Congregation Kol Israel

Congregation Kol Israel is a historic Mordern Orthodox Jewish congregation and synagogue, located at 603 St. John's Place in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City, New York, in the United States.[3]

Congregation Kol Israel
The synagogue in 2018
AffiliationModern Orthodox Judaism
Ecclesiastical or organisational statusSynagogue
LeadershipRabbi Ben Keil
Location603 St. John's Place, Brooklyn, New York City, New York 11238
CountryUnited States
Congregation Kol Israel is located in New York City
Congregation Kol Israel
Location in New York City
Geographic coordinates40°40′29″N 73°57′29″W / 40.67472°N 73.95806°W / 40.67472; -73.95806 (Congregation Kol Israel)
Architect(s)Tobias Goldstone
TypeSynagogue architecture
StyleMoorish Revival
Date established1924 (as a congregation)
MaterialsStone, brick
Kol Israel Synagogue
Arealess than one acre
NRHP reference No.09000966
Added to NRHPDecember 2, 2009



The congregation was established in 1924 as an Orthodox congregation. The synagogue was built in 1928 and is a vernacular "tenement synagogue." It is a small, two story rectangular building faced in random laid fieldstone. It was designed by Brooklyn architect Tobias Goldstone.[4] The western side of its midblock lot overlooks the open cut of the Franklin Avenue Line of the New York City Subway.[5]

The synagogue building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.[6]



In 2015, "after several failed attempts to bring in new members," the board hired Rabbi Sam Reinstein to "transform his ailing Modern Orthodox synagogue into a place young people consider cool." In addition to adding monthly art shows and after-parties to its programming,[7] the synagogue in 2016 hosted "the first Jewish Comic Con," which featured comics artists Isaac Goodheart of Postal and Jordan B. Gorfinkel.[8]

In June 2016, an eruv built to benefit the Kol Israel congregation "increased sixfold the area in which observant Jews can carry items, and, most importantly, push strollers during Shabbat," but was opposed by Hasidic Chabad neighbors who believed the neighborhood was geographically and halakhically impossible to enclose in an eruv.[9] Chabad's Crown Heights beth din rabbinical court issued a ruling rejecting the eruv as a "devastation of the Shabbat."[10] A few months after the eruv was repeatedly vandalized and its organizers allegedly harassed,[11] two Chabad members were arrested and charged with criminal mischief, although the New York City Police Department had previously said that they would be charged with criminal mischief as a hate crime and criminal tampering.[12][13]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. November 2, 2013.
  2. ^ Howe, Kathy (October 13, 2009). "Registration Form: Kol Israel Synagogue" (PDF). National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. Retrieved March 9, 2024 – via Anthony W. Robins.
  3. ^ "About us". Congregation Kol Israel. Retrieved February 3, 2020.[self-published source?]
  4. ^ Howe, Kathy (October 2009). "Registration Form: Kol Israel Synagogue". National Register of Historic Places. New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Archived from the original on October 19, 2012. Retrieved February 20, 2011. See also: "Accompanying 11 photos". Archived from the original on October 19, 2012.
  5. ^ "Congregation Kol Israel". Google Maps.
  6. ^ "National Register of Historic Places". WEEKLY LIST OF ACTIONS TAKEN ON PROPERTIES: 11/30/09 THROUGH 12/04/09. National Park Service. December 11, 2009.
  7. ^ Lokting, Britta (August 31, 2017). "Can This 28-Year-Old Rabbi Save A Landmark Brooklyn Synagogue?". Forward. Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  8. ^ Sales, Ben (November 15, 2016). "At First Jewish Comic Con, Artists and Geeks Revel in Tradition". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  9. ^ Clark, Amy Sara (June 22, 2016). "Fight Over New Eruv Erupts In Crown Heights". New York Jewish Week. Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  10. ^ "Lubavitch Rabbis Issue Edict Against Modern Orthodox Eruv in Crown Heights". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. June 24, 2016. Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  11. ^ Holliday Smith, Rachel (July 25, 2016). "Newly Built Eruv Repeatedly Vandalized Amid Uproar in Crown Heights". DNAinfo. Archived from the original on February 3, 2020. Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  12. ^ Holliday Smith, Rachel (October 27, 2016). "Crown Heights Eruv Vandals Under Arrest, Police Say". DNAinfo. Archived from the original on February 3, 2020. Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  13. ^ Kestenbaum, Sam (October 28, 2016). "2 Hasidic Jews Charged With Vandalizing Controversial Brooklyn Eruv". Forward. Retrieved February 3, 2020.