Beth Am is a Conservative Jewish congregation and synagogue, located in the Reservoir Hill community of Baltimore, Maryland, in the United States. It is one of two non-Orthodox synagogues in Baltimore's inner city.[1] Beth Am is an urban, egalitarian congregation affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, and it is known for balancing traditional prayer and learning with innovative and intellectual critique.[citation needed]

Beth Am
The sanctuary at Beth Am synagogue in 2009
AffiliationConservative Judaism
Ecclesiastical or organisational statusSynagogue
LeadershipRabbi Daniel Cotzin Burg
LocationReservoir Hill, Baltimore, Maryland
CountryUnited States
Beth Am is located in Baltimore
Beth Am
Location in Baltimore, Maryland
Geographic coordinates39°18′53″N 76°38′16″W / 39.31472°N 76.63778°W / 39.31472; -76.63778
Date established1974 (as a congregation)

Beth Am strives to be, in Isaiah's words, “a house of prayer for all peoples”. Beth Am is known for its warmth, its open embrace of children, and its pluralism.[citation needed]



The building currently known as "Beth Am" was first founded as Chizuk Amuno Congregation,[2]: 181  which has since moved to a new suburban location in Pikesville, Maryland. Chizuk Amuno first occupied the building in 1922 and moved to Pikesville in 1958.[3]

Following the move of Chizuk Amuno, services continued in the building, led by Cantor Abba Weisgall. Then, in 1974, the current Beth Am congregation was founded as Dr. Louis L. Kaplan's shul.[2]: 51  Kaplan's wife Etta Jenkins suggested the name, which translates to "House of the People".

The congregation is one of the city's historic synagogues.



Kaplan served informally as the congregation's spiritual leader until 1981, when the congregation hired its first full-time rabbi. The first rabbi was Efrem Potts, Louis L. Kaplan's son-in-law through his marriage to Deborah Kaplan Potts.[4][5]

The congregation had no full-time rabbi in the years 2000–2002, when they were served part-time by Rabbi Sheila Russian, who in 1979 had become the first female rabbi in Baltimore.[6]

The current[when?] rabbi is Rabbi Daniel Cotzin Burg, who joined the congregation in 2010. The Rabbi Emeritus is Jon Konheim,[7] who has been with the congregation since 2002.

See also



  1. ^ Weiss, Anthony (February 13, 2008). "The Shul that Stayed in Baltimore". The Forward. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  2. ^ a b Sandler, Gilbert (2000). Jewish Baltimore: A Family Album. JHU Press. ISBN 0801864275.
  3. ^ Olitzky, Kerry M. (1996). The American Synagogue: A Historical Dictionary and Sourcebook. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 161–162. ISBN 0313288569.
  4. ^ "Forty years later, an urban synagogue celebrates its birth". The Baltimore Sun. December 16, 2014. Retrieved June 6, 2023.
  5. ^ "Beth Am's Gem: Efrem Potts". The Baltimore Jewish Times. November 2017. Retrieved June 6, 2023.
  6. ^ "File unreadable" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 19, 2008. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
  7. ^ "Conservative Judaism Thrives in Baltimore, but Troubled Nationwide". The Baltimore Jewish Times. p. 1. Archived from the original on October 26, 2009.