The Temple

History of the temple

Temple Gates of Prayer is a Jewish temple that was established in 1901 and has since become the longest running religious Jewish institution in Flushing.  Out of the serveral different branches of Judaism, the congregation of this temple is egalitarian conservative.  This means that the congregation is of a moderate sect and avoids the extremes of orthodox and reformed Judaism.  Men and women sit together in the Temple, the Bible has English, as well as Hebrew text, and women can hold important positions (such as the current president, Ms. Illy Brown does).  By doing so, the congregation maintains the traditional aspects of Judaism, while also making moderations to go with the changing times.  Such moderations include allowing people to drive to the temple on Shabbat, a day when those observing are not supposed to use many forms of technology.

Although the congregation of the Temple is small, it has been successful in staying open without having to worry about financial issues.  This is due to the success the Temple has had with selling some of its property.  In the past, as the Jewish community of Flushing became smaller and smaller, the membership of the Temple declined.  The Temple no longer used some of its property, and could afford to sell it and still continue running.  For example, the Temple used to run a Jewish school for children on its property, but was forced to close it down because of its low membership.  Since selling some of this property, the Temple has been able to live off the interest from this sale, and therefore keep from shutting down.  Therefore, although the Temple does not have many members, there is no need to ask members for an immense amount of dues.

Temple Gates of Prayer has definitely decreased in membership from the days when Flushing was a predominately Jewish neighborhood.  Despite this decrease in membership, the Temple continues to thrive and serve its Jewish community.  As we continue our exploration of the Temple, we will see just how the Temple has weathered change and managed to stay relevant in the lives of its congregation of about 200 member families.

Temple Gates of Prayer on Dipity.


Within and Beyond the Temple

The Temple Gates of Prayer consists of a warm, welcoming, and close-knit community of members.   The Temple is not only a part of its members’ histories, but the histories of the members are also, quite literally, a part of the Temple.  Upon walking into the Temple, one is likely to notice a collection of black and white photographs adorning the wall, partially covered by a thick, gray plastic material.  The black and white photos are all photos of the ancestors of the Temple’s members.  Dating back many decades, these photos are a display of the resilience of the Jewish community.  The plastic material covering the photos is meant to symbolize Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, or the night when over 1600 Jewish synagogues were destroyed.  Many of the people displayed in the photos were also victims of the events following Kristallnacht.

The Temple Gates of Prayer community does not only represent its own members, however.  Viewing additional photos, one can also see that the Temple reaches out to the Jewish and non-Jewish community beyond its walls.  Just a few months ago, the Temple raised over a hundred thousand dollars to purchase an ambulance van for the people of Israel.  Some members of the Temple traveled to Israel to personally donate the van.  Although this van will likely last only a few years, according to a member, it’s nevertheless a generous gift meant to help both the Jewish and non-Jewish people of Israel.  Although the Temple cannot donate an ambulance or other necessities to Israel every day, the members of the Temple make sure to remember Israel every week in their prayers.  During services, a special moment for prayer is especially laid out to pray for the people of Israel.


Comments are closed.