On the morning of May 16, 1964, a letter was received by many of the Jewish residents of the East Islip area urging them to attend a meeting at the American Legion Hall to discuss the formation of a new Temple that would fulfill the needs of the Jewish community.
Shortly thereafter, on August 11, 1964, B’nai Israel leased its first home, a store on West Main Street, in East Islip. In September 1965 B’nai Israel moved into the Knights of Columbus Hall in East Islip. This building was graciously offered by the Knights and served as our House of Worship and Religious School until June 5, 1970 when B’nai Israel’s building on Idle Hour Boulevard in Oakdale was dedicated at the Shavuot Service of Confirmation.
Rabbi Steven Moss conducted his first service for B’nai Israel at the High Holy Days in 1972. He became the Temple’s first ordained Rabbi in June, 1974. Continuing over the next few years, the congregation grew in membership from 23 families to over 300. Our services went from single to double Holy Day services, first in the Idle Hour Boulevard building and then at nearby Dowling College. Dowling College also helped us meet our students’ needs by furnishing us with much needed classrooms for our religious school classes on Saturday mornings.
In 1979, four acres of land on Oakdale-Bohemia Road were donated to B’nai Israel by Mr. Morton Pickman and groundbreaking ceremonies for our present Temple complex were held in August, 1983, and the Building Dedication Ceremony in June, 1984.
The B’nai Israel Reform Temple complex consists of a sanctuary, a social hall suitable for catered events, a separate Religious School building and library as well as rooms suitable for community functions, a permanent Sukkah, meditation garden and playground.