Congregation B’nai Israel offers a foundation for living a fully modern life which is sanctified by Conservative Jewish values and practices.
A UNIQUE JEWISH PRESENCE IN NEW MEXICO
B’nai Israel is proud to be a part of a continuing Jewish presence in New Mexico that reaches back four centuries. Along with our Jewish practices and values, we acknowledge and celebrate local culture. We keep this legacy alive for future generations.
Founded in November 1920, Congregation B’nai Israel had several homes before moving to its permanent location on Indian School Road in 1970. When first erected, our historic building, known as “the Tent in the Desert”, could be seen from I-25 for miles around. It was a bold statement, a physical reminder of our singular standing. Not only are we the sole Conservative synagogue in all of New Mexico, but we are distant from our sister Conservative congregations in Colorado and Arizona by over 600 miles. One hundred years after our founding, we remain committed to keeping Conservative Judaism alive. Our founding families, Jewish entrepreneurs from Europe and American eastern cities, seized the opportunity to create a new life for themselves as our country grew westward. Settling in Albuquerque, New Mexico, they established a vibrant commercial and cultural center that continues to thrive to this day. The core of this flourishing Jewish community was Congregation B’nai Israel. Looking out across the congregation today you cannot help but notice boldly colored tallitot in Navajo patterns that envelop our members as they pray, symbolically connecting us to the deeper story of the land on which we gather, study, and pray. Even our Shabbat kiddush lunches are infused with the flavors of New Mexico. Give the green chile knishes a try!
As we weave the traditions of the past into the ever-changing fabric of Jewish life in the American Southwest, we invite you to join us on this journey.
We are the guardians of a rich hundred-year legacy, which obligates us to sustain our congregation in a rapidly changing world. Our rituals and ceremonies draw on tradition, but we also bring innovative approaches for personal spiritual engagement. We build connections and relationships among our members for mutual learning, nurturance, and support. We provide clergy to serve all the spiritual needs of our members. Newcomers are welcomed into our community in a spirit of inclusion. We provide ongoing opportunities for anyone, of any age, to learn more about Jewish religion, history, and culture. We appreciate and acknowledge our volunteers, because their work is essential to the welfare of the Congregation. We engage with and support our local interfaith organizations to strengthen not only our own congregation but also the greater community in which we live. Through these actions, we strive to assure the vitality and relevance of the Congregation, building a modern Jewish community for generations to come.
VOLUNTEERISM AND COLLECTIVE PARTICIPATION
Congregation B’nai Israel (CBI) relies on its volunteers to keep our Kehilla (congregation) together. Our members help each other, and our synagogue, because they aspire to fulfill tikkun olam: they behave and act constructively to benefit and “repair” the world.
Volunteering does not require huge commitments of time out of one’s busy day. CBI volunteers perform many roles and complete tasks big and small. All are valued for their positive impact because the support helps the synagogue community to endure and thrive. Like any other active non-profit organization, the need is constant and never-ending. FIND OUT MORE ABOUT VOLUNTEERING
Because we are the sole Conservative congregation in New Mexico , the community we serve is highly diverse, but united by the common desire to affiliate with a congregation rooted in traditional Judaism. In that spirit, we wholeheartedly welcome members of all ages, political views, and gender orientations. The cultural depth of our congregation is like no other, thanks to our members who come from all Jewish ethnic backgrounds. All are equally valued for what they can contribute.
We are a community of learners committed to substantive Jewish education. We have an urgent calling to offer engaging, innovative educational opportunities for a diverse, multigenerational audience. We place a high value on Hebrew language instruction and training in liturgy and biblical chant to assure our traditions will survive.
LITURGY – BOTH TRADITIONAL AND MODERN
We are proud of how our services balance the old with the new. A visitor from anywhere in the world, seeking an egalitarian service, can feel right at home with our liturgy and the traditional melodies that we have preserved. But we are also open to new music, new prayers, and contemporary experimentation. And we are increasingly using Internet technology to offer virtual prayer services that expand our reach to the homebound and to distant members and visitors. With our new hybrid model of worship, remote and in-person congregants can worship together in one body. We know how important it is to offer numerous entryways into the religious and spiritual life of the congregation.
OUTREACH AND COMMUNITY SUPPORT
We hold high the Jewish values of Tzedakah (charity) and Chesed (compassion). Committed action starts in our own community, with compassionate outreach to those in need at times of mourning, illness, and personal crisis, and to those who are isolated by lack of transportation to worship services and synagogue events. Our Chevrat Chesed committee stands ready to offer a helping hand, and especially to help improve the quality of life for our most vulnerable congregants.
On February 15th, 2019, the New Mexico Cultural Properties Review Committee in Santa Fe unanimously accepted the nomination of Congregation B’nai Israel for a listing in the National Register of Historic Places. By doing so, Congregation B’nai Israel was placed on the State of New Mexico Historic Places, commonly referred to as the State Historic Register. Subsequently, Historians officially added the synagogue to the National Register of Historic Places. This was an important event for Congregation B’nai Israel, our community at large, and the City of Albuquerque, because it acknowledged the cultural significance of our Congregation and the architectural importance of our building. FIND OUT MORE ABOUT OUR BUILDING
OUR OPEN INVITATION
Congregation B’nai Israel is open to all who see a place for themselves in this community and are willing to uphold its ideals and contribute to its ongoing growth and prosperity. JOIN OUR CONGREGATION
Become a part of our amazing community
View recorded services, learn, communicate and much more!