February 06, 2016   27 Sh'vat 5776

Temple Beth-El, Jersey City, NJ

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In the Beginning...  

The early days of Temple Beth-El are somewhat lost in the mists of time. Around the time of the end of the Civil War, probably about 1864-65, a group of Jews in Jersey City began to meet in study and prayer. They formalized this community under the name of the Isaac Ephraim Congregation, then Beth Israel Congregation, and finally Temple Beth-El in 1871.

Early records indicate that the young congregation met downtown, at 96 Montgomery Street, or nearby on York St. Earliest Temple records date back to 1891, where we see planning for the High Holy Days of that year. The Congregation's liberal roots can be seen throughout, including the resolution that passed overwhelmingly at the Annual Meeting on October 19, 1921, that elected a slate including three women to the Board of Trustees.

In February, 1922, the property at the corner of Harrison Avenue and JF Kennedy Boulevard was purchased. The ground-breaking ceremony took place on June 7, 1925 and the temple was completed in time for the High Holy Day services in 1926. In early September, 1926, the new sanctuary was consecrated. at the inaugural service, the Torahs were carried in solemn procession by the officers and trustees and placed in the beautiful ark. Among the many dignitaries present were Governor A. Harry Moore, Mayor Frank Hague, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise and Rabbi Benjamin Plotkin.

Clergy who have served Beth-El  

Temple Beth-El has been served by distinguished clergy, whose leadership has activated, consoled and inspired this congregation throughout our 150+ year history.

1864 - 1867

Rev. Friedman*

1871 - ?

Rev. Goldburg

1895 - 1896

Rev. Rozenzweig

1898 - 1900

Rev. Julius Silberfeld

1901 - 1903

Rev. Rosenberg

1904 - 1907

Rev. A. Ableson

1908 - 1909

Rev. Nathan Wolf

1909 - 1914

Rabbi L. J. Goetz

1914 - 1937

Rabbi Maurice Thorner

1934 - 1986

Cantor Abraham Berman

1936 - 1986

Rabbi Samuel A. Berman

1986 - 1989

Rabbi Bruce Block

1989 - 2011

Rabbi Kenneth Brickman

2011 - Present

Rabbi Debra Hachen

* The Congregation was known as the Beth Israel Congregation at this time.  On July 11, 1874 it reorganized itself as thr Isaac Ephraim Congregation.
Student Clergy at Temple Beth-El  

In recent years, Temple Beth-El has been honored to provide student pulpits to Cantorial and Rabbinic students from the HUC-JIR. Our services are much the richer for their talents, enthusiasm, and energy and for the continuous innovation they bring.


Cantor Miranda Kark Beckenstein now


Rabbi Susan Laemmle now 


Cantor Peter Halpern now


Cantor Karen Webber Gilat now


Cantor Sarah Pscheidt


Cantor Michael Shochet now


Cantor Daniel Rosenfeld now


Cantor Janet Leuchter now


Cantor David Bentley now


Rabbi Andrew Davids now


Rabbi Lisa Izes


Cantor Sergei Schwartz now


Cantor Larisa Averbakh now


Cantor David Reinwald now


Cantor Jason Kaufman now 


Cantor Jamie Marx now


Cantor Lauren Furman Adesnik now

2013 - present

Student Cantor Elaya Jenkins-Adelberg

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