Our home since 1951


Welcome to the History Page of Temple Emanu-El of Long Beach, NY.  We are pleased to have you join us here online and welcome your written contribution. 

In May 1945, Shavuot, the first service was held at the Hotel Ilya on West Broadway, thanks to Sylvia and Sam Schoenfeld, who were the initial organizers of the only Reform Synagogue in Long Beach. 

The last temporary home was the Masonic Temple on West Walnut Street. Rabbi Gabriel Shulman was the first spiritual leader, volunteering his services part-time. The Religious School then had 80 students with a volunteer staff headed by Principal Herbert Jacobs, also a volunteer. 

Rabbi Bernard Kligfeld became our Rabbi in August, 1950 and remained for 32 years. In September, 1951, ground-breaking ceremonies were held for our permanent building on Neptune Boulevard. In 1955, Cantor Richard Botton came to us and stayed for nearly 20 years. 

Cantor Bruce Malin (now Emeritus, Cape Cod Synagogue / Chaplain of the Jewish Federation of Cape Cod ) followed Richard Botton for three years (by his account also the first three years of his marriage to Debbie) beginning in August of 1974. He taught in the religious school and Bar/Bat Mitzvah students for the first year and then, under the tutelage or Mr. Sifry, the principal, he became principal of the Religious School for two years and was also the music director. Cantor Malin tells us: "I had three singers in the professional choir at the time...I was very fond of Rabbi Bernie and Julia Kligfeld (I used to drive Julia to her teaching position at HUC in Rockville Center). We had a great group of people who sang in the volunteer choir which I started. I was also involved in Jewish Marriage Encounter that Rabbi Bernie founded. I enjoyed my tenure at Temple Emanuel and Debbie and I have many happy memories of our friends and congregants." 

Cantor Malin was succeeded by our dear Cantor Bette Cohen. 

In 1984 Rabbi Robert Jacobs and then Rabbi Haskell Bernat each offered innovative programming. 

In 1993, Rabbi Bennett Hermann became our pulpit leader and a major force in the Interfaith Community in Long Beach.

On July 1, 2013 Lisa Kinger-Kantor succeeded Cantor David Katz.

On July 1, 2014 Rabbi Ellie Shemtov became our pulpit leader. 

On January 1, 2017,  Rabbi  Jack Zanerhaft became our Rabbi and with Cantor Lisa assumed spiritual leadership of our congregation.  Our gifted spiritual team works together to create wonderful original  and innovated services and programs enjoyed by our congregants and diverse segments of the Long Beach community.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
We cherish our past, continue our dedication and look forward to Temple Emanu-El's  continued to spiritual, intellectual, and social involvement with the Reform Jewish Community in Long Beach.

Please share your fond memories of the growth of our Temple with us so that we can create a chronological history page. Your name will be acknowledged as a contributor.  Please contact us  and send your short paragraphs including days, months, and years (as close as possible) with your submission so that we may create a timeline and order for this history page.