Forest Hills Jewish Center, Forest Hills, NY

  • Dates: 1938-1982
  • Size: 3 linear ft.
  • Number of Volumes: 33
  • Languages: English
  • Location: Special Collections Reading Room, Jewish Theological Seminary Library.
  • Restrictions: Reproduction of fragile items is not permitted; consult the archivist about literary rights.

YML, 7/14/92

Table of Contents:

A Note on Folder Headings

Individual folders are identified in the following way on the left side of each folder: Name of Collection, box #/folder#, as in Ben Zion Bokser Papers, 4/22. Please use this format in citations and when referring to files for any other reason.

Historical Note

The Forest Hills Jewish Center was founded in 1931 in Forest Hills, Queens, New York. Rabbi Ben Zion Bokser served as its rabbi from 1934 until his death in 1984. The synagogue was first located in rented rooms in a wooden building on Kessel Street; later on the congregation bought the Kessel Street building. As the Forest Hills community grew, the Jewish Center required a larger building. In 1947 there was a ground breaking ceremony for the new building on Queens Boulevard; in 1949 the synagogue moved into the new building. In the same year, the Forest Hills Jewish Center merged with the Midwood Jewish Center, another conservative synagogue.

The Forest Hills Jewish Center had a pre-school, a Hebrew High school, and an adult education program. In 1978 a parent education program was established. Summer programs were stressed for young adults as were programs of the United Synagogue of America Youth. In 1959, over 2,000 children participated in youth activities. The Hebrew School adopted the new Biblical Hebrew Program of the Melton Research Center of The Jewish Theological Seminary.

In 1981, when the synagogue celebrated its jubilee year, the building housed a sanctuary with a 1,500 seat capacity and a "little synagogue" of 1,000 seats. The building also contained a gift shop, library, offices, game rooms, swimming pool, gymnasium, meeting rooms, and meat and dairy kitchens.

Collection Description

This small group of records of the Forest Hills Jewish Center consists solely of publications bound into volumes, some of which are numbered. These include: bulletins, 1938-1939, bound in one volume; issues (bound) of the synagogue newsletter, The Message, 1944-1983; three yearbooks, 1949, 1957, and 1959; and a golden anniversary journal, 1981. Also included is a program for the dedication of the new synagogue building in September, 1949.

Box List

Volume No.(s)  Description 
 I. Forest Hills Jewish Center Bulletin, 1938-1939 
 II. The Message, 1944-1983
2 1944-1945
12 1956-1957
15 1959-1960
16 1960-1961
17 1961-1962
18 1962-1963
19 1963-1964
20 1964-1965
22 1966-1967 (three copies)
23 1967-1968
26 1970-1971
28 1972-1973
30 1974-1975
31 1975-1976
32 1976-1977
33 1977-1978 (two copies)
35 1979-1980
36 1980-1981
37 1981-1982
38 1982-1983
 Additional Copies of the Message:
19 1963-1964
23 1967-1968
24 1968-1969
25 1969-1970
26 1970-1971
27 1971-1972
28 1972-1973
29 1973-1974
30 1974-1975
Loose (in folder) January 24; May 30; October 16; April 17, 1969
 III. Yearbooks, 1949-1959
 1959 (two copies)
 IV. The Forest Hills Jewish Center Golden Anniversary Journal, 1981
 V. Program, Dedication of Forest Hills Jewish Center, 1949
Ratner Center
Vertical File