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Temple Beth Emeth v'Ohr Progressive Shaari Zedek

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The last remaining Reform Jewish congregation in Flatbush

Place Details

Borough : Brooklyn
Neighborhood : Flatbush
Institution, Place of Worship

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Temple Beth Emeth v'Ohr Progressive Shaari Zedek


Ron Schweiger

Temple Beth Emeth is the last remaining Reform Jewish congregation in Flatbush. It was formed in 1911. Next year we will celebrate our centennial. The sanctuary was completed in 1913 and in 1936 was changed to an art-deco decor. It is known as "The Little Jewel Box." The design of the sanctuary is received with "wows" and unexpected surprise from those that see it for the first time. It is special from a time past. There is a marble bima and a bronze ark that houses the Torahs.

The sanctuary seats more than 600 and has been used on an episode of "Law and Order" and a CBS series starring Richard Dreyfuss. In the 1920's and 1930's, one of the members was famous composer, Arthur Schwartz. He wrote "Dancing in the Dark" and "That's Entertainment." His son is New York radio personality, Jonathan Schwartz. In the 1940's, one of the members was American/Israeli war hero, "Mickey Marcus." A major motion picture about him was produced starring Kirk Douglas as Colonel Marcus.

After several decades of declining membership due to demographic changes in the area, we are now on the rebound as young families are beginning to move into the neighborhood. In 1990 and 1994, the other two reform congregations in Flatbush merged with Beth Emeth. This saved the three congregations. We are getting stronger and are looking forward to our 100th anniversary next year (2011). (March 2010)

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