort Lee. Financial aid is available.
To spend Shabbat in Fort Lee or to find out more details, please contact Rackel Bouskila at 201-543-9459 or email