Temple Beth-El of Borough Park, what do we know about its history?

Home Forums Decaffeinated Coffee Temple Beth-El of Borough Park, what do we know about its history?

Viewing 42 posts - 1 through 42 (of 42 total)
  • Author
  • #600162

    What do we know about its history? Who were the Rabbis? Who were the Chazzanim? What do we know about its original founders? When was it built? Who built it? How many years did it take to build? How much did it cost? What materials were used? Who was the architect? Are any present members direct descendants of original founders or members? Anything anyone knows about its history would be interesting.

    See below for photo of exterior



    Looking at the nearby buildings in the background of that photo, it appears from old Boro Park with small houses spread out.


    Why have you started 3 threads on one topic?

    oot for life

    i agree, this is getting a little out of hand


    TG, I meant my recent posts to be three disctinct topics, only two touch on BE though

    1. Increasing membership in BE while filling a void in BP (I angered some unfortunately).

    2. Feeling out if there’s interest in a different kind of Shul in BP, other than BE

    2. Questions about the history of BE (hopefully this is harmless and wont annoy anyone!)


    It’s obvious this shul is very important too you why dont you call them and meet with one of its officers to discuss it.


    Just wondering if any of the members, who are in the CR, can share anything about the history of the Shul, such as the questions above. It would be fascinating.


    Even if the three topics are not exactly alike they are definitely very related and do not require separate thread designations IMHO.


    TG, I have nothing to add to the other two threads, so unless someone else does, the threads will die a natural death, and not bee seen on the menu of threads, after a short while.

    Meantime, this thread concerning the creation of BE, and the whos, whats, hows and whens, a museum of a Shul, intrigues me.

    Can anyone offer info to satiate my desire for knowledge? I searched the internet and havent found anything. Im sure the history is filled with very interesting facts, beginning with the founders in the 1920’s. Wikipedia has a few sentences and offers a website that leads to nothing.


    Questions about the history of BE (hopefully this is harmless and wont annoy anyone!)

    Not when it’s coming from you. If this had been your first post on the topic, it would be OK.



    Not when it’s coming from you. If this had been your first post on the topic, it would be OK.

    So sorry. How many lashes do I deserve? After the lashes, can members, who I assume know something of the history of the Shul, respond, with your permission?


    Cantor Mosh Kossouvitzky was the Chazan there at one time. Now I think it’s Chazzan Miller, a Bobover Chasid. On Shabbos Mevorchim the place is packed with Chassidim to hear the chazzan bentch Rosh Chodesh.

    In the 1980’s Temple Beth El and Young Israel of Borough Park merged and it became Young Israel Beth El. I’m not sure what the status is at this point.


    Check in the Hamodia archives as they had a full writeup last winter.

    To us Beth El was where we took group graduation photos on their outdoor steps.


    I got something 🙂

    Temple Beth-El of Borough Park(4802 15th Avenue, Brooklyn)


    Try googling it.



    I am the grand-daughter of the founding president of this synagogue, so yes, there are people out here who are descended from the original founders.

    My father, who grew up near the temple and graduated from New Utrecht High School, still lives in the New York area (Lido Beach) but I reside in Boulder, CO these days.

    I have the silver key which was presented to my grandfather, Dr. Napelbaum, when the building was consecrated and opened as a temple and, as a matter of fact, I came across this posting while doing some simple internet research because my dad and I were thinking it might be nice to donate the key to the temple next time I am in town, so I want to contact the current temple president.

    As to what should be done in regard to your other questions, I have no idea what would be appropriate for the current residents of this neighborhood, who I believe lean toward a different flavor of Judaism than did the temple’s founders, and a different one than is practiced by my family, but I would hate to think that the building would ever be anything but a house of Jewish worship.


    Cool, thanks for stopping in. Mod-95


    NFN: I wouldn’t categorize different flavors of Orthodoxy as different flavors of Judaism. So I would surely state it still practices the same Judaism as its founders did. Though, you also note that it is different than the flavor your family (currently) practices. This I cannot dispute, as it appears from the timestamp that you have posted your comment from Boulder, Colorado during the Sabbath.


    Tomche – could you please give me a few examples of orthodox shuls from the early 20th century called “temple” anything? Of course the “flavour” was different – as was the level of observance of the average Brooklyn Jew. And way to go with the ahavas yisroel. Instead of remarking on the fact that a non orthodox Jew from Colorado has a keen interest in Jewish continuity and is pleased that the temple her grandfather founded is now in use as an orthodox shul, you found it appropriate to give her tochecha for chilul shabbos. bravo.

    NFN – some of us reading this are grateful not only for your grandfather’s dedication to the Jewish community, but also for your interest in the community and the shul. I encourage you to visit the shul next time you are in New York, and hopefully you will have a chance to engage with the current Rabbi, members, and leadership of the shul. i am sure you will be welcome.

    YW Moderator-18

    No fancy name: I know people who pray there. If you really want to donate the key, I can put you in touch with the right people. Please post again if you are interested.


    NFN – I know a number of people there, and go occasionally to hear Chazzan BZ Miller. If you post a contact email or some way of reaching you, I’ll be glad to put you in touch with the rabbi. Do you have any connection with Aish Kodesh on Balsam? Does your father have any connection with R Mehlman’s synagogue?

    Have a great week.

    PS I miss the mint room at CS!


    I wanted to thank Yichusdik for his or her (sorry, I can’t tell from your moniker what gender you are) kind and welcoming words regarding my initial post.

    As a rule, I have found the Orthodox community here, and in the other places where I have lived in the US and Israel, welcoming in the “we’re all Jews together” way exemplified in your post. And when I don’t find that, I try to just move on.

    Some people (Jewish or not) think that it’s their duty to drive in the left lane at precisely the speed limit in order to police the driving of everyone behind them. They are the same type of people who told my young son that sticking cardboard cut-outs of Sabbath candles on the window and adding paper flames as the sun set on Friday night when he was in the hospital and unable to light actual matches was worse than not doing anything at all.

    There is nothing anyone can say to make people like that change their minds, or to make them see that what they are doing is actually against the religion they are so bent on defending. I am sure there is a name for it, and that many people on this chat will know where to find the exact prohibition in the Talmud, but I do know enough to know that it is forbidden to deliberately make someone feel badly, and it must be doubly so to do so to a small child.

    I didn’t intend to go on such a rant, but there it is. Stopping now. Shavua tov to all.

    Borough Park Mensch

    No Fancy Name,

    I am a dues-paying member of the Younng Israel-Beth El of Borough Park. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. While money is tight, I am confident that the shul would find some appropriate way to exhibit the key and honor your grandfather.

    In response to one of OP’s threads, I was one of two participants from the shul on this website. The other was Soliek. While I see him there every week, I actually don’t know if he is a member. 🙂

    The Yeshiva World has set up some rules prohibiting the open exchange of email addresses. Let’s see what they are willing to do for you privately.


    About 30-40 years ago. I don’t remember exactly when, but I clearly remember hearing a speech from Menachem Begin at Beth-El before he was prime minister.

    I also heard from many old-timers that Reb Meir Shapiro gave a speech there when he was in America shortly after the shul was built.

    This shul is a masterpiece


    Dear Mensch

    The rule about personal emails must be why my posts don’t show up. Thanks for clarifying that.

    We don’t expect to be paid, nor do we expect the temple to spend a ton of money on a fancy display. We just want the key to have a home that is larger in terms of community and meaning than ours so that the current and future members will be able to see it and maybe learn a little about the founders.

    Perhaps I can talk to my dad and write a little story about his dad and the founding of the temple that could be available with the key itself and maybe some photos from the past that could be displayed together.

    Can someone from the site please let me know how to give current temple members who want to communicate with me my email address or other contact information?




    How do I get in touch with you or others individually? And what keeps happening to my posts? Are they not being posted because I am trying to give out my email address? Can you post them without that information?


    correct, we do not post email addresses or outside links. Sorry.


    I believe one of the moderators (42) has an email he gives out. Perhaps he can facilitate the connection.

    Borough Park Mensch


    You have my permission to forward my email address to No Fancy Name if you would like the mitzvah of honoring my shul.


    the chazzanim in beth el were as follows 1.hirshman 2. chagy 3.koussivitzky moshe 4. paul zim 5. stern 6.blum 7.currently miller the last 2 were openly orthodox the rabbi thru all of them was shorr

    Borough Park Mensch


    Rabbi Schorr passed away several years ago. While Benzion Miller is still the chazan, the rav is Rabbi Moshe Snow.


    Thanks Mensch, I hope they do send me your email.

    Moderators: You have permission to share my email with Borough Park Mensch through private channels as well. Thanks.


    Moderators: Please send my email address to AhvasChinom through private channels. Thanks

    AC, I am embarrassed to tell you how long it took me to figure out what you meant by your PS! I kept racking my brain for some religious/Jewish connection. Silly me!

    We take a lot of our guests there (the Celestial Seasonings Factory Tour for those wondering what we’re talking about) and the mint room is one of my favorite stops on the tour.



    Can someone please tell me what the addition of “sorry” to the end of my post means?



    That’s a comment added by a mod that sounds like the mods policy is not to share contacts, even if both parties request.

    that’s correct.


    yichusdik wrote,

    “could you please give me a few examples of orthodox shuls from the early 20th century called ‘temple’ anything?”

    One example is Temple Beth El, first Orthodox shul built in Long Beach, NY, in 1928. It always had the name, and it was never anything but Orthodox.


    I know this is an old thread but just came across it. I just found an invitation to my father’s Bar-Mitzvah at this temple from February 3rd, 1934. I amy have some interesting information about the history of this synagogue assuming my family lore is accurate. Anyone still interested?


    deborahbrown: Yes, folks here are interested in what you can share.

    Brooklyn to Boulder

    I believe my father may have been bar mitzvahed at this synagogue in 1926 or 1927. I am interested in locating records of his family’s membership. Any information as to how I might obtain such records would be appreciated.


    My father, OBM, grew up at #312 Ave F and celebrated his Bar Mitzvah there in February 1935.

    As for Orthodox Synagogues being called Temple it is not common in NY, but in the Boston area it is very common


    How often does Benzion Miller bentch there?


    FYI, their original building at 41st and 12th has a cornerstone that says “Congregation Beth El.” I suspect unknowledgeable people started calling it Temple Beth El because the name Beth El itself is popular among Reford \\m and Conservative temples, and they mixed it up.


    When they started on 12th Avenue in 1902, their name indeed was Congregation Beth El of Borough Park. But by time they built their current building on 15th Avenue in 1920, their name, as inscribed on the building itself, became Temple Beth El of Borough Park. After they merged with Young Israel of Borough Park in the 1980s, they changed their name to Young Israel Beth El of Borough Park.


    Just saw this old thread brought to life and had to make some comments.
    My paternal great grandparents moved to Boro Park in 1903.
    Both my grandfather and father celebrated their Bar Mitzvah at the Temple Beth El in 1913 and 1935 respectively.
    In postwar II America the use of the word ‘Temple’ and a synagogue name usually indicated this was a Reform synagogue, but that was not a universal truth. Here in New England ‘Temple’ XXXX was the name of many Orthodox shuls founded after the Russian pogroms of 1881 and the change of immigration laws in about 1924.
    My eldest BIL just retired as the pulpit rabbi of one of these so named shuls near Boston after some 30 years.

Viewing 42 posts - 1 through 42 (of 42 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.