BROOKLINE — As the Torah arrived to the grounds of Kehillath Israel on Sunday, people burst into song and clapped to welcome members of Mishkan Tefila of Newton to their new spiritual home.

Over 60 members of the Kehillath Israel gathered to greet the congregation of Mishkan Tefila, the oldest conservative synagogue in New England.

“We are incredibly humbled, excited, and blessed to witness by the prospect of helping to witness their next chapter,” said Rabbi William Hamilton of Kehillath Israel.

“Congregation Mishkan Tefila has such as rich and important history, to American Jewish life, and Jewish life in New England,” he said.


The congregation’s move to Brookline comes after a decision to sell its building and 24 acres of land in Newton to Boston College. The congregations are not merging. Each will remain autonomous, according to a statement on Kehillath Israel’s website.

“It’s two historic congregations working together,” said David Starr, a member of the Kehillath Israel.“That’s very exciting.”

Much of the celebration was in the synagogue’s yard. As the members of Mishkan Tefila filed through the area, an accordion played and people danced. The Torahs were taken nearby Harvard Street, where the celebration continued with more song and dance and the playing of the Shofar.

Fran Pechenick, of Brook-line, who said she has been a member of Kehillath Israel for “a long, long time,” sang along.

“We’re looking forward to the new venture,” she said

Barbara Morse, 54, of Brookline, explained that two chuppahs — traditional Jewish marriage tents — from each congregation were there to symbolize a marriage of both temples.

The procession continued back to the synagogue near Coolidge Corner, where the Torahs of the Mishkan Tefila will now remain.

“It’s bittersweet,” said Laurie Gershkowitz, of the Mishkan Tefila congregation. She is glad that her youngest son had his bar mitzvah there before the move. “It was a last goodbye.”


“It’s an emotional time for us,” said Lisa Rubinstein, 55 of Newton. “The turnout today demonstrates how cohesive the community is.”

“They’ve been so welcoming,” said Lynda Gordon, 52, a third generation member of Mishkan Tefila. “Everything has been beautiful.”

Alexandra Koktsidis can be reached at alexandra.koktsidis@globe. com.