Temple Emanu-El came into being in 1924 when a small group of
influential Jewish leaders in Providence met to address the inability of
the older Orthodox congregations to attract and hold younger Jewish
adults in the modern American milieu. The new synagogue was to be a
vibrant Conservative congregation from its inception, an idea supported
by leaders from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York
idea caught hold immediately. Part of the Botanical Gardens of Brown
University was purchased as a building site, and construction of a
magnificent domed sanctuary was completed in 1927. The congregation
grew steadily over the next decades, and soon became one of the leading
synagogues in New England.
A new school building was
completed in 1953 accommodating the rapidly-expanding Religious School,
and containing a large second sanctuary. And a second major
construction project, the addition of a wing with function halls for
social events, celebrations, and large-scale programs, was completed in
Temple Emanu-El has always occupied a prominent place in
Rhode Island life, and in the life of the national Jewish community.
Two of its rabbis, Israel Goldman and Eli Bohnen, served as president of
the Rabbinical Assembly, one of its cantors, Ivan Perlman, served as
president of the Cantors Assembly, one of its former Executive
Directors, Robert Hill, served as president of the North American
Association of Synagogue Executives, and many Rhode Island leaders have
been and are members of the congregation.
continues its deep commitment to innovative programming and to offering
an unqualified welcome to all Jews, regardless of background, training,
or circumstance, who want to be a part of this community of faith.