Our History

As the first Reform Jewish temple on the Main Line, we have a rich tradition. Each of the 55 founding families who gathered in early 1952 wanted to establish a unique religious center that would serve the needs of its members while allowing those members to serve the needs of others.

Our mission is …

“. . . to cultivate a love and understanding of our Jewish Heritage, to stimulate a fellowship in the Jewish community and to strengthen the bond of loyalty with the Jewish people everywhere and to bring the Kingdom of God on earth through emphasis on the principles of righteousness and community in society at large.”

A Home for All Generations

Early worship for the congregation took place at the Ardmore Women’s Club with a guest rabbi conducting services. At the end of the first year, Rabbi Theodore H. Gordon became our spiritual leader. By the fall of 1954, with a growing membership of 350 families, Main Line Reform Temple purchased an old Wynnewood mansion that had been converted into a synagogue from Temple Adath Israel. As membership and needs expanded, it became obvious that a new structure was warranted, one that would house both the Temple and its Religious School. On September 11, 1960, the current facility was consecrated. Major renovations and expansion of this building were completed in 2005, resulting in a community-oriented facility, accessible to all, including individuals with disabilities.

Part of a Larger Community of Reform Congregations

Main Line Reform Temple is affiliated with a larger community of Reform congregations, the Union for Reform Judaism. Mishkan Tefillah, the Reform prayer book, expresses our spiritual goal: recognition of the traditional principles of Judaism while redefining its essence in modern terms.

Just as Reform Judaism is an ongoing faith that seeks to confront the challenges of our time, so Reform Jews are urged—and empowered—to use their religion to find an ethical and moral direction for themselves.  We strive to create a commitment to Judaism as a continuously growing and changing way of life meaningful to all generations.

Strength through Rabbinic Leadership

  • Rabbi Theodore H. Gordon z”l, who led the congregation from 1953 to 1972, helped Main Line Reform Temple grow from the 55 original founding families to a congregation of 850 families.
  • Rabbi Max Hausen z”l, our Senior Rabbi from 1972 to 1996, worked to build a sense of community among a congregation that had grown to 1250 congregational members, while remaining attentive to members’ individual needs.
  • Rabbi Paul J. Citrin came to Main Line Reform Temple in 1996 and established a number of new Adult Education programs to stimulate lifelong learning.
  • Rabbi David Straus became Senior Rabbi at MLRT in 1998 and has enhanced MLRT’s interfaith connections, strengthened our Tikkun Olam Network and prioritized learning at every age and stage of our congregants’ lives.

​Strength through Congregational Leadership

Leadership from the pulpit has been matched by the leadership provided from the congregation’s members. Leadership is shared by the Temple Officers and Board of Trustees, the Sisterhood, the Brotherhood and myriad Temple committees. Over the years, the composition of the Board has been both fluid—with a steady stream of new faces and ideas—and stable enough to remind us of past experiences.