Beth El started as people with a mission. In 1928, at an interlude of the Yom Kippur Services at both Troy orthodox synagogues, men bemoaned the lack of a Jewish religious home where they could pray sitting besides their wives and children. They decided to create a Jewish family environment. The following year Beth El was formally incorporated, and the sisterhood formed. They hired a rabbi, purchased a scroll, met in various borrowed spaces for shabbat and holidays.
Three years later the community moved into a renovated church on 1713 Fifth Avenue. A section of the Elmwood Hill cemetery was acquired and set aside for Beth El’s Jewish burials. That synagogue served until a fire destroyed it in 1968. They repurposed a Grand Union Market into our current sanctuary and extended the school building soon after.
We have recently renovated the interior, adjusting the space to reflect contemporary needs. The library is now a play space for our children. We furnished part of the office space as a coffee bar for small social gatherings. A lavatory was updated to be handicapped accessible.
Our young leadership acknowledges the generous people who established this bedrock of Israel in Troy. Murray Massry, our current congregation president, is the third generation to live out their mission, to sit with his family in our sanctuary as its founders envisioned. His sons are a rising fourth generation.
And our motto is our invitation to share our ongoing mission. Whether for a single service or as a long-term member, “You belong here.”