About Us

Board Members

  • Alan Zuchman, Board Member
  • Robin Gagliardi, Treasurer
  • Adam Jaffee, Vice-President
  • Zvi Szafran, Board Member
  • Noah Zuker, Board Member
  • Laini Kavaloski, Secretary
  • Sharon Williams, President

About Us

We are a vibrant egalitarian congregation welcoming people of all backgrounds and approaches to Judaism. We serve the religious, educational, cultural and social needs of the Potsdam-Canton community. Congregation Beth El emphasizes understanding and celebration of Jewish liturgy and song while striving to help congregants explore contemporary understanding of such Jewish values as tikkun olam (repairing the world) and tzedek (justice), g’milut hasadim (performing deeds of loving kindness), and shalom (peace or wholeness).

Location and Directions

View Larger Map

Gift Shop

Looking for a unique gift? Need something special for a wedding, bar/bat mitzvah, Hanukah or birthday? Shop for someone special in St. Lawrence County's only Judaica shop! We carry a wide assortment of Shabbat, Havdahlah, and Chanukah candles, kiddush cups, menorahs, mezzuzahs, books, jewelry, and Jewish themed games and toys! Shopping for a special tallit--contact us and we'll get it for you wholesale! The gift shop is open most Sundays from 10am-12pm. Contact 315-265-7025 or email:  info@potsdamsynagogue.org .

History of Congregation Beth El

Congregation Beth El was established in 1955 upon acquisition of its current building which had originally been a Grange Hall and later a Boys' Club. The founders of Congregation Beth El came to Potsdam as businessmen, professors, doctors and other professionals. Some of them were originally members of other nearby congregations (Massena's Adath Israel and Ogdensburg's Anshe Zophen), but as the Jewish population of Potsdam increased, Congregation Beth El was established. The building has been remodeled several times, including our most recent renovations in 1998/99. Many persons generously donated money, time and other resources to make this possible. That endeavor included two new kitchens, four classrooms for the Hebrew School, a new library, a new gift shop, and many other improvements.

Until about 1970, Congregation Beth El required a traditional, all male minyan. After that, women were counted and fully participated in services. Another goal of the Potsdam Jewish community was and still is to provide Jewish university students with a place to attend High Holy Day services, Shabbat and other services, and to build a social network with other Jewish students in the area.

The Beth El community shares the Jewish cemetery formerly belonging to Congregation Adath Israel in Massena. For more information about the cemetery, contact Louis Levine at llevine@melvinlaw.com.