Beth Israel Synagogue (New Haven, Connecticut)

Congregation Beth Israel, also known as the Orchard Street Shul, is an Orthodox Jewish congregation and synagogue, located at 232 Orchard Street in New Haven, Connecticut, in the United States. The synagogue building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Beth Israel Synagogue
The synagogue building, in 2008
AffiliationOrthodox Judaism
Ecclesiastical or organisational statusSynagogue
LeadershipRabbi Mendy Hecht
Location232 Orchard Street, New Haven, Connecticut
CountryUnited States
Beth Israel Synagogue (New Haven, Connecticut) is located in Connecticut
Beth Israel Synagogue (New Haven, Connecticut)
Location in Connecticut
Geographic coordinates41°17′54″N 72°56′25″W / 41.29833°N 72.94028°W / 41.29833; -72.94028
Architect(s)Louis Abramowitz
TypeSynagogue architecture
StyleColonial Revival
General contractorC. Abbadessa
Date established1913 (as a congregation)
Beth Israel Synagogue
Arealess than one acre
MPSHistoric Synagogues of Connecticut MPS
NRHP reference No.95000578
Added to NRHPMay 11, 1995



The congregation was founded in 1913 by an Orthodox congregation that was formed by Jewish families who had prospered sufficiently to move beyond the neighborhood of first immigrant settlement around Oak and Lafayette Streets to the area of upper Oak Street (renamed Legion Avenue in 1928) and Winthrop Avenue. First meeting in leased space, in 1915 the congregation moved into a remodeled house at 147 Orchard Street. In 1923 they purchased a lot at 232 Orchard Street for $12,000 (today $215,000) and built the present Colonial revival style building in 1925. The architect was Louis Abramowitz and the builder was C. Abbadessa.[2][3]

By the late twentieth century, the membership was elderly, the Jewish population of the city had moved elsewhere, and the future of the synagogue was in doubt.[4] Efforts to preserve the synagogue were organized by the Cultural Heritage Artists Project [5][6] and the synagogue returned to regular weekly use during 2011 under the leadership of Rabbi Mendy Hecht. Hecht is the grandson of Rabbi Maurice I. Hecht, rabbi at the shul for 45 years; and the son of Rabbi Sheya Hecht, who had also served in the pulpit.

The synagogue was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.[1][7]

Current services


The historic restoration of the Orchard Street Shul took place during 2012. Traditional Shabbat services are held every Saturday morning at 9:30 AM as well as on all Jewish holidays, with no tickets or membership required to attend High Holiday services.[8]

See also



  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "Orchard Street Shul: History". Archived from the original on January 5, 2009. Retrieved November 30, 2009.
  3. ^ Ransom, David F. (Fall 1991). "One Hundred Years of Jewish Congregations in Connecticut: An Architectural Survey". Connecticut Jewish History. 2 (1).
  4. ^ Rierden, Andi (February 14, 1999). "Keeping an Old Synagogue Alive". The New York Times.
  5. ^ "The Orchard Street Shul Cultural Heritage Project".
  6. ^ Kairser, Jo Ellen Green. "Orchard Street Shul Arts Project". ZEEK: A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture (Dec-Jan 2009). New Haven, CT.
  7. ^ Ransom, David F. (August 26, 1994). "National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Listing, Historic Synagogues of Connecticut: Beth Israel". National Park Service. pp. 72–85. and Accompanying four photos, exterior and interior
  8. ^ "Home". Beth Israel Synagogue. n.d.[self-published source?]