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Congregation Brothers of Israel

L'dor Vador—From Generation to Generation since 1883
לדור ודור

Did you know . . . 

That CBOI, now a Conservative congregation, was originally an Orthodox shul? 

That our current home at 530 Washington Crossing Road is our 7th building in the long history of Brothers of Israel, founded in 1883? 

That members of CBOI helped to found the Free Loan Society, the Home for Wayfarers, Dr. Herzl Zion Hebrew Academy, a kosher slaughter house and a mikvah? 

That Rabbi Emeritus Howard Hersch was the spiritual leader of our congregation for an amazing 48 years? 

Chartered June 2, 1883 CBOI met the needs of Orthodox Jewish immigrants from Russia, Austria-Hungary and Poland who settled in Trenton, New Jersey, and who felt uncomfortable in the existing Reform synagogues established by German Jews who had emigrated earlier in the century.  CBOI began as an Orthodox synagogue, known as Hachaiano Benai Israelites of Trenton. 

Services were held in private homes initially. The first building the congregation purchased cost just $3000 in 1887.  The young congregation flourished and outgrew the building; with 115 members and $275 in the treasury the old building was demolished and plans drawn for a new one.  On July 26, 1900, 550 people looked on as the cornerstone of the new synagogue was laid.   

The new synagogue was formally opened for High Holiday services on September 23, 1900—without windows or seats! 

In 1953, the Union Street building was sold, and in 1955 groundbreaking was held for our next new home at 491-509 Greenwood Avenue, Trenton.  With the completion of the new synagogue,  the congregation also transitioned from Orthodox to Conservative Judaism. 


In 1960, Rabbi Howard Hersch became spiritual leader of the congregation.  He served for 48 years, becoming our Rabbi Emeritus in 2009—a position that keeps him still tightly connected to the kehillah (community) where he is greatly honored and respected.  He saw a generation of youngsters grow from infancy to adulthood and have their own children. CBOI became an innovator in adult and youth Jewish education and led the way in the community, introducing youth programs and making them an important part of synagogue life.                                                                                                                                                                      Brothers of Israel was also a leader in social action projects in Trenton, from senior housing to kosher meals and joint programs wit Jewish Family Service.  The Brothers of Israel Trent Center apartment complexes were dedicated in 1963. These two buildings not only provided low rental housing for more than 500 older and disabled residents, their lobbies were just the place to go if you needed a couple more people for a minyan! 

When the Greenwood Avenue synagogue building became inadequate, a renovation took place in 1973 to create the spacious facility that housed the congregation until its move to Newtown, Bucks County in 2007.   Brothers of Israel was the last synagogue to leave Trenton for the suburbs.  With virtually no new Jewish families moving into the city, the congregation needed to move with its members, and most were in Bucks County.   

On August 1, 2014, CBOI warmly welcomed Rabbi Aaron Gaber.  Under his leadership we continue to foster and grow an open community of people seeking to share a rich and varied understanding of Judaism and Jewish life.  In his free time, he enjoys backpacking, golfing and spending time with his family.  Rabbi Aaron Gaber is married to Sharon Bromberg, and they are blessed with 4 children:  Benjamin, Yonah, Aliza and Reena.  The Bromberg-Gaber family looks forward to welcoming you to our kehillah (community) and getting to know you.  You can reach Rabbi Gaber at or by telephone at 215-579-2200. 

Sun, July 14 2024 8 Tammuz 5784