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Our History

Image of three women holding Torahs outside prior to procession to new building.

Image of marchers in procession holding Torahs under a multicolored chuppah.

(Above) Procession from First Parish in Wayland to our new home up Route 126 in September 2002.

Congregation Or Atid (“Light of the Future”) was founded in 1991 by a small group of families seeking to form a Conservative congregation and afternoon religious school for the towns of Wayland, Weston, Sudbury, and surrounding communities in Metrowest Boston.

In the beginning, the newly formed synagogue relied upon the energy, talent, and commitment of its membership. Community, friendship, worship, sharing life-cycle events, social action and education were the pillars of Or Atid back then as they are today.  Or Atid was a synagogue without its own walls for ten years. Member-led services and an afternoon religious school met at space leased from the First Parish in Wayland. A founding member and his father built Or Atid’s first ark, which housed its first torah — loaned from Camp Ramah of New England.

 As the congregation grew, so did its needs to hire staff — both a rabbi and religious school director. Several part-time rabbis led the congregation for several years: Rabbi Howard Kosovske (1993 - 1994), Rabbi Philip Cohen (1994 - 1996) and Rabbi David Aaron (1996 -1998).  In 1995, Lisa Avery Peck was hired as cantor for High Holiday services and she continues to serve in this capacity.

In 1998 Rabbi Sally Finestone, among America’s first female ordained rabbis, began a full-time, 20-year tenure as rabbi and education director of Or Atid. Today, she holds the role of Rabbi Emeritus. Upon Rabbi Finestone’s retirement, Rabbi Louis Polisson, was hired as Or Atid’s full-time rabbi (2018- 2023). In July 2023, Or Atid welcomed Rabbi David Finkelstein to serve as our rabbi.

As the membership continued to grow in the 1990s, a survey conducted by the Long Range Planning Committee concluded the congregation was ready to build its own facility.  A committee was formed to search for land in Wayland, with the intent to build a permanent home for the Or Atid community. Soon after, a search for land began and in 2000 Or Atid purchased the property at 97 Concord Road in Wayland. A building committee was quickly formed and the architectural firm of Bruner/Cott was hired to design a contemporary synagogue providing proper orientation for religious worship while connecting with the wooded landscape and natural light. On September 16, 2001, Or Atid celebrated the beginning of construction with a groundbreaking ceremony. Construction began soon after and almost exactly one year later congregants, family, friends, and neighbors marched and carried Or Atid’s Torahs from its rented space in the First Parish, to our permanent home — an architecturally award-winning building. The first service held was Erev Rosh Hashanah 5763. It was the generosity, perseverance, and commitment of Or Atid’s congregants who guided this project to its completion — from concept through the land search, design, approvals, and the construction process itself.

 In 2014, Or Atid announced its new approach to affiliation with the announcement of a “sustaining pledge model”, one of the first in New England to do so. Before adopting this change, surveys were sent to Or Atid’s membership. The response was an overwhelming endorsement of the proposal eliminating any financial barriers to membership for young families starting out, seniors on fixed incomes or others who would like to be part of a synagogue community but cannot afford dues. Or Atid provides an environment where those who can pledge the sustaining amount or more will be inspired to do so and those who are unable will pledge to their ability with the knowledge that they are essential members in our community.

Today, Or Atid is home to the Jewish Learning Collaborative of Metrowest, a community religious school serving students from surrounding synagogues and unaffiliated families. Its school wing is an active learning center and continues to provide families with a place to learn and grow together in a warm, welcoming community.

Mon, June 24 2024 18 Sivan 5784