Congregation Beth Israel (Charlottesville, Virginia)

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Beth Israel
AffiliationReform Judaism
LeadershipRabbi: Tom Gutherz[1]
Location301 East Jefferson Street,
Charlottesville, Virginia,
 United States
Geographic coordinates38°01′55″N 78°28′46″W / 38.031817°N 78.479317°W / 38.031817; -78.479317Coordinates: 38°01′55″N 78°28′46″W / 38.031817°N 78.479317°W / 38.031817; -78.479317

Congregation Beth Israel is a Reform synagogue and member of the Union for Reform Judaism located at 301 East Jefferson Street in Charlottesville, Virginia.[2] Founded in 1882,[3] it grew out of Charlottesville's Hebrew Benevolent Society, which was created in 1870.[4]

The congregation's 1882 building is the oldest synagogue building still standing in Virginia.[5] It joined the Union of American Hebrew Congregations in 1927.[3] The synagogue has an active youth group called BITY (Beth Israel Temple Youth), participating in events with the synagogue throughout the year. It also has a preschool, and religious/Hebrew school.[2]

Congregation Beth Israel offers adult education in the form of lectures, films, and Beit Midrash text study. Worship services include Traditional Egalitarian Shabbat Morning Service, Kabbalat Shabbat Service, and Mishkan T'filah (Reform) Services. These services are intended to be appropriate across ages and household composition. CBI is also involved in mitzvot and acts of tikkun olam through association with and grant funding for local Charlottesville non-profits.[2]

As of 2017, the Senior Rabbi is Tom Gutherz, and the Associate Rabbi is Rachel Schmelkin.[6] Daniel Alexander, Rabbi Emeritus, served as rabbi from 1988 to 2016, and his retirement led the Virginia House of Delegates and Virginia Senate to issue Joint Resolution No. 381, commending Alexander's service to the Congregation Beth Israel and the Charlottesville community for 37 years.[6]


  1. ^ "Clergy and Staff"[permanent dead link] Synagogue website. Accessed March 3, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Synagogue website. Accessed August 23, 2012.
  3. ^ a b History Archived 2010-01-20 at the Wayback Machine, Synagogue website. Accessed January 19, 2010.
  4. ^ "History of CBI" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-09-07. (95.8 KB), Synagogue website, About CBI, History. Accessed July 20, 2008.
  5. ^ Mark W. Gordon, "Rediscovering Jewish Infrastructure: Update on United States Nineteenth Century Synagogues", American Jewish History, 84.1 (1996) 11-27. 2019 article update.
  6. ^ a b "Clergy and Staff | Congregation Beth Israel". Retrieved 2019-03-03.