- Central Synagogue, a Reform congregation affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism, is one of the oldest Reform congregations in New York City. Formed from the merger in 1898 of Shar HaShomayim, founded in 1839 by German Jews, and Ahawath Chesed, founded in 1846 by Bohemian Jews, the congregation changed its name to Central Synagogue in 1920. Central Synagogue stands at the heart of one of the greatest centers of Jewish life. It has always played a significant role in the national Reform movement and in the creative and complex Jewish community of New York City. Its Rabbis and members continue a long tradition of leadership of local, national and international Jewish and civic organizations. Central Synagogue provides a meaningful opportunity for Jews of diverse backgrounds to come together for prayer, spiritual renewal and community in a warm, enriching environment.