Beth Am

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The sanctuary at Beth Am synagogue

Beth Am is a Conservative synagogue in Baltimore, Maryland. The congregation is located in Baltimore's Reservoir Hill community, and is considered to be one of the city's historic synagogues. It is one of two non-Orthodox synagogues in Baltimore's inner city.[1] Beth Am is an urban, egalitarian congregation affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, and it is known for balancing traditional prayer and learning with innovative and intellectual critique.


The building currently known as "Beth Am" was first founded as Chizuk Amuno Congregation,[2] which has since moved to a new suburban location in Pikesville, Maryland. Chizuk Amuno first occupied the building in 1922 and moved to Pikesville in 1958.[3]

Following the move of Chizuk Amuno, services continued in the building, led by Cantor Abba Weisgall. Then, in 1974, the current Beth Am congregation was founded as Dr. Louis Kaplan's shul.[4] Kaplan's wife suggested the name, which translates to "House of the People".


Kaplan served informally as the congregation's spiritual leader until 1981, when the congregation hired its first full-time rabbi.

The congregation had no full-time rabbi in the years 2000–2002, when they were served part-time by Rabbi Sheila Russian, who in 1979 had become the first female rabbi in Baltimore.[5]

The current rabbi is Rabbi Daniel Cotzin Burg, who joined the congregation in 2010. The Rabbi Emeritus is Jon Konheim,[6] who has been with the congregation since 2002.


Beth Am strives to be, in Isaiah's words, “a house of prayer for all peoples”. Beth Am is known for its warmth, its open embrace of children, and its pluralism.



  1. ^ Weiss, Anthony (13 February 2008). "The Shul that Stayed in Baltimore". The Forward. Retrieved 29 December 2010. 
  2. ^ Sandler 2000, p. 181.
  3. ^ Olitzky 1996, pp. 161-162.
  4. ^ Sandler 2000, p. 51.
  5. ^ "File unreadable" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 19, 2008. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  6. ^ Archived October 26, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.


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Coordinates: 39°18′53″N 76°38′16″W / 39.31472°N 76.63778°W / 39.31472; -76.63778