THE HISTORY OF BETH TIKVAH B’NAI JESHURUN
OVER 60 YEARS OF TRADITION
- 1956 – A group of dedicated families incorporate the name “Temple Beth Tikvah” – House of Hope.
- 1958 – Groundbreaking ceremonies are held on a site on Paper Mill Road. Our modest building is completed just before the High Holidays.
- 1959 – Rabbi Alexander M. Shapiro becomes the first rabbi of Temple Beth Tikvah.
- 1961 – Because of a dramatic increase in religious school enrollment, a school building is added to the synagogue building. Temple Beth Tikvah is officially inducted as a member of United Synagogue of America.
- 1963 – Temple Beth Tikvah receives its first Solomon Schechter award for excellence in education. Our membership reaches 285 families over the next year.
- 1968 – Bernard Walters assumes the role of Cantor of our Congregation.
- 1969 – Rabbi Shapiro leaves our congregation and Rabbi Joseph Teichman is selected as our next rabbi.
- 1972 – Rabbi Shalom Podwol replaces Rabbi Teichman. Following several years of unrest and a dramatic drop in membership, merger talks begin with B’nai Jeshurun Synagogue of Mt. Airy.
- 1973 – The board of Beth Tikvah unanimously approves the principles of merger. The merger officially takes place in August 1973. The name of the new congregation is Beth Tikvah B’nai Jeshurun.
- 1975 – Rabbi Podwol leaves BTBJ and Rabbi Robert Layman assumes the pulpit. The next few years can be described as united and stable. Another Solomon Schechter Award for education is awarded to our school.
- 1977 – BTBJ starts a modest preschool with an enrollment of 10 children ages 3, 4 and 5.The preschool becomes a major factor in attracting young members to our synagogue.
- 1980 - Our preschool, started by Barbara Abrams, continues to grow and thrive under the direction of Valarie Hurwitz with the help of many dedicated teachers and parents.
1983 - In addition to Preschool Director, Valarie Hurwitz took on the additional role of Executive Director.
1988 – Rabbi Layman becomes Executive Director of United Synagogue, Delaware Valley Region and Rabbi David Klatzker becomes the new rabbi of BTBJ.
- 1995 – Cantor Arlyne Unger, who had assumed the Educational Director’s position two years earlier, becomes Cantor of BTBJ, replacing Cantor Walters who leaves after 27 years of service.
- 1997 – The preschool adds summer camp, kindergarten and tot power programs to meet the needs of the community. A beautiful addition with dramatic renovations to our building begins.
- 1998 – Rabbi Klatzker leaves the synagogue and Rabbi Saul Grife becomes rabbi in August 1998. Rabbi Grife, his wife, Linda and their three daughters, Gabriella, Alana and Shira bring a new sense of enthusiasm to our congregation.
- 2001 – Cantor Arlyne Unger assumes the title of Hazzan. Our religious school continues to grow and flourish. BTBJ establishes a program for our teenage population aptly entitled Teens Together under the direction of Rabbi Saul Grife.
- 2007 – Marcie Leshner replaces Valarie Hurwitz as preschool director. Valarie continues in her role as Executive Director.
- 2008 – Our Extended Care program for children ages 12 months to Pre-K opens allowing working families to take full advantage of our preschool and camp programs. By 2009, our preschool is renamed the BTBJ Early Childhood Center for children welcoming ages 3 months to Pre-K.
- 2015 – Our synagogue embraces the motto "BTBJ Where You Belong". We are very proud of our roots, our beliefs and our heritage. At the same time, we look forward to our future with renewed vigor, strength and energy.
- 2017 - Our congregation says thank you to Hazzan Arlyne Unger for her years of service to our community and welcomes Rabbi Roni Handler in a new role as Director of Congregational Learning and Benjamin Greenfield as our cantorial soloist and b'nai mitzvah tutor.