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In 1843, Jewish residents of Hartford and New Haven successfully petitioned the Connecticut General Assembly to allow Jews to form congregations, build synagogues, and worship openly. Soon after, a small group of German-speaking Jews in Hartford began to meet in homes, and in 1876, the young Congregation Beth Israel built a synagogue on Charter Oak Avenue in Hartford (now home to the Charter Oak Cultural Center). We moved to our present home in West Hartford in 1936.
Congregation Beth Israel has been a prominent force in the advancement of Reform Judaism since 1877, when we became founding members of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (now the Union for Reform Judaism). Today, we are one of the largest Reform congregations in the Northeast U.S., serving approximately 700 families of diverse backgrounds through lifelong learning, spiritual enrichment, and a commitment to tikkun olam – repairing the world.
To learn more about our history, view our interactive timeline.