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History

  • Our History

    Temple Emanu-El, the first Reform Temple in the New London area began with the efforts of five families in 1960. The congregation has now grown to around 250 families and has made its mark, both in the Jewish Community and the Southeastern Connecticut community as a whole.

    We owe our gratitude to the All Souls Unitarian Church in New London, who so graciously offered to share their sanctuary and social hall with us for the first eight years. In 1968, we were proud to be able to buy our first real home, the Bishop Seabury Church on Fort Street in Groton.

    Soon after, having relied through the years on student rabbis, we were able to obtain our first ordained rabbi, Rabbi Peter Knobel, to lead us and help us grow. After almost ten more years, as we were bursting at the seams, good fortune led us to our present property. That was 1979, the year we bade goodbye to Rabbi Knobel, and again were blessed with the good fortune to obtain Rabbi Aaron Rosenberg as our new leader.

    After 35 years, we bid a very fond farewell to Rabbi Aaron Rosenberg as he moved onto retirement. We thank him for his years of leadership. Temple Emanu-El worked with Interim Rabbi Scott Saulson during the year of transition as we searched for a permanent rabbi.

    We joyfully welcomed Rabbi Marc Ekstrand in July of 2016 as our new permanent rabbi.

    Now, we have only to look around us to see the results of this glorious history…our handsome Temple building, complete with a long dreamed of Sunday School, our beautiful sanctuary, and a spacious social hall. Most importantly, Temple Emanu-El is still an engaged, inclusive, egalitarian Reform congregation supporting the diversity of the Eastern Connecticut Jewish Community and the Greater New London region.