With Our Thanks:

-Former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz
-Former NY City Councilman Michael C. Nelson

Councilmembers: -Darlene Mealy, Stephen Levin, Chaim Deutsch, David Greenfield

-Jim Goldman, Charles Diker, Lloyd Handwerker, Hon Alice Fisher Rubin, Lowell Rubin, Raoul Felder bhs-logo2

Synagogues of Brooklyn

By Sarina Roffe
Brooklyn has the greatest density of Jews in the world and the faces of Judaism are reflected in its people. From the various sects of Hasidic Jews to progressive and humanistic Judaism, Brooklyn has it all.

Religious life in Brooklyn takes on many different faces during the course of the year. It also varies by neighborhood. From Williamsburg to Borough Park, from Crowne Heights to Brighton Beach, the neighborhood scene changes depending on the group, its ancestry, as well as its adaptations to Brooklyn’s life.

In preparation for the observance of the Sabbath, neighborhood stores in many Jewish neighborhoods, are filled with shoppers purchasing food to prepare for the Sabbath meals. Jewish-owned businesses and schools will close early on Friday so they can be ready at sundown when the Sabbath begins, and then reopen after the Sabbath ends.

In certain neighborhoods, stores are closed on Saturday, and businesses are open on Sundays. Even banks will vary their hours to accommodate local Sabbath and local holiday observances. On Fridays, in anticipation of the Sabbath, street corners in residential neighborhoods are filled with vendors selling flowers to adorn the Sabbath table. Cars are rarely seen driving in these neighborhoods on the Sabbath.

Heavily Jewish neighborhoods reflect the year-round changes as different holidays and traditions are observed.  The Jewish year begins in the fall with Rosh Hashanah. For the Jewish New Year, the streets are filled with people walking to and from their synagogues dressed in their finery, to and from family members to celebrate holiday meals.

In the days after Rosh Hashanah, kaparot markets open, also known as shlogn kapores. Special markets open for the traditional symbolic sacrifice of chickens during the Days of Awe, the eight days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

In the few days after Yom Kippur, many Jews around the borough are busy building their family sukkah – a temporary hut or simple dwelling, for use during the holiday of Succoth, the fall harvest festival.  Drive through Brooklyn neighborhoods and you will see a multitude of sukkahs filling driveways, porches, and back yards. Specialty stores open to sell Sukkah supplies. And on street corners, you will often see tables set up to sell lulav and etrogs, necessary supplies for the holiday.

During December, for the eight days of Hanukah, menorahs of all kinds will appear in windows and in public parks to commemorate the Maccabean victory of the Assyrians.

In late February or March, a multitude of children will appear dressed in the characters of the Purim story and other festive costumes. And a month later, when Passover arrives, stores will be filled with matza and kosher for Passover foods, necessary for families to eat during the eight day holiday and the two Passover Seders.

The neighborhoods evolve with the holiday seasons and with the needs of their inhabitants. Brooklyn Jews hail from all over the world. Whether it’s Russian Jews in Brighton Beach, Syrian Jews in Flatbush or Eastern Europeans in Crown Heights, each neighborhood is a reflection of the customs of the Jewish people who live there.

East Midwood Jewish Center – 90 Years


90 years ago, a group of committed Brooklyn Jews came together to articulate a vision. They wanted to build a Jewish Center – a collective home to live their Jewish lives. It would be a uniquely American edifice; a place not only to pray, celebrate holidays, raise Jewish families, and explore the endless [more …]East Midwood Jewish Center – 90 Years

New program bonds Israeli and American Jews in Brooklyn Heights

IAC-Shishi Israeli Program to Combine Tradition, Music By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle Singing and sharing a meal together is a universal joy. A new program coming to Brooklyn Heights will celebrate song cuisine and togetherness as it is experienced in Israeli culture. IAC-Shishi Israeli, a new program of the Israeli-American Council [more …]New program bonds Israeli and American Jews in Brooklyn Heights

Rabbi Matt Carl Named New Spiritual Leader of East Midwood Jewish Center

Published in the Jewish Voice – WEDNESDAY, 30 JULY 2014

Rabbi Matt Carl, the new rabbi at the East Midwood Jewish Center, a 90 year old conservative, egalitarian congregation.

Rabbi Matt Carl, a rabbi, educator and environmentalist, has been named as the new Rabbi of the East Midwood Jewish Center (EMJC). The announcement was [more …]Rabbi Matt Carl Named New Spiritual Leader of East Midwood Jewish Center

Rabbi Dr. Alvin Kass to Be Honored

By Francesca Norsen-Tate, Religion Editor – Brooklyn Daily Eagle Rabbi Dr. Alvin Kass to Be Honored for 36 Years of Service To East Midwood Jewish Center at June 8 Dinner-Dance Honoree Is Also Longest-Serving NYPD Chaplain Rabbi Dr. Alvin Kass will be honored at the East Midwood Jewish Center’s (EMJC) 90th Annual Dinner-Dance for 36 [more …]Rabbi Dr. Alvin Kass to Be Honored

Brooklyn’s Oldest Synagogue Celebrates Model Seder

Apr 04, 2014 by Tanay Warerkar, Greenpoint News

Rabbi Joshua Fishman and congregants Courtesy Martin Needelman

Brooklyn’s oldest Orthodox and Williamsburg’s last non-Hasidic Orthodox Synagogue, Congregation Beth Jacob Ohev Shalom (CBJOS), will hold its first-ever model Seder this Sunday to mark the upcoming celebration of Passover. The model Seder is a way for the [more …]Brooklyn’s Oldest Synagogue Celebrates Model Seder

For Sandy victims in Brighton Beach, Purim story has a double meaning

By Francesca Norsen-Tate, Religion Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Rabbi Josh Minkin (in foreground) holds the microphone, while colleague Malka Shagaraeva wears the crown. Photo courtesy of the Jewish Board of Family & Children’s Services

The Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services on March 17 treated the Brighton Beach community, which was seriously affected [more …]For Sandy victims in Brighton Beach, Purim story has a double meaning

Brooklyn's "Lost Synagogues"

by Ellen Levitt Brooklyn has a large number of synagogues, and they come in many varieties. You can easily find various types of Orthodox shuls,as well as Conservative, Reform, non-denominational; Ashkenazi and Sephardi. Congregations with perhaps a bare minyan and others with a few thousand members. But for all the synagogues Brooklyn has within its [more …]Brooklyn's "Lost Synagogues"

Young Israel of Flatbush

1012 Avenue I, Brooklyn The Young Israel was established on December 6, 1921 and held its first Synagogue Shabbat Services on March 3, 1922. In its many years of existence, we have been active on several fronts. The Young Israel was instrumental in providing assistance in rescue efforts for our suffering brethren during the Holocaust, [more …]Young Israel of Flatbush

150th Celebration Siyyum Torah Dedication and Sukkot Block Party

Sunday, September 22, 10am-1pm Join our community as we culminate our 150th year by holding a special Siyyum and Torah Dedication ceremony. This Siyyum, or closing celebration, is the culmination of a year of programming to mark Congregation Beth Elohim’s 150th anniversary. The Torah that will be dedicated has been scribed by a ritual scribe, [more …]150th Celebration Siyyum Torah Dedication and Sukkot Block Party

Disposal of old prayerbooks a mounting problem

After years of watching synagogue members die or move away, the Sephardic Jewish Center of Canarsie made the difficult decision to downsize. The 50-year-old Brooklyn synagogue had been a thriving center for the area’s Sephardim. But after accepting that it could no longer pull together enough money to cover expenses, let alone muster the 10 [more …]Disposal of old prayerbooks a mounting problem