Beth El’s Story
Our synagogue was technically born on August 27, 1993, in the living room of an apartment on 70th Street between York and First Avenue in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, with a group of seven interested local people and our Rabbi & Rebbetzin, Bruce & Debi Cohen, who commuted in from their home in Philadelphia. Those seven New York locals took 500 brochures for a synagogue that did not quite yet exist, and all agreed upon a next meeting date in two weeks. The Cohens did not say to this group that they had come to Manhattan to “explore” the possibility of establishing a congregation: they declared they had come to build one. There was no equivocation: only a clear statement of intention. Beyond technicality, the emergence of Beth El in Manhattan was the result of many forces combining over many years in the lives of many people.