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The story of k.k. bene israel

Experience the nearly two century long story of K.K. Bene Israel / Rockdale Temple, presented in a celebratory video created for our congregation's 190th anniversary in 2014.


K.K. Bene Israel / Rockdale temple

Rockdale Temple was founded as K.K. Bene Israel by a small group of Jews who had settled in Cincinnati, then a frontier town.  Their first meeting took place in 1824. These leaders recognized the need for a synagogue and efforts were made to raise funds for a building. In 1836 our first home at Sixth and Broadway was consecrated. In 1852 another synagogue was built on the same site. As the Jewish community grew and moved to other parts of the city, the congregation also moved, first to Eighth and Mound Streets, then to Rockdale and Harvey Avenues and, in 1969, to the present location on Ridge Road in Amberley Village.

For thirty-one years, readers or cantors conducted services. In 1855, Dr. Max Lilienthal was elected as our first permanent rabbi. Under Dr. Lilienthal’s leadership many reforms were introduced into the previously orthodox service and the congregation was actively involved in the beginnings of the Reform movement. Since that time there have been ten rabbis with Rabbi Meredith Kahan currently serving as Senior Rabbi. Throughout the long history of the congregation, distinguished rabbis have relied on remarkably able and committed lay leadership. Rabbis and members have participated actively in communal activities in the Jewish and general community. K.K. Bene Israel/Rockdale Temple is proud to celebrate 200 Years of Living Jewish Values and looks forward to celebrating this Bicentennial Year in 5784.

Celebrating the Bicentennial at High Holy Days

Rockdale's Senior Rabbi, Meredith Kahan, reflected "On 200 Years" on the eve of Rockdale's Bicentennial Year.

Rosh HasShanah sermon by
Rabbi Gary P. Zola Ph.D.
in celebration of our Bicentennial.

Rabbi Richard S. Sarason, Ph.D., presented excerpts of the High Holy Day liturgies of K.K. Bene Israel, dating back to the Mound Street Temple era. A supplemental guide is available HERE.

K.K. Bene Israel Founder Joseph Jonas Sermon by Rabbi Gary zola, pH.D.

On Friday, September 9, 2022, Rabbi Gary Zola, Ph.D. spoke at Shabbat Services about Joseph Jonas, the founder of K.K. Bene Israel and our first president. 

Interview with Philip T. Cohen, z"l

On Friday, July 14, 2017, we premiered the following interview with Phil Cohen, z"l, Rockdale Temple's President 1965-1967. Enjoy as Phil recalls the years he spent serving Rockdale, and the many transformations that have taken place within the congregation since he first became an active member in 1948. 

Fri, June 14 2024 8 Sivan 5784