Congregation Beth Israel (Media, Pennsylvania)

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Beth Israel
Middletown Beth Israel.JPG
Basic information
Location 542 South New Middletown Road,
Media, Pennsylvania,
 United States
Geographic coordinates 39°53′20″N 75°24′14″W / 39.88899°N 75.403998°W / 39.88899; -75.403998Coordinates: 39°53′20″N 75°24′14″W / 39.88899°N 75.403998°W / 39.88899; -75.403998
Affiliation Reconstructionist Judaism
Country United States of America
Status Active
Leadership Rabbi: Linda Potemken[1]

Congregation Beth Israel is a Reconstructionist synagogue located at 542 South New Middletown Road in Middletown Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, near Media.[2] Formed in 1925 and granted a charter by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1929, Beth Israel is the first Jewish congregation founded in Media, the second-oldest in Delaware County, and the oldest Reconstructionist congregation in Delaware Valley.[3]

Gayley Street building

In 1935 the congregation bought the old Quaker school on Gayley Street in Media.[4] Originally Orthodox and led by lay members, Beth Israel allowed mixed seating in the 1940s.[3]

The congregation started hiring part-time rabbis from the Yeshiva University Synagogue Council in 1948, and in 1957 it hired its first full-time rabbi, a Yeshiva University graduate. Jewish families became attracted to local Conservative synagogues in the 1960s, and demographic changes and a deteriorating building led to a significant membership decline, with the synagogue almost failing. In 1972, Beth Israel affiliated with the Reconstructionist movement, and by the 1980s it had hired its first full-time Reconstructionist rabbi, and had outgrown its building. It moved into its current building on Middletown Road in 1997.[3]

As of 2009, the rabbi was Linda Potemken.[1]


  1. ^ a b Rabbi, Synagogue website. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
  2. ^ Synagogue website. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c History, Synagogue website. Archived at the Internet Archive. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
  4. ^ "Providence Meeting History". Providence Friends Meeting. Providence Friends Meeting. Retrieved 9 December 2012. 

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