Congregation Ahavas Israel is a 120 year-old synagogue located in the Greenpoint Historic District in North Brooklyn, New York. The synagoguge holds Sabbath and holiday services, all of which are followed by communal meals. It also organizes classes by visiting rabbis and scholars, and hosts Hanukah and parties as well as other communal events. Ahavas Israel is the only remaining Jewish congregation in a neighborhood that once supported five synagogues.… Read More »Congregation Ahavas Israel
Congregation Ahavas Israel
1/08/13 published in thejewishweek.com
In ‘Little Poland,’ gentrification and an inclusive Orthodox rabbi with a garden are reviving Jewish life.
Until recently, Yoni Kretzmer, a disillusioned former Orthodox Jew spent most Friday evenings performing on his sax, while Jesse Beller, who describes himself as unaffiliated, would spend Friday nights at a friend’s house or a bar.
But last Friday night, the two were at Congregation Ahavas Israel, the only Orthodox synagogue — indeed, the only Jewish congregation of any type — in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn.
Kretzmer, who led the Kabbalat Shabbat service, chanting the liturgy like a veteran chazzan, and Beller are among a growing number of young Jews, most of whom identify as secular, who have moved to Greenpoint in the last decade and are active at Ahavas Israel.