Mission & History

Beth El Congregation is an egalitarian Conservative congregation located at the front door of the Albert L. and Janet A. Schultz Campus for Jewish Life and affiliated with The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.

Our Mission

We are a sacred community dedicated to growing Jewishly.

Our Vision

We seek to provide a wide range of spiritual, cultural, social, and lifelong learning experiences to all who are looking for a vibrant and inclusive Jewish community. 

How We Began
Beth El Congregation is a descendant of Anshe Emeth Congregation, which was organized before 1918 on South Balch Street. In fact, it was the Anshe Emeth building and property that evolved into the old Akron Jewish Center. By special arrangement after the Center was formed, the congregation continued to hold services in the building.

 

In 1927, the congregation was reorganized as the United Modern Orthodox Congregation.

In 1945, the congregation joined the United Synagogue of America and became the first Conservative congregation in the city. Services were held at 369 South Maple Street, on the corner of West Exchange Street. That November, a mail poll was conducted to choose a name, and Beth El was born. Rabbi Reuben M. Katz arrived from Philadelphia to become the new congregation’s first spiritual leader. The first hazzan was Cantor William Glueck, from Cleveland. Beth El’s first president, and one of the leaders in its founding, was Max Schneier.

Groundbreaking for Beth El’s building on South Hawkins Avenue was held on May 8, 1950. Dedication ceremonies were held in early December, 1951.

In March, 2012, the members of Beth El voted to sell the South Hawkins Avenue property and to relocate to the campus of the Shaw Jewish Community Center.  On July 15 upon the conclusion of the final morning minyan at 464 South Hawkins. our Torahs were marched in a large procession led by musicians, congregants, and well wishers from the community to our new home at 750 Whilte Pond Drive.  Upon arrival, Rabbi Stephen Grundfast affixed mezzuzot to the doors of the temporary chapel.  Many of the beautiful elements from the original building were removed in order to reuse them in the planned remodeling of the auditorium and chapel area.  A special video documentary was created to preserve the wonderful sights and sounds from our long time home and is on view in our Gallery.  

Location
Beth El Congregation is only 30 minutes from Cleveland, OH. Cleveland has many additional Jewish and cultural offerings including the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, kosher butchers, groceries, as well as performing arts and sprots venues. There is a definite Akron-Cleveland connection. Beth El is also part of the Charlotte Goldberg Community Mikvah Consortium. Please click HERE to learn more about the Mikvah.

Sat, August 19 2017 27 Av 5777