Shalom Birmingham

Welcome to Birmingham

Shalom and welcome to Birmingham! The purpose of the book is to provide you information about the Birmingham Jewish community. These pages will provide you with information about local synagogues/temples, Jewish agencies, schools, and Jewish resources, but these pages cannot truly convey the spirit and personality of our community.

The Birmingham Jewish community welcomes all newcomers with kindness and sincerity. We are delighted that you are either considering Birmingham as your new home or have already chosen Birmingham as your new home. We look forward to your joining us. You will find that we are a very engaged and active community with an eighty percent (and rising) rate of Jewish affiliation.

We look forward to meeting with you in person or speaking with you on the phone so that we can personally welcome you and extend some of our Southern-Jewish hospitality. Please contact The Birmingham Jewish Federation so we can help you get involved in the community. We are always excited to introduce a new member to the community. We look forward to speaking with you in the future.


History of the Jewish Community

Birmingham is a vibrant and active Jewish community. The first three Jewish families, arriving in Birmingham in 1873, were attracted here by potential business opportunities in this burgeoning coal and iron ore center of the South. In 1881, a dozen families gathered for the first Rosh Hashanah services, which were held in a private home. The 1880"s saw a great influx of Jewish newcomers to Birmingham. In 1882, Temple Emanu-El was formally incorporated. With a membership of 100 families, the Reform congregation dedicated it first synagogue building in 1889.

An embryonic Orthodox congregation, Knesseth Israel erected its first synagogue in 1903 to serve the large numbers of Eastern European immigrants. The Jewish Community Center held its first annual meeting in 1907, taking up residence briefly in the Northside area, which had become the first Jewish neighborhood. A second Orthodox congregation, Temple Beth-El, was also chartered that year. This group became a part of the Conservative movement in 1944. Today"s Jewish community of approximately 5500 enjoys affiliation with virtually every national, social, and religious Jewish organization. Almost every Jewish Birmingham person is a member of one of the congregations, contributing significantly to the overall strong and positive quality of Jewish life in Birmingham.

In response to the growing threat of Hitler"s Germany in the 1930"s, Birmingham developed the United Jewish Fund to assist threatened communities in Europe and Russia. In 1970, The Birmingham Jewish Federation was born. Their mission evolved as they added Social Welfare and Community Relations committees to their existing fund-raising campaign. Subsequently, the Federation spawned the Birmingham Jewish Day School (later renamed the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School), The Birmingham Jewish Foundation and Jewish Family Services (later renamed the Collat Jewish Family Services.)

Today's Jewish community mirrors that of our entire society, but with a unique twist?Birmingham Jewry is proud of our involvement in our city while still maintaining a strong Jewish communal identity.

Volunteer Opportunities

Welcome to Birmingham? A World of Volunteer Opportunities

One of the best ways to feel at home and become a part of your new community is to become a volunteer! The Jewish community and greater Birmingham community offer a wealth of volunteer opportunities for all age groups. The following is a list of the Jewish organizations that use volunteers to enhance their programs. To find out more about each organization"s needs and opportunities, contact the organization directly. Information on how to contact each agency can be found with each organizational listing in this brochure.

Jewish Facts to Know


Kosher Foods

A selection of local grocery stores in the Mountain Brook/Cahaba Heights/Liberty Park area carrying kosher cheeses, poultry, and meats include Piggly Wiggly (Crestline and Liberty Park), Publix (Overton Rd.), Whole Foods, and Winn Dixie (Cahaba Heights).

Grillers Pride a glatt Kosher butcher delivers locally to Knesseth Israel every 6 weeks per private order

Levite Jewish Community Center - 205-879-0411

NE Miles Jewish Day School- Glatt Kosher Catering and Meals available with advance order - 205-879-1068


Temple Beth-El - 205-933-2740

Knesseth Israel Congregation - 205-969-5913

Beis Ariel Chabad Cultural Center - 205-970-0100

Daily Minyanim (services)

Temple Beth-El - 205-933-2740

Knesseth Israel Congregation - 205-969-5913


Reform - 205-933-8037

Conservative - 205-933-2740

Orthodox - 205-969-5913

Chabad, Lubavitch - 205-970-0100


Rabbi Shmuel Khoshkerman
404-636-0468 (home)
404-315-9020 (work)
770-839-2722 (pager)

Israel Bonds

Southeast Regional Office - 404-817-3500


Birmingham Jewish Federation Update - Subscribe at or call 205-879-0416

Southern Jewish Life Magazine - 205-870-7889 Free Subscription for members of the Jewish Community in AL, MS, LA, NW FL

Jewish Congregations

Temple Emanu-El (Reform)
2100 Highland Avenue
Birmingham, AL 35205
P: 205-933-8037 F: 205-933-8099

Temple Emanu-El, Birmingham's oldest synagogue, offers an exciting array of programs to meet the religious, educational, and social needs of our congregants. We are proud of our Religious school (K-10th grade Confirmation), Mother"s Day Out, Pre-school program (18 months-4 years), Hadassah"s "Training Wheels", Adult Education programs, Cultural Arts activities, Family Enrichment opportunities, Senior adult activities, Social Group, BIRTY (Birmingham Temple Youth Group), Sisterhood, Brotherhood, as well as, our interfaith activities. Temple Emanu-El is a thriving and dynamic congregation with countless opportunities for personal and spiritual growth. We honor and value the participation of all our members and extend a very warm welcome to Birmingham "newcomers"

Friday 5:45 PM; Saturday 10:30AM
(Saturday Morning Services Preceded by a 9:00 AM Torah Study)

Temple Beth-El (Conservative)
2179 Highland Avenue
Birmingham, AL 35205
P: 205-933-2740 F: 205-933-2747
Email -

An egalitarian congregation of approximately 700 families. Temple Beth-El offers a wide range of religious, educational, cultural and social activities. Shabbat, as well as, twice daily services is conducted both morning and evening. Religious school encompasses pre-K to Grade 7, Hebrew High School (Grades 8-12) and Kadima (Grades 6-8). Exciting educational opportunities are also available for Adults. Temple Beth-El hosts a very active USY(United Synagogue Youth), Temple Sisterhood, Men's Club and a Hazak age 55- over group.

Social Action Committee of the Birmingham Jewish Community (SAC)

Friday 5:45 PM; Saturday 9:30AM, 5:30 PM (4:30 in winter)
Weekdays 7:00 AM, 5:30 PM; Sunday 8:00 AM, 5:30 PM
Knesseth Israel Congregation (Orthodox)
3100 Overton Road
Birmingham, AL 35223>
P: 205-969-5913 F: 205-933-2747

Enjoying a long, proud history which has spanned over 100 years in Birmingham, Knesseth Israel has touched countless Jewish families and individuals with its firm commitment to G-D given Torah values and strong support for Israel, the Jewish homeland. Knesseth Israel offers: daily minyan, services for Shabbat and all Jewish holidays, two glatt kosher kitchens, candle lighting time magnets, and facilities for Jewish life cycle events (Brit, Bar and Bat Mitzvah, Weddings, etc.), youth education programs and services, scholar in residence programs, Israel Night, adult Jewish education programs, women only education programs, Mikvah use by appt. and frequent entertaining and uplifting family social events around Jewish holiday themes. We also have the most comprehensive selection of kosher wines in the South, exclusively for ritual observances all year round.

Challah and a limited number of kosher items are also available.

Sunday 8:00 AM: Mon-Friday 6:30 AM; Afternoon and Evening services daily
Shabbat morning service 9:00 AM
Seasonal adjustments are made for Shabbat and evening services, including Havdallah.

Or Hadash (Humanistic Judaism)
P.O. Box 131052
Birmingham, AL 35213
P: 205-595-0081 F: 205-591-7623

Humanistic Judaism places complete responsibility for human behavior on humans themselves with human conduct and spirituality based on the positive morality and ethics that evolve from Jewish history and culture worldwide. The congregation is small and stresses closeness, congeniality, and warmth. Its present programs include: monthly Shabbat/potluck celebrations, usually in private homes, with children"s celebrations included: monthly Havurah/discussion sessions for adults on topics of Jewish interest at the LJCC; weekly Junior Havurah/fun-learning sessions for young children with a teacher at the LJCC; a monthly Jewish history program for adults at the LJCC; weekly mitzvah classes for children preparing for Bar/Bat Mitzvah. The congregation celebrates Passover, the High Holidays and other Jewish events, often in private homes. Visitors are always welcomed. Or Hadash is part of a world-wide network of Humanistic Judaism and an affiliate of the Society of Humanistic Judaism and an affiliate of the Society of Humanistic Judaism.

Jewish Agencies

Birmingham Jewish Federation
3966 Montclair Road
Birmingham, AL 35213
P: 205-879-0416 F: 205-803-1526

The Birmingham Jewish Federation is the Jewish community"s central fundraising, leadership development, planning and community relations agency. The Federation, which embraces the entire Jewish community, is one of the most successful fund-raising Federations in the country per capita. The annual Federation-United Jewish Appeal Campaign supports Jewish needs in Birmingham, Israel and throughout the world. The Federation offers many diverse volunteer opportunities and programs, such as periodic Missions to Israel and other points of Jewish interest.

Shalom Birmingham is a Federation program offered on behalf of the Jewish Community to welcome Jewish newcomers and their families.

Birmingham Jewish Foundation
3966 Montclair Road
Birmingham, AL 35213
P: 205-879-0416 F: 205-803-1526

The Birmingham Jewish Foundation raises endowment funds which underwrite special projects and programs and help address unmet community needs. Donors make gifts to the Foundation which remains a permanent legacy. The Foundation administers the endowments for the Birmingham Jewish Federation, the Levite Jewish Community Center, the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School and Collat Jewish Family Services, Knesseth Israel Congregation and Temple B'nai Sholom, Huntsville, as well as special purpose and donor advised funds. An individualized plan can be devised to meet the donor's philanthropic desires and financial planning needs while also benefiting the community.

Collat Jewish Family Services
Professional Services
3940 Montclair Road Suite 205

Outreach Center
(Located inside the LJCC)
Birmingham, AL 35213
P: 205-879-3438 F: 205-891-5939

Collat Jewish Family Services is a family social service agency offering comprehensive social services to people of all ages. Services include: Information and referrals, individual, family and group counseling, senior Adult Services, Buz-a-Bus transportation for anyone over 60 or disabled assistance to those in need, English as a second language classes, and Jewish family life education. A variety of opportunities are available for volunteers of all ages.

Levite Jewish Community Center
3960 Montclair Road
Birmingham, AL 35213
P: 205-879-0411 F: 205-871-8197

The Mission of the Levite Jewish Community Center is to enhance Jewish identity by providing an environment for programs and activities that promote cultural enrichment, cultivate educational development and provide for the well being of its members. The Center is the common meeting ground for all members and their friends in Birmingham. An excellent mix of offerings include physical fitness amenities such as a gymnasium, indoor and outdoor pools and tennis and racquetball courts, fitness equipment, playgrounds, ball fields, tracks, etc. This compliments programs for all ages and interests, including NAEYC accredited Early Childhood Learning Center, camping, seniors, teens, art exhibits, Jewish cultural programs.

Early Childhood Education

Pre-school full day/half day (6 weeks-3 years)

Ilanot Program (Pre K, 4 years)


Pre-school (6 months-5 years)

Camp YOFI (6-12 years)

Specialty Camps

Sports Camp, Tennis Camp, CIT Program

B'nai B'rith Youth Organization (BBYO) Barry Dreayer, AZA, 205-969-8243 Scott Bloomston, AZA, 205-876-5782 Melissa Altmann, BBG, 205-972-9184

N.E. Miles Jewish Day School
4000 Montclair Road
Birmingham, AL 35213
P: 205-879-1068 F: 205-879-6183

Established in 1973, this community day school offers children (Grades K-8), the finest in private, secular and Jewish education. This unique program endeavors to integrate Judaic and general studies, incorporating the highest values of Judaism and American democratic values. It strives to create a family community of learners, who value lifelong study, respect human diversity, and are able to make informed choices about their lives. The school"s priority is to maintain a low student-teacher ratio and to develop every child"s individual talents and abilities.

Beis Ariel Chabad Jewish Center
3040 Overton Road
Birmingham, AL 35223
P: 205-970-0100 F: 205-970-0543

Chabad of Alabama strives to ensure Jewish continuity through increasing Jewish pride, knowledge, and commitment in a caring non-judgmental environment. We serve all Jews regardless of affiliation or background. Chabad upholds the right to every Jew to experience the treasures of our heritage and works to bridge a difference between Jews. Chabad provides a variety of educational, religious and social service programs. Our programs provide meaningful Jewish experiences and opportunities for children and adults to increase their observance of Mitzvot. We offer a preschool for 18 months thru 4 year olds, as well as, Camp Gan Israel for the children. Chabad of Alabama was founded by the Lubavitcher Rebbe and continues under his guidance with the goal of making our world a dwelling place for G-d, ultimately with coming of Moshiach.

Birmingham Holocaust Education Committee