Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the Lehigh Valley anyway?

The Lehigh Valley consists of the cities of Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton, Pennsylvania, and their surrounding towns. It is located approximately 1 hour north of Philadelphia and 90 minutes west of New York City.

How many Jews live in the Lehigh Valley?

Approximately 8,000 Jews live in the Lehigh Valley.

 

How many synagogues are there in the Lehigh Valley?

There are currently 9 synagogues in the Valley and surrounding area covering all denominations. Our Moderm Orthodox synagogue, Congregation Sons of Israel, is located in the West End of Allentown. Conservative synagogue Temple Beth El, Reform synagogues Congregation Keneseth Israel and Temple Shirat Shalom and Chabad of the Lehigh Valley are also located in Allentown. In Bethlehem, you'll find the Conservative synagogue Congregation Brith Sholom, along with Reconstructionist synagogue Congregation Am Haskalah, which shares its building. In Easton, the Conservative and Reform synagogues have recently merged to form Bnai Shalom. And in nearby Lehighton, you'll find the Reform Temple Israel.

 

Where can I send my kids to religious school?

Many of our local synagogues offer religious school education. Visit our synagogue page to learn more or visit their websites (see above).

 

Where can I find kosher food?

Allentown supermarkets, including Weis, Giant and Wegmans, feature a good variety of kosher foods. Meat, cheese and pantry staples are available. Additionally, the bakeries at Weis on Cedar Crest Boulevard and Route 22 and Giant in the Tilghman Square shopping center are certified kosher by the Lehigh Valley Kashrut Commission (LVKC). Also in Tilghman Square, you'll find kosher bagels at Manhattan Bagel and kosher treats at Rita's, Menchie's and Carvel. Parked outside of the Jewish Community Center in Allentown, you'll find the Around the Table Catering food truck (parve, LVKC-supervised), offering a full kosher vegetarian menu of Mediterranean items. Nearby Muhlenberg College also has a kosher dining hall (Star-K and Star-D supervised) available to the public and many local caterers provide kosher meals. And Pennsylvania's first kosher winery, Binah Winery, is located in Allentown. For the most up-to-date information, visit www.lvkosher.org

 

How can I meet other Jewish families?

There are so many ways to get involved in the community and make new friends. Many families become connected through Early Childhood Education at the Jewish Community Center or by enrolling at the Jewish Day School. Joining a synagogue is another great way to meet Jewish families. PJ Library programs for young children offered by the Jewish Federation, the Jewish Community Center and partnering synagogues and agencies are another opportunity to build connections – and they're often free! 

 

Where can I attend services on the High Holidays?

Many of our local synagogues make High Holiday services available to non-members. Others offer special first-time access to non-members. Visit our synagogue page to learn more about local synagogues and see the New Year special section of HAKOL each year for the full service schedule.

 

Where can I celebrate Passover?

Several community seders are offered throughout the Valley each year with advance registration. Additionally, all local clergy are willing and able to connect you with a seder in a private home.

 

Where can I send my kids over the summer?

Two local Jewish organizations offer outstanding community day camps. The Jewish Community Center in Allentown hosts a full-scale camp program on its West End campus, featuring daily swimming lessons, outdoor athletics and indoor music, art and more. In addition to the regular day camp, specialty camps are offered each summer that cover a variety of interests. Chabad of the Lehigh Valley also offers a day camp that features swimming, field trips and more. Additionally, there are many Jewish overnight camps in the nearby Poconos and New Jersey.

 

Do you have a Jewish Day School?

Yes! Jewish children from pre-K through 8th grade of all denominations receive a quality secular and Jewish education at the Jewish Day School of the Lehigh Valley. Give them a call at 610-437-0721 to ask any questions you might have or schedule a tour. 

 

Do you have a mikvah?

Yes! The Lehigh Valley Community Mikvah has served our community since 1963. This modern mikvah moved to its current location on College Heights Boulevard in Allentown in 2007 and receives regular use by Jews of all denominations and affiliations. Jews from across the Lehigh Valley and beyond use the mikvah for purposes as varied as conversion, taharat hamishpachah and celebration of momentous lifecycle events.

 

Do you have an eruv?

Yes! We have an eruv in the West End of Allentown that includes Congregation Sons of Israel. Click here to see the eruv map.

 

Do you have a Jewish high school?

Lehigh Valley students have direct access to Jewish secondary education in the Philadelphia area. Special transportation just for Lehigh Valley students is available daily to the Kohelet Yeshiva and Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy

 

Do you have programs for teens?

We have many options for teens to participate in Jewish life in the Lehigh Valley. BBYO has chapters for boys and girls and the Shalshelet program housed at Temple Beth El offers programs for teens on topics that interest them. Many of our synagogues have their own Jewish youth groups as well.

 

Still have questions? Contact Stephanie Smartschan at 610-821-5500 or stephanie@jflv.org.