Synagogues of The Rockaways

The Rockaways
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Compiled by Barbara Ellman

Created: Apr, 2014

Copyright © 2014 Barbara Ellman

Of the 5 Synagogues in Queens listed in the Brooklyn Eagle 1916 Almanac, 4 were located in the Rockaways

Eagle 1916 Almanac

Temple Israel - White Shul


Temple Israel was a Reform synagogue, constructed in 1911 at Roanoke Avenue and State Street (the names were later changed to Nameoke Street and Dinsmore Avenue).   In 1930, Temple Israel moved to its new quarters on Central Avenue in Lawrence.

Congregation Knesseth Israel, an Orthodox congregation founded in Far Rockaway in 1922 purchased the old Temple Israel synagogue.    Congregation Knesseth Israel was holding services in the Far Rockaway Chamber of Commerce building on Mott Avenue.  After moving into its new shul building in 1930, Congregation Knesseth Israel became widely known as “The White Shul,” due the white colonial structure that now served as its synagogue building. 

In 1964, Congregation Knesseth Israel moved into its present quarters at Empire Avenue and Sage Street.

Sharaay Tefilla

Sharaay Tefilla

Congregation Shaarey Tefilla, the first Orthodox synagogue in Far Rockaway, was founded in 1910.  Services began in the Horton building, then moved to the Masonic Temple on Mott Avenue.   The main synagogue, was constructed on Central Avenue near Neilson Avenue in 1915. 

An additional building, called the Jewish Community Center, was constructed just to the right of the main synagogue in 1925.  The synagogue today is in Lawrence, N.Y.       

Congregation Derech Emunah


Congregation Derech Emunah was constructed in 1905, with a seating capacity for 600 persons, “at the corner of Ocean and Vernon Avenues” (Beach 67th St. & Larkin Ave.) in Arverne. 

Although the synagogue was originally a mixed-seating congregation where the wearing of the hat was not compulsory, it quickly developed into an Orthodox synagogue.

After 97 years, it was gutted by a fire, most likely set by an arsonist, in 2002.

Temple Israel of Rockaway Beach

Beth Israel

Temple Israel (also called Beth Israel) of Rockaway Beach, a Reform synagogue, was founded in 1894. This building, at 10 South Fairview Avenue, was constructed in 1900. 

The Hebrew sign above the entrance reads (in translation): “The year [5]660 ( 1900), Beth Israel.”  

Today, the synagogue is called Temple of Israel and it is located at 188 Beach 84th Street.

Temple Beth-El

Beth El

The Temple Beth-El synagogue building on the picture to the left, located at 121-16 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, was designed by Maurice Courland and opened in 1921.

In January 1920, a group of women met at a shop on Beach 116th Street for the purpose of forming a sisterhood.  This first meeting blossomed into a storefront where high holy day services for the Jewish faith were conducted.  A reported 100 people composed its earliest membership.  Eventually an official temple of worship was established from the roots of this congregation.


Temple Beth-El is a Conservative synagogue, presently located at 445 Beach 135th Street in Rockaway Park. 

Congregation Darchay Noam (Bayswater Jewish Center)


Congregation Darchay Noam (Bayswater Jewish Center) is the Conservative synagogue in the Bayswater neighborhood of Far Rockaway, located on Healy Avenue at Dickens Street.  The congregation was established in the 1950's.  This building was erected in 1958 adjacent to the mansion that had previously been converted for the use for the congregation.  The mansion was insufficient for the 500 member families.
Along with many structures in the Rockaways, a number of synagogues were ravaged by Hurricane Sandy in Oct 2012.

The West End Temple, a 70-year-old congregation located in Rockaway Beach was devastated by the storm and attempting to rebuild.

This photo shows one synagogue as it tries to dry out the Safer Torah following Sandy.

Rockaway Synagogues (past and present)

  • Agudath Israel of Rockaway
  • Anshe Sfard
  • Bayswater Jewish Center  (Congregation Darchai Noam)     
  • Beis Medrash Ateres Yisroel (Rabbi Avraham Blumenkranz)
  • Bnos Israel Institute (Rabbi Shmelke Rubin)
  • Chevrah Shomrei Sabbath
  • Congregation Cnesses Israel in Rockaway Beach
  • Congregation Knesses Israel
  • Congregation Ohab Zedek
  • Congregation Shaarey Tefila
  • Congregation Shaarey Zedek
  • Congregation Shomrai Shabbos
  • Hebrew Institute Jewish Center
  • Sh'or Yoshuv Rabbinical College
  • Temple Beth El of Rockaway Park
  • Temple Emanuel of Far Rockaway
  • West End Temple - Sinai Congregation
  • Young Israel of Far Rockaway Congregation
  • Young Israel of Wavecrest and Bayswater
  • Young Israel of Rockaway Beach
  • Young Israel of the Rockaways  (Beach 75th Street)

 Thanks to the Leiman Library for use of the postcards shown.

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