“You had to have a shul.” So said one of the members of the founding generation. They were young men and women, often newly married, starting new lives after WWII in newly built Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, which gave preference to returning veterans. Because at first, T&V had no full-time rabbi, many ritual as well as administrative responsibilities fell on the members. Lay Torah readers and lay daveners were needed if the shul was to exist from week to week. And from this necessity grew the lay participation that is the distinguishing feature and pride of T&V today.
In the early years, T&V was literally a congregation “on the move.” From a social hall, to the meeting room of a union, above a liquor store and elsewhere throughout our neighborhood, T&V kept moving until 1962. Then, in a procession of Torahs up 14th Street, the congregation moved into a former Ukrainian Orthodox church, ending our years of wandering.
Traditional, participatory, and egalitarian, T&V has members from throughout the New York area. Our members look to T&V, as did our founders, as our sacred space, our spiritual home, a place where Conservative Jews, lay and clergy, men and women, adults and children, together, create community and commitment.