Joining forces

The history of B'nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim involves the merging of two congregations—B'nai Jehoshua and Beth Elohim, according to

Bohemian and Czechoslovakian Jews founded B'nai Jehoshua in 1893 as a cemetery association. In 1895, 15 B'nai Jehoshua members decided to form a synagogue, securing a hall for Rosh Hashana. In 1896, a Ladies' Society was formed; the ladies were responsible for preparing the dead for burial.

In 1899, B'nai Jehoshua bought a cemetery at 6700 W. Addison St. in Chicago, as well as a building to use as a temple.

A new temple was completed in 1928 at 20th St. and Ashland Ave. Even though many temple members moved from that area during the 1940s and 1950s, they still traveled to attend religious services and school.

During early 1963, new housing developments in the Des Plaines-Morton Grove-Glenview, Ill., area attracted young Jewish families, prompting the establishment of a Reform Synagogue—Beth Elohim. Services were held at Glenview Community Church, and a religious school was established.

The Beth Elohim board began to search for a permanent home in 1964. When the board began looking for a full-time rabbi in 1965, B'nai Jehoshua approached Beth Elohim with the idea of merging the congregations. It was decided the synagogue would take the B'nai Jehoshua name, as well as its rabbi, uniting the two congregations.

This Web exclusive information is a supplement to A sacred place.