Celebrating 130 years of Jewish life and learning!

Our History

KTI began in the homes of its members such as this one.

KTI's history is rich. The congregation began in the homes of its members. 

On September 19, 1887, the first day of Rosh Hashanah in the year 5648, a group of about 20 Jews joined together in a private home on Pemberwick Road in Greenwich, known then as East Port Chester, to worship as a community. This marked the spiritual roots of the Jewish congregation known as Congregation Kneses Tifereth Israel which today serves the greater Westchester, NY area - including Port Chester, Rye Brook, Rye, NY and Greenwich, CT. 

The original bimah of the synagogue, Much of it is now on display at the Jewish Museum.

We are a small and vital Conservative congregation that values its long history while adapting to the modern face of 21st-Century Judaism, inclusive of all families committed to Jewish life - single-parent families, interfaith families, and LGBT families. This rich heritage is felt while praying as a community in one of our country’s 20 most architecturally significant synagogues. In 1953, the renowned modernist architect Philip Johnson designed our synagogue creating the ceiling canopy supported by black steel columns to replicate the tents our ancestors worshiped in after the Jewish people left Egypt.

stained glass by Rob Dweck

The synagogue in pure white splendor is composed of pre-cast concrete panels that frame 286 narrow-slit Belgian stained glass windows. The walls and ceiling rise to a column-free height of 40 feet with the illumination from skylights running the span of the building over the canopy. A pleasing luminous balance is thus achieved which succeeds in providing relief from the aggressive purism of the architecture. The building has been the subject of an academic research project, which can be found by clicking here.

In 2006 the sanctuary was transformed by a noted design firm specializing in sanctuary design and furnishings. Their design maintains a respect for the architecture, keeping to the character and rituals of the congregation. The seating arrangement was reconfigured to bring the Bimah forward into the congregation, encouraging a more interactive and intimate space.

A congregant rehearses for her Bat Mitzvah in the more intimately designed space.  The seats were manufactured on a Kibbutz in Israel, and the stone surrounding the Ark also came from Israel.

the new bimah is more inviting and accessible. Here, a congregant practices for her bat mitzvah.

Bronze menorah designed by sculptor Ibram Lassaw

 

The bronze Menorah was designed by the noted sculptor Ibram Lassaw. Born in 1913, Mr. Lassaw was one of the first American artists to create an abstract sculpture as early as 1933. The old KTI Bimah, created by Mr. Lassaw, is now part of an exhibit at the Jewish Museum in New York City as an example of mid-20th-century sanctuary design.

KTI is one of 13 synagogues featured in a permanent exhibit at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. Several congregants were interviewed for this interactive exhibit about "Synagogue Life in the Suburbs" to share their experiences as members of KTI.

KTI's sanctuary was also the subject of an in-depth story in the New York TimesRead more. It has also been featured in numerous books on synagogue architecture as well as that of Philip Johnson.

 

For more information, please visit the museum's website at www.nmajh.org or call 215.923.3811.

KTI Together

KTI Together

At KTI, we work together to write our history.

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