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Congregation Beth Israel San Diego

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Congregation Beth Israel San Diego


Basic Information

Location 32.870901°N 117.206322°W
Phone number (858) 535-1111
Country United States
City San Diego, CA
Address 9001 Towne Centre Drive, San Diego, California

General Information

Open to visitors yes
Need appointment no
Handicap accessibility no
Website http://www.cbisd.org/
Geographical Coordinates 32.87093,-117.20637


Congregation Beth Israel is a Reform synagogue located in San Diego, California. Formally incorporated in 1887, Beth Israel traces it roots back to 1861. It is San Diego's largest and oldest Jewish congregation.

History and time period

Jews first came to San Diego in 1850, and organized High Holiday services each year. In 1861, led by Marcus Schiller, they organized a congregation called "Adath Yeshurun". In early 1887 they formally incorporated under the name "Beth Israel".

Beth Israel's first building still stands in Heritage Park, which is adjacent to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. The wooden building was erected in 1889 at Second Avenue and Beech Street, in the wake of a boom in economic activity and population that resulted from the November 1885 completion of the California Southern Railroad connecting San Diego to the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad in Barstow, California. One of the oldest synagogue buildings in the American West, it was used by the Congregation until 1926, when the Congregation moved to its second, larger building at Third and Laurel. At the time the congregation numbered around 60 families.

The Third and Laurel site occupied a full city block, and included a number of structures. In addition to the synagogue building, there was an adjacent social hall, a school building, and number of small apartments. When the congregation moved in early 2001, it retained the school and social hall.

Beth Israel purchased a 3 acres lot in University City in 1993. Construction on new facilities there began in January 2000 and were dedicated in October 2001. The site comprises five buildings totaling more than 65,000 square feet.

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