CKI's History

Bound Brook and the Jewish community

Bound Brook has the oldest known Jewish community in all of New Jersey.

Aaron Louzada, a merchant and shopkeeper, was the first Jew to settle in New Jersey, establishing his family in Bound Brook in 1698. He built the third house in town, and soon after purchased 877 acres of land (the Codrington homestead), which was the basis for much of modern Bound Brook. He was known for his generous contributions to Jewish communal causes in New York and New Jersey.

Louzada's son (Aaron Louzada II) and brother Moses were large landowners and leading citizens of Bound Brook, operating a grist mill and a general store, and contributing to the erection of a Lutheran church. A letter from Hannah Louzada, Moses' widow, is in the archives of the American Jewish Historical Society.

In the late 1800's, the Jewish Agricultural Society developed a network of flourishing Jewish farms and industrial communities. One of these was in Bound Brook.

Knesseth Israel's history

About 1920, when there were enough Jewish men in Bound Brook to have a regular minyan and form a congregation, they formed "The Jacob Shiff Congregation", named after a prominent Jewish philanthropist who was recently deceased. In 1921 the women's organization was granted a charter as the Jacob Shiff Women's Social Circle. Lena Gottlieb, mother of Ruth Kissel, was elected the first president and served until her death in 1929.

In 1921-22 services were held in the Ivy Hook & Ladder building, followed by use of the Congregational Church. By 1923, the Women's Social Circle had raised enough money for a down-payment toward the purchase of property on Mountain Avenue, where the synagogue still stands.

In 1954, construction of a new building on the property was begun. Due to the efforts of Lou and Tom Sudzin and Sid Edelberg, it was completed in time for dedication. The new, larger, building provided the congregation the opportunity to hold many religious and social functions within its walls.

In 1967, Congregation Knesseth Israel joined United Synagogue. That year the congregation also purchased a home in Bound Brook to house the Rabbi, and Rabbi David Prince and his family were the first occupants. A Judaica library was established in the Rabbi's study in the synagogue.

In 1981 an expansion to the building was begun. The room was dedicated the "Chapel of the Survivors" in 1987, at which time the consecration of the stained glass windows, the Aron Kodesh, the Ner Tamid, the Shulchan, Menorahs, Bimah seats, flags, and the Kley Kodesh of the Holocaust Sefer Torah took place. Other plaques marking "Nettie's Niche" and seats were dedicated.

In the late 1990's the exterior of the temple had a "face-lift", and over the years the interior has had several improvements, making it a warm, friendly, family-oriented place of worship for all.

 


CONGREGATION KNESSETH ISRAEL
229 Mountain Avenue
Bound Brook, NJ
732-469-0934