Congregation Beth Torah’s History
Congregation Beth Torah was constructed as a family home, a place to play and pray, a place to rejoice and rejuvenate, and a place to love and learn. Here is where we build for the future, a place where children yet to be conceived will romp; where young people will learn together and intertwine their lives; where the old will come for solace and the peace of knowing that we are an eternal people. We welcome you to our home. We extend the warmest of friendships and offer you a place to laugh, grow, and study.
On June 24, 1988, a couple dozen people held Erev Shabbat worship in the living room of Dr. David and Cheryl Harris’s home. Then on July 22, 1988, at the temporary Jewish Community Center, just over one hundred Jews prayed together at the first official worship of Kansas City’s newest synagogue – Congregation Beth Torah.
On September 6, 1988, the new congregation received its one hundredth member family; and the proposed first president Harold Sader, called a congregational meeting to pass bylaws and elect officers. On September 20, 1988, just under three months after our first congregational meeting, 600 Jews from across the KC metropolitan area participated together in our Kol Nidre worship. Carol Sader turned to Rabbi Mark Levin and said, “Poof, instant congregation!”
That summer was the beginning of the birth of Congregation Beth Torah. On November 15-17, 1996, eight exciting years later, Congregation Beth Torah, then with over 450 family members, dedicated our first permanent house of worship, a beautiful synagogue complete with magnificent sanctuary, classrooms, and office space.
Since the beginning, we have been led by outstanding presidents: Hal Sader, Cheryl Harris, Eileen Garry, Larry Bigus, Larry Lerner, Dr. Michael Blum, Barry Katz, Steve Gerson, Phyllis Goldberg, Doug Polsky, Janice Schonwetter, and currently, John Spector. As a past president, Dr. Michael Blum states, “Beth Torah’s synagogue represents a new beginning for our congregation.
As we reflect on our past success and accomplishments, let us renew our dedication to building a caring congregation – one that reaches out to its members and to the less fortunate in our community. Let this building be dedicated to being a house where our members come together to worship, to socialize and to educate our children.”
Now, with over 640 households as members, Beth Torah is growing beautifully!