B'nai Israel Synagogue (Baltimore)

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B'nai Israel is a Modern Orthodox synagogue located in the historic Jonestown neighborhood of east downtown Baltimore, Maryland (later known also as Old Town) and northeast of the Inner Harbor (originally known as the Basin of the Patapsco River).It is at the historic synagogue on Lloyd Street and Watson Street (between East Baltimore and Lombard Streets). It is among the oldest synagogue buildings still standing in the United States.[1]

It is noted for its Moorish Revival architecture. The Aron Kodesh is an architectural fantasy in carved wood, with the cabinet in which the Torah scrolls are stored flanked by a pair of tall minarets.

The congregation was founded in 1873, after withdrawing from the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation composed of earlier immigrant German Jews and founded in 1830 which was now considered to be too liberal and modernistic. The present building was erected in 1876. It was later sold in 1895 to the B'nai Israel ("Sons of Israel") congregation which was chartered as a "Russian Congregation" by its predominantly Russian-Jewish congregants, though many congregants were of Lithuanian-Jewish[2] and Polish-Jewish descent as well.[3] B'nai Israel is one of two synagogues in the collection of the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Rabbi Alan Yuter served as the rabbi and spiritual leader 2005-2012. Rabbi Etan Mintz has been the rabbi and spiritual leader of the congregation since August 2012.

The building was erected by Congregation Chizuk Amuno Congregation and sold to B'nai Israel in 1895.[3]

The shul is popular with medical and graduate students at the Johns Hopkins and U. Maryland medical campuses who live in Harbor East.


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Coordinates: 39°17′25″N 76°36′4″W / 39.29028°N 76.60111°W / 39.29028; -76.60111