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Fairfield County’s only Reconstructionist congregation closes

STAMFORD – In February 2013, on the occasion of its 40th anniversary, the Fellowship for Jewish Learning reinvented itself as Selah: Fairfield County’s Reconstructionist Congregation. Last month, after a two-year run, Selah closed its doors. The decision was announced by the Selah board to congregants and friends in a brief email on Friday, Feb. 13.

Selah was led by Rabbi Nicole Wilson-Spiro, who was ordained in 2006 by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Before joining Selah, Wilson-Spiro had served as founding rabbi of the Young Families Havurah at Congregation B’nai Israel in Bridgeport.

Neither the Fellowship for Jewish Learning nor Selah owned a building, with the former group holding services at the Meeting House in Stamford and Selah holding services and events at members’ homes and locations throughout Stamford. At its peak, Selah comprised some 20 member families.

“After months of deliberation, the board proposed and the congregation voted to close Selah,” Wilson-Spiro says. “While our members loved the warm, communal connection at Selah, we were unable to grow as quickly as we had hoped.”

Selah members discussed partnering with another local congregation. “Ultimately, we determined that it was best for our members to join whichever synagogue or chavurah feels most appropriate to them,” Wilson-Spiro says. “[Stamford congregations] Temple Sinai and Temple Beth El both have been very generous in providing support in helping to transition our membership for the rest of this year and beyond.”

For her part, Wilson-Spiro, a Stamford resident, plans to return this fall to the Jewish Theological Seminary, where she is studying full-time for a PhD in Rabbinic literatures and cultures.

With Selah’s closing, Connecticut is home to only one Reconstructionist congregation, Temple B’nai Israel in Willimantic. n

CAP: Selah’s music director Nurit Avigdor leads a group of children in song.

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