Temple B'Nai Abraham

Coordinates: 40°46′15″N 74°18′05″W / 40.770795°N 74.301396°W / 40.770795; -74.301396
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Temple B'nai Abraham
Ecclesiastical or organisational statusSynagogue
  • Rabbi David Z. Vaisberg
  • Rabbi Max Edwards (Associate)
  • Rabbi Clifford M. Kulwin (Emeritus)
Location300 East Northfield Road, Livingston, Essex County, New Jersey 07039
CountryUnited States
Temple B'Nai Abraham is located in Essex County, New Jersey
Temple B'Nai Abraham
Location of the current synagogue
in Essex County, New Jersey
Geographic coordinates40°46′15″N 74°18′05″W / 40.770795°N 74.301396°W / 40.770795; -74.301396
Date established1854 (as a congregation)
  • 1897 (High Street, Newark)
  • 1924 (Clinton Avenue)
  • 1973 (Livingston)
Deliverence Evangelistic Center
The former synagogue, in 2010
Temple B'Nai Abraham is located in Essex County, New Jersey
Temple B'Nai Abraham
Temple B'Nai Abraham is located in New Jersey
Temple B'Nai Abraham
Temple B'Nai Abraham is located in the United States
Temple B'Nai Abraham
Location621 Clinton Avenue, Newark, New Jersey
Coordinates40°43′23″N 74°12′25″W / 40.72306°N 74.20694°W / 40.72306; -74.20694
Area0.5 acres (0.20 ha)
ArchitectNathan Myers
Architectural styleClassical Revival
NRHP reference No.07000358
Significant dates
Added to NRHPApril 26, 2007
Designated NJRHPApril 1, 2010

Temple B'nai Abraham is an unaffiliated Jewish congregation and synagogue, located at 300 East Northfield Road, in Livingston, Essex County, New Jersey, in the United States.

Established in Newark in 1853 as an Orthodox (and later, Conservative)[3][4] congregation, for most of the 20th century Temple B'nai Abraham has been independent of the organized synagogue movements, describing itself as a traditional progressive congregation.[5]

Its historic 1924 building at 621 Clinton Avenue was used as a synagogue until 1973, and subsequently used as a Pentecostal church and, since 2023, as a charter school. The former synagogue building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007 and was added to the New Jersey Register of Historic Places in 2010.[2]


Temple B'nai Abraham was founded as a result of a 1853 split from Newark's first congregation, the Orthodox B'nai Jeshurun. Named in honor of Abraham Newman, most of its initial members were from Poznań, in Poland. The congregation moved often in its early years, from 25 Academy Street (1857–1866), Union Hall, 200 Market Street (1867–1869), 65 Bank Street (1870–1883), 177 Halsey Street (1884–1889), 226 Washington Street (1890–1897), and to 487 High Street (1897–1923).[4]

The congregation engaged Nathan Myers, a Newark architect, to design its 1924 building on Clifton Avenue, completed in the Classical Revival style. Myers later designed the iconic Hersch Tower in Elizabeth, New Jersey.[6] In addition to the sanctuary, the Clifton Avenue complex had a large number of classrooms, a gymnasium, an auditorium, and a swimming pool.[4]

In 1973, the congregation moved to Livingston and sold the Clifton Avenue building to the Deliverance Evangelistic Center, a Pentecostal church. The former synagogue building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 26, 2007.

With the building in need of repairs, the struggling Deliverence Evangelistic Center[3] sold the building to the People's Preparatory Charter School for $2.5 million in January 2023.[7][8]

Rabbinical leadership[edit]

Dr. Joachim Prinz, the rabbi from 1939 to 1976, modernized the ritual and introduced his own prayer book. Prinz, who had escaped Nazi Germany in 1937, was a vocal civil rights leader in the United States, known globally for his moving rhetoric.[9] Prinz arranged for Martin Luther King Jr. to address the congregation in the Clinton Avenue building on January 17, 1963.[3]

Prinz was succeeded by Rabbi Barry Friedman who introduced further innovations in the services and wrote and edited the prayer book, Siddur Or Chadash. In 1999, Rabbi Clifford Kulwin became the synagogue's fourth religious leader in 98 years. Rabbi David Z. Vaisberg was appointed senior rabbi in 2019.[5][10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ a b "New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places – Essex County" (PDF). New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection – Historic Preservation Office. April 1, 2010. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 27, 2009. Retrieved August 21, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Weiner, Robert (June 15, 2016). "'Living monument' church in need of salvation". New Jersey Jewish News. Retrieved January 27, 2024.
  4. ^ a b c Geisheimer, Glenn G. (2021). "Congregation B'Nai Abraham". Newark Religion: Old Newark. Glenn G. Geisheimer. Retrieved January 27, 2024.
  5. ^ a b "Our History". Temple B'nai Abraham.[self-published source?]
  6. ^ "THE ELIZABETH FORUM 2014". Elizabeth Historical Society. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
  7. ^ Prise, Allison (January 18, 2023). "Endangered historic N.J. temple has a new life after $2.5M sale". NJ.com. Advance Publications. Retrieved January 27, 2024.
  8. ^ Fry, Chris (February 8, 2023). "Historic Newark Temple Will Be Converted into Charter School". Jersey Digs. Retrieved January 27, 2024.
  9. ^ Pasternak, Rachel Nierenberg; Fisher, Rachel Eskin; Price, Clement (November 6, 2014). "Rabbi Joachim Prinz: The Jewish Civil Rights Leader". Moment Magazine. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  10. ^ "History: The first 150 years" (PDF). Temple B'nai Abraham. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 15, 2015. Retrieved June 11, 2016.[self-published source?]

External links[edit]