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About Us
Overview and History
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Deborah Moskowitz

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Overview and History


Congregation Beth El-Atereth Israel of Newton has a long history in the greater Boston area. Our Shul represents a continuation of two congregations founded in the 1800’s in the Dorchester area of Boston. In the mid 1950’s, the Shul began the first Orthodox minyan in Newton Centre, a picturesque suburb 8 miles west of Boston. This offshoot of the Dorchester Shul sparked the blossoming of a vibrant Orthodox community in Newton. In 1965, under the aegis of our founding Rabbi, Rabbi Abraham Koolyk, zt’l, a beautiful new building was constructed to accommodate the growing membership and provide an inspiring and comfortable setting for davening, learning, and simchas. The beautiful main sanctuary seats 300, but can be opened up to the adjoining social hall to seat the over 650 people who daven here on the Yomim Noraim. The Shul also includes a beis medrash, a youth room, and a classroom wing, with six classrooms and a library. The social hall, where we hold Shabbos kiddushes, Seudos Shlishis, and simchas, from bar and bat mitzvah luncheons to weddings, accommodates seating for over 300.

In 1988, after the retirement of Rabbi Koolyk, the Shul was fortunate to bring to Boston Rabbi Gershon Segal, who had been Rabbi in a Midwestern Shul for seven years. Since then, there has been a large influx of young families with children to our congregation, adding to the spirit and dynamism of the Shul and creating a warm and caring multi-generational environment. Besides minyanim and regular classes, our Shul sponsors special events such as Shabbatonim with visiting Scholars-in-Residence, a full schedule of youth activities, lectures on life-cycle events, political issues, and religious topics, and instructive and inspiring programs related to the land and people of Israel. More detailed information on these activities appears elsewhere on this website.