The congregation went through difficult times during the Great Depression, and the bank almost foreclosed on its buildings in 1946. Membership dropped significantly in the 1930s because of the Depression, grew after World War II, and dropped again in the 1960s and 1970s as a result of demographic shifts. Programs for young children helped draw Jewish families back into the neighborhood and revitalize the membership. By 2006, Beth Elohim had over 1,000 members. As of 2009[update] , it was the largest and most active Reform congregation in Brooklyn, and its pulpit was the oldest in continuous use in any Brooklyn synagogue.
George Gershwin (September 26, 1898 – July 11, 1937) was an American composer and pianist. Gershwin's compositions spanned both popular and classical genres, and his most popular melodies are widely known. Among his best known works are the orchestral compositions Rhapsody in Blue (1924) and An American in Paris (1928), as well as the opera, Porgy and Bess (1935).
He wrote most of his vocal and theatrical works, including more than a dozen Broadway shows, in collaboration with his elder brother, lyricist Ira Gershwin. George Gershwin composed music for both Broadway and the classical concert hall, as well as popular songs that brought his work to an even wider public. His compositions have been used in numerous films and on television, and many became jazz standards recorded in numerous variations. Countless singers and musicians have recorded Gershwin songs.