Oldest Brooklyn Orthodox congregation celebrates 148 years
by Benjamin Fang
Nov 28, 2017 | 696 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The oldest Orthodox congregation in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island celebrated another major milestone on November 17 at its Williamsburg synagogue.

Congregation Beth Jacob Ohev Sholom welcomed its 148th year by honoring longtime local leaders.

The first honoree was Toby Moskovits, an observant Orthodox Jewish developer who has built many commercial high-rises along the Williamsburg waterfront, including the Williamsburg Hotel.

Moskovits, founder of Heritage Equity Partners, is also a member of Community Board 1 and has a history of supporting local organizations.

The next honoree was Steve Cohn, who leads the Seneca Democratic Club in Williamsburg. He was also Bar Mitzvahed at the congregation. Cohn’s past roles include president of the Brooklyn Bar Association and secretary of the Kings County Democratic organization.

The last honor was posthumously given to Rona Ross, who passed away earlier this year. She was married to Cye Ross, a family that was considered longtime friends and supporters of the congregation.

The congregation was formed in 1869 by traditional Orthodox German Jews. They constructed their first building on Keap Street in 1870. In the 1950s, the synagogue building was demolished to make way for the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. That paved the way for the congregation to build its new synagogue on Rodney Street.

In a congratulatory letter, Councilman Antonio Reynoso said the congregation has opened its doors to serve hundreds of working-class Jewish families, many of whom moved from the Lower East Side after the completion of the Williamsburg Bridge.

“This building not only stands as a century-aged place of worship, but as an institution valuable to the identity of Williamsburg,” he said. “The past 148 years can also be defined by the resiliency of the congregation and the spirit of its members to remain a strong community within an ever-changing city.”
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