Beth Israel Congregation (Ann Arbor, Michigan)

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Beth Israel
Beth Israel Congregation Synagogue ann arbor.JPG
Basic information
Location 2000 Washtenaw Avenue,
Ann Arbor, Michigan,
 United States
Geographic coordinates 42°16′04″N 83°43′20″W / 42.267862°N 83.722268°W / 42.267862; -83.722268Coordinates: 42°16′04″N 83°43′20″W / 42.267862°N 83.722268°W / 42.267862; -83.722268
Affiliation Conservative Judaism
Country United States of America
Status Active
Leadership Rabbi: Robert Dobrusin,
Associate Rabbi: Kim Blumenthal[1]

Beth Israel Congregation (Hebrew: בית ישראל‎‎) is a Conservative synagogue located at 2000 Washtenaw Avenue in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Established in 1916, Beth Israel is the oldest synagogue in Ann Arbor.[2]

As of 2009, the egalitarian congregation had 480 member households.[2] The rabbis were Robert Dobrusin and Kim Blumenthal.[1]

The congregation is in favor of the two-state solution to solve the Arab-Israel conflict.[3] Over the years, the congregation has raised more than $180,000 for two charities: Neve Shalom, a cooperative village jointly founded by Israeli Jews and Israeli Palestinian Arabs to show they can live side by side in peace and Magen David Adom, the Israeli Red Cross.[3]

Site of protest[edit]

A group of activists led by a former congregant has staged a weekly protest in front of the temple for more than a decade. They hold up signs like "Zionism Enabled Nazism" and "Israel: No Right To Exist."[3] The group opposes the two state solution and opposes the right for Israel to exist.[3] The protestors say they will stop protesting if the congregation removes its Israeli flag.[3] The Ann Arbor City Council has denounced the group, but is powerless to do anything to impede the group's First Amendment rights.[3] According to congregation president, Matt Kaplan, in the past few years, the protestors' message has shifted from anti-Israel to anti Jews and Judaism.[3] According to the group, "We're not protesting Jews per se or Judaism per se, we are protesting the strength and power of the Jewish community and how they lend their power to supporting the state of Israel."[3] As of August 2013, the protest has continued for ten years, but it has dwindled in the last few years to seven people on average.[3]


  1. ^ a b Synagogue website. Accessed October 19, 2009.
  2. ^ a b History Archived January 3, 2009, at the Wayback Machine., Synagogue website, About Us. Accessed October 19, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i [1], Local news coverage. Accessed August, 2013.