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.
Establishing its first Bet Kinesset in the United States in 1979, Ahaba Ve Ahva opened its doors to the Egyptian community in Brooklyn NY. The members of the community who moved to Brooklyn from Egypt looked to formulating a sanctified place for daily and Sabbath prayers as well as Talmudic study. Today, the shul (synagogue) maintains a wide schedule of prayers and shiurim (talmudic study) and a Talmud Torah program for the youth of our community.
One hundred years ago, a group of Bay Ridge pioneers, decided it was time to establish a spiritual home for the area’s growing Jewish community. They had been meeting for prayer at various locations including the back of a local furniture store on Fifth Avenue, owned by Isidor Leichtman. In 1921, they officially incorporated as Congregation Sheiris Israel, also known as Bay Ridge Jewish Center. They raised funds and purchased the land upon which our current building now sits.
Beth El Jewish Center of Flatbush is a warm welcoming place. We invite you to get to know us. Feel free to experience our davening, and share in our weekly hot Kiddush, sponsored by The Steven A. Greenberg Foundation.
The Brooklyn Heights Synagogue is a welcoming, inclusive community dedicated to lifelong learning, to supporting each other, and to caring for the world. We are a progressive congregation affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism. We value the diverse ways in which our members express their Jewish identities as we maintain an abiding respect for the traditions of the Jewish people.
Brooklyn Jews is a community of young Brooklynites looking to enter the Jewish conversation through art, text, politics, food, and ritual. As an experimental community embedded within a brick and mortar synagogue, Congregation Beth Elohim, we push the limits of Jewish communal life.
Welcome to Congregation B’nai Avraham, the Orthodox synagogue in Brooklyn Heights. As the only Orthodox synagogue in the neighborhood, we serve a unique role in accommodating people with divergent religious backgrounds and at varying levels of observance. We welcome all! Our goal is to increase the level of Jewish awareness, knowledge and observance by providing a warm, welcoming community with activities to appeal to people at all levels and with varying interests.
Chabad-Lubavitch is a philosophy, a movement, and an organization. It is considered to be the most dynamic force in Jewish life today. The word “Chabad” is a Hebrew acronym for the three intellectual faculties of: chachmah-wisdom, binah-comprehension and da’at-knowledge. The movement’s system of Jewish religious philosophy, the deepest dimension of G-d’s Torah, teaches understanding and recognition of the Creator, the role and purpose of Creation, and the importance and unique mission of each Creature. This philosophy guides a person to refine and govern his and her every act and feeling through wisdom, comprehension and knowledge.
Congregation B'nai Avraham is a community based organization servicing the needs of the Jewish populations of Brooklyn Heights and Downtown Brooklyn, by providing prayer services, holiday programs and events, as well as support and assistance to all, regardless of affiliation or background. Our aim is to encourage and enhance Jewish awareness, knowledge and observance by building a warm, welcoming community with activities appealing to both members and non-members. CBA is the only synagogue in the area that provides daily Shacharit and Maariv services, as well as daily classes on every possible subject for men and women alike, from Talmud to Kabbalah.
Our Congregation, Ahavath Achim which means "Brotherly Love" has served this community with pride since 1989 and will continue to dedication through the Torah, education and service.
Congregation Beth Elohim, fondly known as CBE, offers authentic, meaningful and outside the box Jewish experiences for those in our Brooklyn community and beyond. We are deeply committed to education for all ages, community-building, spiritual life, and social justice. We are inspired to learn about our tradition while we engage with the present and positively impact our future. Our Reform congregation welcomes seekers from all Jewish movements, from other faiths, and at all levels of Jewish experience, including those who are new to our traditions and those who are questioning.
Under the leadership of RabbiYehuda Ari Azancot, Congregation Beth Torah’s Main Minyan features world renown Sephardic Cantors Yehezkel Zion and Isaac Cabasso. Housed in its historical main sanctuary, built in 1968, and accommodating over 400 worshippers, men and women, the synagogue’s daily, Shabbat, holiday and special services are nothing less than glorious and enriching. Inspiring sermons and divrei Torah are beautifully delivered by our rabbis and prayers are run by a dedicated group of volunteer mesadrim. The minyan is the perfect place to bring guests family, to celebrate happy occasions and to stay involved with the shul’s programming and events.
Congregation B'nai Jacob is an Orthodox synagogue that is deeply committed to the religious, spiritual, social, and educational needs of its community. The synagogue believes in promoting the importance of Torah values within a modern, 21st Century context. To this end, CBJ stresses the importance of ahavas yisroel – love of one's fellow Jew – in part by providing extensive outreach programs within and beyond the greater Brownstone Brooklyn community. Most importantly, CBJ seeks to provide a meaningful and dynamic environment for all Jewish men, women, and children regardless of affiliation.
Shaare Zion is is the largest synagogue and "mother keniss" of the Sephardic Syrian Community in Brooklyn, NY. It follows the ancient tradition of Halab (Aleppo), Syria, as brought to the American shores in the early 20th century. In its over fifty years of existence, the synagogue has hosted over ten thousand occasions including brit milahs, bar mitzvahs, engagements and weddings. It is truly the synagogue that caters to and fits the need of every individual in the community.
Shomrei Emunah is a full service synagogue and a vibrant Jewish center in the Greenspring-Cheswolde area. It maintains a complete schedule of religious services, a comprehensive adult education program, a a full youth program incorporating internationally acclaimed presentations for teens, as well as an active Israel Task Force. As a diverse and inclusive synagogue with a heterogeneous blend of backgrounds and ideologies across the Orthodox spectrum, the congregation feels a strong commitment to outreach programming for the larger Baltimore Jewish community.
East Midwood Jewish Center is a vibrant, egalitarian, Conservative community in the heart of Brooklyn. Since 1924, we have been a house of worship, a place for Judaic discovery and action, and a haven for learners, seekers, and questioners. Welcoming to all, we are host to a range of Jewish voices. Our community is made up of married and single people, with and without children, straight and LGBTQ, interfaith families, and other families who are exploring their Jewish path.
At Flatbush and Shaare Torah Jewish Center, we actively work towards building and sustaining a Jewish community that is safe for all of the intersected identities, ages and abilities who wish to pray under our tent. Our aim is for our community to provide collective respite during Shabbat and festival celebrations that will give us the strength needed to be the change and affect the change that we want to see in the world.
The Greenpoint Shul (Congregation Ahavas Israel) is a welcoming, eclectic, open, modern Orthodox congregation in waterfront Brooklyn. Founded in 1886, by German-Jewish immigrants, we are Brooklyn's oldest synagogue. Today, we're a mix of neighborhood regulars, newcomers, families, young professionals, kids, and elders -- with a rainbow of Jewish backgrounds ranging from "trying this out" to Satmar hasid.
Historically known as The Mother Synagogue of Brooklyn, Kane Street Synagogue is the oldest Jewish Congregation that still serves the Brooklyn neighborhood in which it was founded. Come join our community in prayer, in study and in acts of kindness. Our members come from diverse religious backgrounds. Our programs and services for adults and children are rich and varied. Men and women participate equally in all aspects of the synagogue, which include our lay leadership who lead all Shabbat and holiday services and chant the Torah and Haftarah readings.
Kingsway Jewish Center is a Modern Orthodox Shul that has been serving the Midwood, Madison and Marine Park sections of Brooklyn, New York since 1928. The Shul: Kingsway consists of a large facility that houses the main shul for Shabbat & Yom Tov Minyanim as well as a Beis Medrash where daily minyanim and shiurim are conducted year round. Various learning programs and lectures are also conducted throughout the year.
Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives is a Jewish congregation in Brooklyn, where doubt can be an act of faith and all hands are needed to build our community. We are creative, serious seekers who pray joyfully, wrestle with tradition, pursue justice, and refuse to be satisfied with the world as it is. We share a commitment to ending structural racism and becoming an antiracist congregation. And, as individuals of varying sexual orientations, gender identities, races, family arrangements, and Jewish identities and backgrounds, we search for meaningful and just expressions of our Judaism in today's uncertain world.
Welcome to Madison Jewish Center, an egalitarian synagogue where women and men share ritual, social and administrative life. We are perfect for youthful needs with our Hebrew School, Junior Congregation and total integration in ALL of our many holidays, events and celebrations. The Sisterhood and Social Club are creative and fun for all. We have preserved our original 1933 shul, attached to our beautifully renovated ballroom and large sanctuary. New members receive special consideration and are made to feel at home in our warm congregation. Our Rabbi, Cantor and members of Madison JC welcome you to visit us personally or on the Web. Join our Madison Jewish Center family, participate and come grow with us. Shalom!
Ohel David & Shlomo was founded originally in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn by Jewish families originating mostly from Turkey and the island of Rhodes. In 1962 Rabbi Eli Greenwald A"H, received the position of rabbi at Brighton Beach’s Ohel David & Shlomo; it was the first time that the synagogue had ever had a rabbi as its leader. The composition of the membership is very unique, mainly Sephardic families with roots of heritage from: Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Israel, Iraq, and several other cultures, a mix that creates a proud mosaic of families.
For ten years, Congregation Tifereth Israel of South Brooklyn had worshiped in two adjoining houses on 14th Street. But by 1925, they had outgrown their space. The “brothers,” as they called themselves, filled with the optimism of the era, bought two empty lots down the street, found a classically-trained architect, and over several hectic months, built what we now know as the Park Slope Jewish Center. Rabbi Carter joined PSJC in 2000. She received her ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1997, having studied both in Jerusalem and at the University of Judaism.
B’ShERT: Beth Shalom v’Emeth Reform Temple is a Reform synagogue in Ditmas Park, and a congregation dedicated to Judaism as a living and growing faith. Wherever you’re coming from in your relationship with Judaism, this is a place to explore where you want to go. B’ShERT is a welcoming and inclusive Jewish community for all. Just as the Yiddish word beshert means “meant to be,” this consolidation brings together two communities with rich histories and dynamic memberships.
At Union Temple, you’ll find a warm and friendly community, services noted for their beautiful mix of traditional and modern music, and a wide range of programming for adults, children, and families. We welcome all who wish to participate in Jewish life: singles, couples, and families in all their forms, interfaith couples, individuals with disabilities, and all people regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or financial means. We invite you to join our historic congregation and be a part of creating our future.
Our mission is to foster the Jewish faith by establishing and maintaining a Synagogue in strict accordance with the traditional tenets of Orthodox Judaism; to promote the religious, national, cultural, social, civic, moral and physical welfare of Jewish men, women and children in America, in Israel and throughout the world; to instill in American Jewish youth an understanding and appreciation of the high ethical and spiritual values of Judaism and attract them to the Jewish Orthodox faith.
The Young Israel of Midwood is located at the corner of Avenue L and Ocean Avenue in the heart of the Midwood section of Brooklyn. Under the leadership of Rabbi Eli Baruch Shulman and rabbi emeritus, Rabbi Moshe Greenberg, it has grown into a vibrant center of Torah and tefillah, where Jews from all sections of Orthodoxy can pray and learn together.