Concept

Congregation B'nai Israel (Bridgeport, Connecticut)

Summary
Congregation B'nai Israel is a Reform Jewish synagogue located in Bridgeport, Connecticut. It is the oldest Jewish congregation in Bridgeport and the third oldest in Connecticut. B'nai Israel was established by a group of German Jewish immigrants as an Orthodox synagogue in 1859. The congregation's first rabbi was A. Jacobs. B'nai Israel established a Hebrew school in 1863. For its first fifty years, B'nai Israel did not have a permanent home. Its members met and prayed in one another's homes and in storefronts and lofts. In 1885, plans were made to erect a building for B'nai Israel. The building, which was completed in 1911, was known as the Park Avenue Temple. By 1911, when the Park Avenue Temple was completed, B'nai Israel had moved from Orthodox to Reform Judaism. Members who were unhappy with the changes left B'nai Israel and founded two of Bridgeport's other synagogues: Adath Israel (Orthodox) and Rodeph Sholom (Conservative).
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