Our History

Our Irondequoit building

Our Irondequoit building

1953 Board of Trustees*

1953 Board of Trustees*

2018 Board of Trustees**

2018 Board of Trustees**

Temple Emanu-El was established in 1953; Roy Rosenberg, a student at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati at the time, conducted the first High Holidays services in September, 1953. Until November, 1954, services and events were held in rented rooms in various churches.  In the spring of 1954, the congregation voted to purchase a 17-room home at 2956 St. Paul Blvd, in Irondequoit, our current location. On November 14, 1954, even though remodeling was not yet finished, consecration services were held at the new building. Rabbi Philip Bernstein of Temple B’rith Kodesh of Rochester presented a Torah salvaged from nazi Germany to Temple Emanu-El. Immediately after his ordination, the congregation voted to offer Rabbi Rosenberg the position of our first permanent rabbi.

We have been blessed by having rabbis who have inspired us, taught us, and guided us over the years. We are grateful to:

Rabbi Roy A. Rosenberg (1930-2001), our first rabbi, who was with us from 1953 up to the late 1950’s.

Rabbi Benjamin Marcus, who was with us in the late 1950’s.

Rabbi Bon Ami, our rabbi during the early 1960’s.

Rabbi Allan Levine (1932-2116), who spent eight years with us in the 1960’s and early 1970’s, and who is particularly remembered for his participation in the civil rights movement.

Rabbi Bennett Hermann, who was with us for four years in the early 1970’s.

Rabbi David Spitz, who was with us in the mid-1970’s.

Rabbi William E. Blank, who was with us for eight years in the late 1970’s through the early 1980’s.

Rabbi Michael B. Herzbrun (1943-2015), who was with us from the mid 1980’s through 2014 – almost 30 years! Click here to read Rabbi Herzbrun’s  moving sermon about the events of September 11, 2001.

Rabbi S. Robert Morais, who served as our Interim Rabbi for one year from 2014-2015.

Rabbi Drorah O’Donnell Setel, who is our current rabbi and has been with us since 2015.

Temple Emanu-El’s mission has always been to offer our community a wide variety of programs and services that help celebrate our connection to the Jewish tradition: worship services, holiday celebrations, education for adults and kids, social action, and just plain socializing. In addition, there have been many special programs such as Israel Bond brunches, participation in Pride parades, attendance at Union for Reform Judaism events, Shabbat retreats, sponsoring a Laotian family after the Viet Nam war, and putting on Jewish concerts from klezmer to rock.

*1953 Board of Trustees: Seated, left to right: Harry Hamberg, Louis Goodman, Burton Greene, Sylvia Schulman (aka Mrs. Abe Schulman), Sol Balkin, Harry Finegold, Morton Brodsky; middle row: Hyman Maas, Charles Green, Norman Belfor, Max Brodner, Maurice Melin, Mike Sapozink, Shephard Byer; top row: Robert Fleisher, Garson Cohen, Julian Zweig, Arthur Kaufman, Sidney Lasser. Not present: Peter Mintz.

**2018 Board of Trustees: Seated, left to right: Charlene Sommers, Randy Perlson, Brenda Mudd; standing: Hillary Harter, Barbara Silverstein, Morrey Goldman, Judy Greenstein, Jon Rubin, Denise Lippa, Gail Vail, George Madden. Not present: Rosanne Cohen, Jule Rayburn, Carl Wetzstein, Mel Yessenow.

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