History of KI

Congregation Kehillath Israel of Brookline, Massachusetts began as a small collective in 1911 before its establishment, with 36 members, in 1915. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts granted the Synagogue a Charter in 1917, and land was then purchased in Brookline, Massachusetts for the development of the Synagogue and Hebrew School. The first High Holy Day services were held in the Synagogue in 1924, and in 1925 the building was formally dedicated with Rabbi Louis M. Epstein installed as Rabbi.

Rabbi Epstein led the Synagogue until his retirement in 1947. Rabbi Judah Nadich succeeded him until 1957, when Rabbi Manuel Saltzman was installed. Since 1995, the Synagogue has been under the leadership of Rabbi William Hamilton.

Congregation Kehillath Israel established a Sisterhood in 1919, followed several years later by the creation of a Brotherhood in 1927. The two often shared fundraising responsibilities, but the Brotherhood also had an established Glee Club under the direction of Mary Wolfman for many years. Both groups hosted various events, including teas, dances, performances, lectures and Shabbat dinners. The two groups were also responsible for the production of the K.I. Yearbooks.

KI is thrilled to introduce and share this ‘Word Monument’ to one of our community’s most beloved and impactful (Klei Kodesh) ‘vessels for conveying the holy’, Harry Kraft, of blessed memory.

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Chronology of the Congregation Kehillath Israel

1911 – Initial services are held in a private residence.
1911 – First Holy Day Services and First Hebrew school classes at Oddfellows Hall.
1915 – Congregation Kehillath Israel established with a membership of 36.
1917 – Congregation Kehillath Israel is granted a State Charter.
1917 – Land is purchased for the Synagogue and Hebrew School.
1921 – Land is purchased for the site of the Synagogue.
1923 – The cornerstone of the Synagogue is laid.
1924 – First Holy Day services are held in the new Synagogue.
1925 – Dedication of Congregation Kehillath Israel.
1925 – Louis Epstein is installed as Rabbi.
1946 – Rabbi Benjamin Kreitman installed.
1947 – Rabbi Epstein retires.
1947 – Rabbi Judah Nadich installed.
1957 – Rabbi Manuel Saltzman installed.
1987 – 70th Anniversary with Senator Ted Kennedy as featured speaker.