Tifereth Israel has served Glen Cove for 125 years | Herald Community Newspapers


Tifereth Israel Congregation has served the Jewish community of Glen Cove as a place of worship for 125 years. Originally an Orthodox Jewish congregation, the synagogue has evolved over the years to accommodate worshipers of all faiths and backgrounds.

“We welcome people no matter where they are in their vision of what is religiously important to them,” said Phyllis Spector, Past President and Ritual Vice President of CTI.

In the 1880s worship was held in the homes of Jewish families in Glen Cove. The CTI was founded in 1897, with Benjamin Cohen as its first president.

With the growth of the community and population, worship expanded to the old Vincent Opera House which was located at the First Baptist Church in 1990.

“Once the railroad came to Glen Cove, the Jewish community grew because transportation was available,” Spector said. “They have passed the possibility of meeting in someone’s house.”

Over the years, the congregation has continued to grow. A synagogue was built in place of the opera house on Continental Place in 1924. The congregation then moved to its present location on Hill Avenue in 1961.

Eventually, the gap between men and women began to dissipate, with women gaining more rights and higher status in congregation with society.

Gustavo Gitlin from Argentina, who joined the CTI as a cantor in 2003, said he found family in the congregation and enjoyed witnessing all the cycles of their life, such as the bald -mice and bar mitzvahs, weddings and even funerals.

“CTI is our family,” Gitlin said. “They saw our children grow up. And when we say it takes a village, that’s exactly what it is. It was the village that helped us.

Over the years, the synagogue transformed into a more conservative liberal congregation. Members of interfaith families, other faiths and young professionals from the region joined. “People like to come and be with other Jews,” Gitlin said.

“The demographics have changed,” Spector said. “We have become a more liberal conservative congregation that reflects the people who are part of our community, who may be traditional, or more liberal, or LGBTQ, or interfaith.”

Rabbi Irwin Huberman has led the congregation for 16 years. Throughout his time, he said the congregation has become more welcoming to all Jewish tribes.

“In a world where organized religion seems to be kind of fading away,” Huberman said, “we’ve been able to adapt the way we offer religious services in programming to respond to more modern times.”

During the pandemic, the congregation has been able to use Zoom and other means to connect with the Jewish community across the world and country. Every worship service and almost every celebration is hybrid.

As more and more younger families move to Glen Cove, Hebrew School continues to thrive with at least 100 students and membership continues to grow with 350 members currently serving in the congregation.

“What has changed so much is that we are able to accommodate people financially, spiritually, emotionally, whether they are from a more traditional Jewish background, or from interfaith families, or wherever they are. find, in their life course,” Spector said. .

Membership options have expanded past membership. Anyone can join by joining the congregation’s social activism, church services, and educational programs.

“We really want to open up as many windows, opportunities and relationships as possible,” Huberman said. “I think that’s the new reality of Judaism in 2022.”

Everyone has the opportunity to tune in every Friday night, where anyone with musical instruments can join.

“One of the things that we’ve lost, not just because of Covid,” Gitlin said, “but the last few decades is just being attached, being close, having a community , to be with other people, especially doing it in a Jewish context.

The growing expansion of the congregation has enabled them to help support communities at home and abroad. They were able to collect donations for Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, refugees and Ukraine during the ongoing war this year.

“We now have the ability to spread Judaism and world healing,” Huberman said.

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