Our Story

Our Story

Our Beginnings

Beth El Synagogue Center of New Rochelle was created from the 1949 merger of Beth El Synagogue in downtown New Rochelle with a newly formed congregation in the north end of New Rochelle. Within months following the merger, the congregation purchased four acres at North Avenue and Northfield Road where Beth El Synagogue Center now stands. The complex that is the Center took shape in three phases: a community center dedicated in 1957, a classroom and office wing dedicated in 1961, and the sanctuary completed in time for High Holiday services in 1970.

Our Clergy History

Dr. David I. Golovensky, z”l, became downtown Beth El’s spiritual leader in 1946, shortly before the 1949 merger. His leadership was foundational. Rabbi Golovensky ushered Beth El into the modern era as a Conservative synagogue and oversaw the commencement, construction, and completion of its physical presence at North Avenue and Northfield Road. Rabbi Melvin Sirner, after graduating from the Jewish Theological Seminary, became Beth El’s Assistant Rabbi. Upon Rabbi Golovensky’s retirement in 1976, Rabbi Sirner assumed the position of Senior Rabbi. In that position for four decades, the deeply beloved Rabbi Sirner was a spiritual guide for several generations of Beth El families. Upon Rabbi Sirner’s retirement in 2015, Rabbi David A. Schuck became Beth El’s third and current senior rabbi. Together with Rabbi Zachary Sitkin and Cantor Gaby Schvartz, the clergy team builds upon and enhances Beth El’s strong foundation.

Our Future

Beth El’s vision for the future is to maintain its vibrant, growing, caring community in which each person feels Jewishly connected. In a world characterized by unprecedented change and disruption where the search for meaning is as profound as ever, the Beth El clergy team, supported by a wonderfully energetic staff, aims to nourish each member of its community and provide connection. Whether through prayer, learning, shared meals, holiday celebrations, socializing, or simply being there for one another on our individual journeys of faith and doubt, we believe Beth El’s core purpose is to enrich life. Our intergenerational community honors tradition, is committed to experimentation, uplifted by song and welcoming to all.