Who We Are
Flatbush Jewish Center is a Conservative synagogue offering programming and services for families, adults, and children. We serve the Windsor Terrace and Kensington, Brooklyn communities and offer traditional egalitarian services.
We’re a fun bunch, and we’d love to have you join our community!
History of FJC
The Congregation was organized in 1921 by a handful of Jews residing in the southwestern section of Kensington and incorporated under the name “Jewish Centre and Congregation of Kensington.” When the edifice on the corner of Church Avenue and East 5th Street was completed in 1924, the name was changed to the “Jewish Centre of West Flatbush.” On May of 1926, the Jewish Centre of West Flatbush was officially granted permission to change its name to the “Flatbush Jewish Centre.” The change of name was the direct result of the enlarged activities of the center and its adaptability to the needs of the greater community of Flatbush. As stated in the Centre News of May 30, 1926: “With the change of name to the ‘Flatbush Jewish Center,’ we thereby signify our willingness to open the doors of our institution to everything worth while, even outside of the immediate locality.”
Indeed, the Flatbush Jewish Center did open its doors to the public. There was a drama organization called the Boro Players, as well as an active Young Folk’s League, Ladies’ Auxiliary, and Men’s Organizations. The Hebrew School had grown and its first graduation was held in 1927. By the end of the first decade, girls were encouraged to participate in the Hebrew School, which met five days a week at the conclusion of the public school day. A mother’s club was formed that met at various homes and invited speakers who had knowledge about the raising of children.
As for the Sanctuary itself, the stained glass windows were installed and the ark completed; the Menorahs also were installed. At the end of 1929, the first major renovation took place and a “Social Hall” was built, along with a bridal room. The Flatbush Jewish Center became known as the place to have an affair.
As the years went by and the congregation grew, an edifice was constructed on Ocean Parkway to house a new catering hall and cocktail room, additional classrooms, and a modern gymnasium. Rabbi Abraham M. Heller, the founding Rabbi of the congregation, had a vision for an education center that would house a Conservative elementary day school and high school. Eventually, a modern school building was erected on Church Avenue and the day schools, which were part of the Solomon Schechter Movement, were consolidated under one roof.
In the 1960’s, the changing demography forced the closing of Ahavath Achim, on Woodruff Road near Ocean Avenue, as well Shaare Torah Jewish Center. The merger of these congregations with the Flatbush Jewish Center resulted in the name being changed to the Flatbush and Shaare Torah Jewish Center.
Once again, the changing demography of Kensington forced the congregation to take a hard look at itself. In 2002, after the closing of its own day schools several years before, the congregation decided to sell the school building and the social building to Yeshivat Shaare Torah and retain the original Synagogue building on East 5th Street.
After undergoing an extensive renovation, the Flatbush and Shaare Torah Jewish Center is once again looking forward to a revitalized new beginning. The entire building is handicap accessible; the Sanctuary is even more beautiful with new wall coverings, window boxes for stained glass inscriptions, new carpeting, and a new sound system; and the Beit Midrash was renovated and an ark constructed of olive wood from Israel was installed. Additionally, the social hall (Hanid Room) was redecorated and a modern kosher warming kitchen was installed.
On January 11, 2004, the newly renovated facilities of the Flatbush and Shaare Torah Jewish Center, a Conservative traditional Synagogue, were re-dedicated. September 16, 2004 marked not only the beginning of the Jewish year 5765, but also the first Rosh Hashanah in our renovated Synagogue located at 327 East 5th Street at the corner of Church Avenue, serving the neighborhoods of Kensington and Windsor Terrace.