about BTBJ

Our History


  • 1956 – A group of dedicated families incorporate the name “Temple Beth Tikvah” – House of Hope.
  • 1958 – Groundbreaking ceremonies are held on a site on Paper Mill Road.  Our modest building is completed just before the High Holidays.
  • 1959 – Rabbi Alexander M. Shapiro becomes the first rabbi of Temple Beth Tikvah.
  • 1961 – Because of a dramatic increase in religious school enrollment, a school building is added to the synagogue building. Temple Beth Tikvah is officially inducted as a member of United Synagogue of America.
  • 1963 – Temple Beth Tikvah receives its first Solomon Schechter award for excellence in education. Our membership reaches 285 families over the next year.
  • 1968 – Bernard Walters assumes the role of Cantor of our Congregation.
  • 1969 – Rabbi Shapiro leaves our congregation and Rabbi Joseph Teichman is selected as our next rabbi.
  • 1972 – Rabbi Shalom Podwol replaces Rabbi Teichman. Following several years of unrest and a dramatic drop in membership, merger talks begin with B’nai Jeshurun Synagogue of Mt. Airy.
  • 1973 – The board of Beth Tikvah unanimously approves the principles of merger. The merger officially takes place in August 1973. The name of the new congregation is Beth Tikvah B’nai Jeshurun.
  • 1975 – Rabbi Podwol leaves BTBJ and Rabbi Robert Layman assumes the pulpit. The next few years can be described as united and stable. Another Solomon Schechter Award for education is awarded to our school.
  • 1977 – BTBJ starts a modest preschool with an enrollment of 10 children ages 3, 4 and 5.The preschool becomes a major factor in attracting young members to our synagogue.

    1987 – Our preschool, started by Barbara Abrams, continues to grow and thrive under the direction of Valarie Hurwitz with the help of many dedicated teachers and parents.

  • 1988 – Rabbi Layman becomes Executive Director of United Synagogue, Delaware Valley Region and Rabbi David Klatzker becomes the new rabbi of BTBJ.
  • 1995 – Cantor Arlyne Unger, who had assumed the Educational Director’s position two years earlier, becomes Cantor of BTBJ, replacing Cantor Walters who leaves after 27 years of service.
  • 1997 – The preschool adds summer camp, kindergarten and tot power programs to meet the needs of the community. A beautiful addition with dramatic renovations to our building begins.
  • 1998 – Rabbi Klatzker leaves the synagogue and Rabbi Saul Grife becomes rabbi in August 1998. Rabbi Grife, his wife, Linda and their three daughters, Gabriella, Alana and Shira bring a new sense of enthusiasm to our congregation.
  • 2001 – Cantor Arlyne Unger assumes the title of Hazzan. Our religious school continues to grow and flourish.  BTBJ establishes a program for our teenage population aptly entitled Teens Together under the direction of Rabbi Saul Grife.
  • 2007 – Marcie Leshner becomes the new preschool director replacing Valarie Hurwitz as she becomes executive director of BTBJ.
  • 2008 – Under the spiritual guidance and wisdom of our beloved Rabbi Saul Grife, Beth Tikvah B’nai Jeshurun, continues to prosper and thrive. Many new programs are inaugurated during this period including our innovative Shabbat Synergy Services, BTBJ University and Adult B’nai Mitzvah and Confirmation. In July 2008, our Extended Care program for children ages 12 months to Pre-K opens allowing working families to take full advantage of our preschool and camp programs. Our halls ring out with excitement, ruach and joy.
  • 2009 – Our synagogue embraces the motto "New Beginnings…Timeless Traditions". We are very proud of our roots, our beliefs and our heritage. At the same time, we look forward to our future with renewed vigor, strength and energy.