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The History of Shir Chadash


Conservative Judaism in New Orleans was born when a group of pioneering families founded thew Conservative Congregation of New Orleans in 1959.  Conservative Congregation held its first official service on Selichot, September 17, 1960, at 923 Napoleon Avenue.  The growing congregation moved to 3737 W. Esplanade Avenue on October 17, 1977 and adopted the name Tikvat Shalom (Hope for Peace).

Chevra Thilim (Society of Psalms) was formed in 1875 by a group of Eastern European immigrants and was chartered as an Orthodox synagogue on December 9, 1887.  Over its long history, services were held at multiple sites – at the corners of Dryades and Poydras Streets, Lafayette and Baronne Streets, and lastly at S. Claiborne Avenue and Jena Street. Chevra Thilim adopted family seating in 1957 and, in 1988, voted to become a Conservative synagogue.

On July 1, 1999, the Presidents of Tikvat Shalom and Chevra Thilim signed a Document of Consolidation, joining the two synagogues into one.  The new synagogue would be named Shir Chadash (A New Song) and would be located at the W. Esplanade site.  On August 15, 1999, the union was formalized and celebrated, and Shir Chadash Conservative Congregation has been joyfully singing a new song ever since.

Shir Chadash is proud to still serve as the New Orleans' only Conservative Synagogue.  We are a vibrant, egalitarian, traditional synagogue that is open to all. Shir Chadash is a dynamic place of prayer, learning, caring, and commitment.  We strive to be a warm and friendly place, a haimish environment for worship, study, and community.

We are blessed that several of our founding members still join us regularly not only for services, but also for multiple learning opportunities. We strive to embody the best aspects of the Conservative Movement: passion and egalitarianism in prayer, intellectual engagement in Jewish texts, a commitment to Jewish life, and a deep yearning to work for a better world. To that end, we focus our efforts on participatory lay-led prayer, on exceptional and wide-ranging educational offerings for people of all ages, on a deep sense of the power of Jewish community, and on efforts to improve the Greater New Orleans area.

In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated our building and our community.  We were the first New Orleans synagogue to hold services after Katrina, and the storm and it’s aftermath have left a lasting impression on our community.  We are proud of what we have accomplished over the past half century, but we are especially proud of our resilience post Katrina. We have come a long way since those storm-swept days, but we are not yet finished recreating and building.
 

Our Present and Future




Shir Chadash Conservative Congregation now counts more than 250 families as members, hosts a vibrant and inclusive religious school and one of the city's most respected early learning centers. We are proud of how each member brings his or her own story to our diverse community—such as those who have a multi-generational history at our congregation and those new to the city or Shir Chadash Conservative Congregation, of all ages and backgrounds who are seeking a Jewish community – a place to call home.


Learning


Our educational programs are first-class, with an early learning center onsite, one of the finest fully inclusive religious schools in our city, and a robust adult education program. Our goal is to provide for a lifetime of Jewish learning. We also host a sizable library and media center, wherein our members may check out materials at no charge.


Prayer & Worship


Thu, April 25 2024 17 Nisan 5784