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History of Temple Beth El

This will give you an idea of where we are coming from.

1928 During an interlude in the Yom Kippur Services, a group of men from both Orthodox synagogues in Troy met informally and began plans for a house of worship where whole families might sit together; where in addition to the holy language there would be prayer in English; where the demands of tradition would be met but where new interpretations would be considered.
1929 On April 23, Temple Beth El was incorporated, with Dr. Julius Seltzer as the first president, and Rabbi Joel S. Geffen as spiritual leader. After holding services alternately at Shaaray Tephilah on Division Street and Beth Israel Bikur Cholim on River Street, the group moved into quarters at 87 First Street, which was then the YMHA (later to become the first Jewish Community Center). High Holy Day services were conducted at the Masonic Temple. In June of that year, the ceremonial completion and dedication of a Torah scroll (the Siyum Hasefer) was held. That same year, the women of the Congregation formed a sisterhood with Mrs. Lillian Gold as president.
1930 The new congregation purchased 1713 Fifth Avenue which had been the Universalist Church. This building was to be the congregation's home for many years.
1931 After much renovation, Temple Beth El was ready for occupancy. That same year, land was purchased from the owners of Elmwood Hill Cemetery.
The Temple's needs during the war years were served by Rabbi Reuben Slonim and Rabbi George Vida. The Joseph M. Weissblum Memorial Library was established in honor of the only Temple son lost in World War II.
1950's Isador Pfeiffer served as principal of the Beth El Hebrew and Sunday School. He had a strong influence on the Jewish education of scores of children who passed through the school.
1951 At the suggestion of Rabbi Hershel Matt, the Board voted to include the Bat Mitzvah ceremony, whereby girls as well as boys were called to the Torah in an individual service at the age of thirteen. Confirmation for both boys and girls was advanced to the age of fifteen.
1959 The congregation came under the leadership of Rabbi Herman Horowitz, who sponsored the Bet Atid group at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Eventually, they purchased a home in which they maintained an authentic Jewish life style.
1967 During the Six Day War, several philanthropic members of Temple Beth El pooled their resources to purchase a $100,000 Israel Development Bond.
1968 Temple Beth El was destroyed by fire and the congregation was forced to move to temporary housing at the Jewish Community Center on 21st Street and at varied rented spaces for three and one half years. High Holy Day services were held at the United Methodist Church.
1971 In May, ground was broken for the site of a new synagogue and educational center. The site on Hoosick Street was formerly occupied by the Grand Union Market. Under the leadership of President Abe Gaies, this was the first Jewish temple built in Troy in more than 100 years. The Temple's new rabbi, Noach Valley, conducted the She-heh-cha-yah-noo, the prayer for a blessed beginning.
The Temple's United Synagogue group (USY) sponsored a region-wide kinus, hosting Jewish youngsters from cities and towns in northeastern New York and western Massachusetts.
1975 Rabbi Mordecai Kieffer, his wife Barbara, and his children Efriam Zvi, Issar Daveed, and Shulammet Orah came to us from Erie, Pennsylvania. Rabbi Kieffer inaugurated a Sundary Morning Talmud Study group, a Tuesday morning sisterhood study group and a Tuesday evening Transactional Analysis group. He also developed a new school curriculum in the areas of Bible study, Siddur, Prayer, and Hebrew for the first five years of student education.
1979 Temple Beth El celebrates its golden anniversary.
2004 Our First 75 Years!
2009 Temple Beth El celebrates its 80th anniversary.
2012 Temple Beth El adopts new constitution, replacing by-laws and constitution.
2022 Still going strong after 93 years!
7:00 PM Services

9:15 AM Services
10:30 AM Torah service

See a video celebrating 90 years of Beth El!

Temple Beth El
411 Hoosick Street
Troy, NY 12180
(518) 272-6113

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Temple Beth El of Troy
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