Welcome to Temple Beth Israel in Waltham.
We are an egalitarian, traditional, friendly, unaffiliated synagogue that has served the Jewish community in the Waltham area for 100 years. We welcome you to come by and join us for services held every Shabbat and Yom Tov as well as morning minyan on Mondays and Thursdays. We value all our members and people who have not been here before are more than welcome to come check us out. If you would like home hospitality, please contact the synagogue office.
Our membership includes about 110-120 households, from Waltham and the surrounding towns. We have an elder population who are deeply rooted in the community. They, their parents, and grandparents grew up here, or were synagogue founders. Our congregation also includes members who are new to the Waltham area, many attracted by reasonable housing, proximity to work, and strong local schools, both public and private. Students from Brandeis or Bentley also join us for services and projects, on occasion.
We are a participatory congregation, with many members who read Torah and lead services. Members with a particular interest or skill are welcome to create activities. We offer a light lunch after every Shabbat service and monthly Shabbat dinners.
We offer a growing assortment of family oriented programs and activities. Check our calendar to see what is coming up soon.
During the late 1800s, a sizable number of Jews made Waltham their home. There was no temple at that time, so they began by conducting services in each others’ homes. In the early 1900s, when the group grew too large to be able to meet in comfortably in their homes, they bought a house on Harvard Street, in the same location where we are now and had it gutted and renovated in order to be a traditional Orthodox shul. There was a balcony for the women and children and the men sat down below.
The congregation grew and went through many changes over the next fifty years, and the members of this community again had their building gutted and remodeled in order to reflect those changes. This time, the entire sanctuary was put on the main floor — permitting men and women to sit together — and several class rooms, along with a kitchen and activity room were added downstairs. The congregation again had the building remodeled in the 1960s, to make it up-to-date.
Today, Temple Beth Israel is an unaffiliated, traditional egalitarian synagogue. Rabbi David Finkelstein and Cantor Ellen Band give of their learning and their talents and their abilities in a beautiful way. Come and enjoy our services and meet our community.