Our History

A Century of Spiritual Leadership

Temple Emanuel of North Jersey was founded in 1906 by a group of Austro-Hungarian Jews who had immigrated to the United States in search of a better life. In 1907, the first temple was built on Van Houten Street in downtown Paterson. By the 1920’s, Paterson had become a major manufacturing center, with a burgeoning textile industry. Prosperous families began moving from downtown to the newly settled Eastside of Paterson. The congregation followed the demographic trend and moved to a home, on the corner of Broadway at East 33rd Street. Jacob Fabian, theater mogul and one time partner of Stanley Warner, the Hollywood film magnate, provided substantial financial backing for the endeavor. The magnificent art deco building, designed by Frederick W. Wentworth, was completed in 1929.

Temple Emanuel soon became the center of Conservative Judaism in the region. At its peak, over 2,000 congregants participated in High Holy Day services, with people spilling out onto the steps of the synagogue. In addition to members who assumed positions of leadership in local, national, and international agencies, dignitaries including several Israeli Prime Ministers frequently visited the Temple. Auxiliary organizations have been an integral part of Temple’s life. Temple Emanuel’s Men’s Club, Sisterhood, and Choral Society were formed more than 50 years ago and serve as the models for similar organization commonly seen in synagogues throughout the country today.

By the 1970’s, much of the manufacturing base, which had driven Paterson’s thriving economy had moved to other parts of the country or overseas. Paterson’s Jewish community began an exodus from the city to suburban neighborhoods, mirroring the population shifts seen in many industrial cities across the northeastern United States.

Toward the end of the 1980’s, Temple Emanuel merged with the Oakland Jewish Community Center. This merger began the movement to relocate Temple Emanuel to northwest Bergen County, and in 1995 the congregation voted to move. In 2008, Temple Emanuel entered into a contract to purchase an existing house of worship in the Franklin Lakes area.

Our synagogue makes its home at 558 High Mountain Road, Franklin Lakes, overlooking the beautiful Franklin Lakes Nature Preserve.