Congregation Beth Israel

Temple Beth Israel

First Permanent Jewish Congregation and the oldest congregation in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

From 1860 to 1920, Jewish settlers were finding opportunities in mining, farming, banking, and politics in the Phoenix area. At this time synagogues, trained rabbis and Kosher foods were hard to find in Arizona. For many Jewish families this meant a modification in their practices to fit their new lifestyles. Still in 1906, local Jewish settlers were able to meet to hold High Holiday services.

In 1920, Congregation Beth Israel (also know as Temple Beth Israel) would become incorporated. The congregation raised $14,000 and hired Lescher, Kibbey and Mahoney to construct a synagogue building near central Avenue and Culver Street, in downtown Phoenix.

By 1930, the congregation was becoming divided over the hiring of a Shochet (Kosher butcher) and the hiring of a Reform or Conservative rabbi. The traditional Jewish members left to form Beth El Congregation, affiliated with Conservative Judaism. In 1935, Rabbi Jaffa would become the first rabbi to join Congregation Beth Israel until 1938.

Rabbi Abraham Lincoln Krohn became Beth Israel's rabbi in 1938. Under Rabbi Krohn the congregation started to refer to itself as "Temple Beth Israel." In 1949, the congregation had increased in size from 100 to 300 families and needed to find a new place to worship. Temple Beth Israel would relocate to their second location at Eleventh and Flower. Temple Beth Israel would affiliate themselves with the Reform movement in Judaism. Rabbi Krohn's health was becoming very poor and in 1953 had to step down from his congregation.

Rabbi Albert Plotkin would become the new rabbi of Temple Beth Israel in 1955. Rabbi Plotkin would go on to serve the congregation for almost forty years. Rabbi Plotkin was succeeded by Kenneth Segal in 1992. The congregation would move for the third time to its current location at 10460 North 56th Street and Shea Boulevard in Scottsdale. The congregation reverted back to its original name, Congregation Beth Israel. The current clergy consists of Senior Rabbi Stephen Kahn, Associate Rabbi Rony Keller, and Cantor Jaime Shpall.

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10460 North 56th Street Scottsdale, AZ 85253