Welcome to Congregation B’nai Avraham, the Orthodox synagogue in Brooklyn Heights. As the only Orthodox synagogue in the neighborhood, we serve a unique role in accommodating people with divergent religious backgrounds and at varying levels of observance. We welcome all!
Our goal is to increase the level of Jewish awareness, knowledge and observance by providing a warm, welcoming community with activities to appeal to people at all levels and with varying interests. We provide a daily morning and evening minyan and more than ten classes a week for adult learning, as well as beginner’s services and children’s services on Shabbat. Our Mei Menacham Mikvah is perhaps the most beautiful mikvah in the City.
Our membership includes both Ashkenazim and Sephardim, and our members’ first languages include Hebrew, Russian, Yiddush, French, Spanish and Arabic, as well as English. Our spiritual leader, Rabbi Aaron L. Raskin, is a member of the Chabad movement, and during services most people use the RCA ArtScroll Siddur and the Stone Chumash, although other Siddurim and Chumashim are readily available.
Come to Saturday services and enjoy a sociable kiddush afterwards, or stop by at one of our many classes, or come to a Friday night dinner with singing, joy and a guest speaker. Whether you are a yeshivah graduate, baal teshuvah, considering conversion or totally new to matters Jewish, we welcome you, and you will find a comfortable place in our vibrant community.
– Stephen Rosen, cofounder and board president
History of our Congregation
In the Summer of 1988 Stephen and Penny Rosen, having recently become more observant, wanted to establish an orthodox Shabbat minyan. Together, they contacted Rabbi Shimon Hecht of B’nai Jacob in Park Slope, who supplied them with a Torah scroll, books, and a very young man to lead services and read from the Torah. Space was rented from a local theater group, signs posted, calls made, and the hope was that someone would show up for the scheduled Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services. Initially, there were the Rosens, Drs. Walter and Brenda Molofsky, previous members with the Rosens of a local Conservative Synagogue, the young man (Rabbi Aaron L. Raskin) and Rabbi Raskin’s brother Shua, who was recruited to walk from Crown Heights with the Rabbi.
Amazingly enough, other people came so that there was a minyan, and the first and only Orthodox Synagogue in Brooklyn Heights began.
After Yom Kippur, holiday and Saturday morning services were held at the Rosen’s residence for the next nine months. The Congregation was officially founded as a religious corporation in December 1988. It was named B’nai Avraham in honor of Stephen Rosen’s grandfathers, both of whom had the Hebrew name “Avraham.” Rabbi Raskin noted that “B’nai Avraham,” literally, “children of Abraham” is the name given to converts, and the Congregation has had many converts among its members. After nine months at the Rosens’, the Congregation rented a parlor floor apartment on Clinton Street. As the landlady lived upstairs, the front door had to remain locked. Generally, Stephen Rosen waited at the front door to let people in. Latecomers tossed pebbles against a window and someone would come down to let them in.
We then moved to a commercial space at 100 Clinton Street, where at long last, we could leave the door open. Finally, in 1996, we moved to our current location at 117 Remsen Street, purchased from the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue (Reform), which acquired a larger building three doors away.
In 2000, the Mei Menachem Community Mikvah was built. It is one of the most beautiful and elegant Mikvahs in the New York area.