Our History & Vision
Our Mission Statement
Congregation Beth Elohim is a welcoming and inclusive synagogue, proudly rooted in Jewish history and identity, profoundly open to different backgrounds and divergent points of view. We come together to learn, celebrate, and worship, honoring each individual's search for an authentic relationship to the divine. We are a preeminent Brooklyn institution, a spiritual, cultural, and intellectual center for Jewish revitalization, fostering community, and extending our congregational values of justice, education, and inspiration throughout the neighborhoods where we live and beyond.
Our History - 150 Years in Brooklyn
Modern scholars have yet to write the definitive history of Jews in Brooklyn, but when they do, Congregation Beth Elohim (CBE), a Reform synagogue located in the Park Slope neighborhood, will figure prominently. The history of CBE typifies much of the American Jewish experience while further illuminating the broader narrative of the American immigrant experience and process of Americanization. Touching upon religious and cultural history, the CBE story is also woven into the history of Brooklyn and New York.
Throughout its 150-year history, CBE has been among Brooklyn’s largest and most influential Jewish congregations. As the congregation coalesced in the mid-19th century, its members synthesized their German roots with their American identity, growing and adapting their practice of Judaism and communal culture to the American context. These challenges shaped the congregation from its 1861 founding in downtown Brooklyn, through its relocation to Park Slope in 1909, to the challenges of constructing a second building, the Temple House, in 1929. By the turn of the century, CBE had become one of the leading synagogues in Brooklyn, distinguished by its leaders, membership and programs. Pioneering modern Jewish education, the leadership of CBE was also at the forefront of improving interfaith relations, among other achievements. For the course of the 20th century through the present, the story of CBE exemplifies the story of how immigrant Jews and their descendents remained grounded in their traditions while becoming an integral component of the wider community.
For an abridged history of Congregation Beth Elohim, please visit our page on Wikipedia.
Our Vision - Five Fundamentals
We offer exciting and innovative Jewish education, as well as secular educational programming of the highest quality.
Ritual and Spirituality
We provide a sacred space for meaningful relection, joyful song, and enriching Torah study; we seek to maintain and renew the practices and customs of our tradition.
We furnish our members with a web of connections and a sense of home, a place to celebrate our joys together and to help one another in times of need.
We are a cultural and intellectual hub, a showcase for creativity, and a welcoming Brooklyn destination for bold debate about books, faith, current events, and ideas.
We reach out to disparate elements of the Jewish world in order that we may come together as one people, emphasizing our shared language, mission, history, and tradition, and our connection to the Land of Israel; we embrace our responsibility as Jews to be careful stewards of our cultural inheritance, our natural resources, and our collective heritage.