Our History

Beth Shalom Boasts More than a Century as a Kansas City Synagogue.

Our Mission Statement:

Congregation Beth Shalom, an egalitarian Conservative Synagogue , is a welcoming community of individuals from diverse backgrounds, strengthening connections with God, Torah and the Jewish people through communal commitment to prayer, study and acts of loving kindness.

Congregation Beth Shalom has a deep and rich tradition of serving the Kansas City Jewish community. With roots dating back to 1878, Beth Shalom continues that proud tradition today. We hope you enjoy this historical overview of key milestones in the life of Congregation Beth Shalom.

The Early Years

1878 – Congregation Keneseth Israel originates from Russian and Polish immigrants who had formed their own burial society.

1893 – Benjamin Mayerovitz becomes Rabbi.

1894 – The organization’s leadership seeks a state charter.

1902 – Plans are finalized for a facility of Spanish Moorish design at 1425 Locust Street, at a cost of $20,000.

1904 – Max Lieberman becomes Rabbi.

1908 – Isidore Koplowitz becomes Rabbi.

1912 – Samuel Cohen becomes Rabbi.

1915 – Congregation Beth Sholom (the House of Peace) emerges from a group of men and women following the new trend of Conservative Judaism. Abe Denebeim and Rabbi Samuel M. Cohen lead the congregation at 31st and Charlotte, in the former Linwood Christian Church.

1917 – Salo Stein becomes Rabbi.

1919 – Herman M. Cohen becomes Rabbi.

1919 – The congregation purchases a large private residence, at the southeast corner of Linwood and Highland, for use as its facility

The Paseo Years

1924 – Merger talks between Keneseth Israel and Beth Sholom begin following Keneseth Sholom’s inability to complete a structure on land purchased at 34th and the Paseo.

1927 – The Paseo facility is dedicated with 1,200 seats and led by Rabbi Herman M. Cohen. The Kansas City Star and Architectural League of Kansas City praise its beauty and architectural detail.

1929 – Gershon Hadas becomes Rabbi.

1934 – Jacob Rothblatt becomes cantor.

1955 –The congregation purchases land at Bannister and Wornall Roads to accommodate its growing needs and to follow the migration of the Jewish community to southwest Kansas City and Johnson County, Kansas.

1961 – Morris B. Margolies becomes Rabbi.

The Wornall Years

1962 – The school building opens at Wornall with 20 classrooms, a commons room and related facilities.

1966 – Irving Feller becomes cantor.

1969 – The Torahs are moved from Paseo to Wornall, signaling the end of the Paseo era.

1971 – The sanctuary building opens following repeated construction strikes. It includes the Ark and dedication windows from 34th and Paseo in order to honor and maintain the nostalgia of the former location.

1972 – Hyman Sky becomes cantor.

1976 – Permanent seating in the sanctuary is completed.

1980 – Rabbis Hadas’ death follows 50 years of service to the congregation.

1986 – Rabbi Margolies retires.

1986 – I. David Oler becomes senior Rabbi.

1986 – The social hall and school wing are heavily damaged in a wind storm, requiring a year to repair.

1988 – Charles Popky becomes acting senior Rabbi.

1988 – Ira S. Bigeleisen becomes cantor.

1989 – Alan Cohen becomes Rabbi.

1992 – David Barash becomes cantor.

2001 – Jodi Sered-Lever becomes cantor.

The Lamar Years

2006 – The school building opens at Lamar with classrooms, a commons room and administrative and ritual offices.

2006 – Robert Menes becomes cantor.

2008 – Rabbi Cohen retires; Robert Tobin becomes senior Rabbi.

2009 – Rabbi Stein joins the congregation as Assistant Rabbi

2011 – Rabbi Tobin resigns and the Assistant Rabbi position is eliminated. The Wornall building is permanently closed in July.

2011-12 Rabbi Alan Cohen assumes the position as Interim Rabbi.

2012 – Hazzan Robert Menes leaves the congregation.

2012 – Rabbi David Glickman assumes the helm as Senior Rabbi.

2012- Rabbi Margolies’ death leaves a lasting mark on the Jewish community.

2013- Hazzan Tahl Ben-Yehuda joins the congregation as Director of Congregational Learning.

2013- Sale of the Wornall property.

The Future

With vibrant clergy and staff and active participation in congregational life by its members, we look forward to continuing to build on our rich and storied history.