B’nai Torah History
Congregation B’nai Torah is a child born of two parents – The United Hebrew Congregation and the Central Hebrew Congregation, which merged in 1957. The United Hebrew Congregation, founded in 1903, was the largest and most influential of the many Orthodox synagogues on the south side of Indianapolis. It boasted the city’s first Talmud Torah as well as the city’s first Jewish Women’s group. The Central Hebrew Congregation was founded in 1923 by a group of Orthodox Jews who moved north. Its first location was on Central Avenue at 21st Street, and its first rabbi, engaged in 1942, was Rabbi Nandor Fruchter.
In the wake of the merger, the congregation, known briefly as the United Hebrew Congregation received both a new building and a new name. The new home was a three-building complex on 34th and Ruckle Streets; the new name, announced at the building’s dedication ceremony, was B’nai Torah. As the Jewish community moved farther and farther north, the congregation moved with it. In 1965, a tract of land on Hoover Road at 65th Street was donated to B’nai Torah by the estate of John Bauer. A building campaign was begun immediately, and in April 1967, more than 800 people attended dedication ceremonies of the newly constructed synagogue.
After its birth in 1957, B’nai Torah continues to reflect the diversity of its parent synagogues, the wisdom of its leaders and the devotion of its members. The largest Orthodox Congregation in the state of Indiana, it serves its members and the community with a modern Mikvah, a community Eruv, daily services, Shabbat children’s services, youth groups, educational and cultural programs, and a spirit of genuine warmth and camaraderie.
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Rabbi Yisrael Gettinger
A rabbi is far more than a person who leads religious services and officiates at life cycle events. He is teacher, counselor, authority on religious questions and issues, community leader and very knowledgeable in all aspects of the Torah. Rabbi Yisrael Gettinger fills all of those roles and more.
Rabbi Gettinger grew up in New York City, and comes from a long line of rabbis. Following in their tradition, Rabbi Gettinger received his Smicha from Rav Hutner z”l, the late Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Chaim Berlin. Rabbi Gettinger came to Indianapolis in 2008.
It is said that Rabbi Gettinger has a unique ability to explain to people what it really means to be an Orthodox Jew. His sermons and lectures are informative, entertaining and inspiring. Congregation B’nai Torah is very proud of our learned leader and Rabbi.
The Indianapolis Orthodox Board of Kashrus was founded in 1997 to provide Kosher certification and to support & promote educational programs as they relate to the laws & customs of Kashrus. The IOBK is under the Rav Hamachshir (Certifying Rabbi) of Rabbi Yisrael Gettinger.
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