Old Orchard Beach

Old Orchard Beach has been Maine’s most popular summer vacation destination since the 1800s. During that time, the town became home to several kosher hotels, a kosher meat market and an Orthodox synagogue, all of which created a vibrant, mostly seasonal Jewish community for many years.

Old Orchard Beach Jewish Census

(year-round estimated)

1930-1940

Old Orchard Beach

Congregation Beth Israel

1912-present

Congregation Beth Israel, the original building.
Congregation Beth Israel, today.
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Congregation Beth Israel

Affiliation

Rabbi

Location

Website

Phone

Orthodox

 

49 East Grand Ave, Old Orchard Beach

www.CBIsrael.me

(207)974-2973

Congregation Beth Israel

Congregational Timeline

1909

Joseph Goodkowsky built The Lafayette Hotel, the first kosher hotel in Old Orchard Beach. The hotel became so popular that it soon became too small to hold services. A committee was formed to launch the construction of a synagogue for summertime visitors.

1949

Congregation Beth Israel held a flag ceremony to celebrate their reopening, with clergy and dignitaries from Maine and greater New England.

1912

Congregation Beth Israel was erected next door to The Lafayette, its $3,500 construction paid for largely by people who vacationed in Old Orchard Beach. The synagogue was built to hold 200 congregants.

1970s

As airfare and other means of travel became more affordable, the number of summertime visitors dropped, and the size of the congregation dwindled significantly.

1946

Reconstruction completed, creating a central doorway to replace what had been separate entrances for men and women.


The Weinstein brothers (Eber, King, and Neal) have continued to maintain the synagogue, ensuring it remains open for the summer and the high holidays.

Congregation
Beth Israel

Clergy Leadership Over the Years: