Kehillat Bet Hamidrash Synagogue

About Us

Kehillat Bet Hamidrash, Kempsville Conservative Synagogue, the youngest Conservative congregation in the Tidewater area, is celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2018-2019. Created in 1978 as a merger between two earlier groups, Kehillat Yisrael and Bet Hamidrash, and named by a combination of their names, “KBH” has played a part in Kempsville Jewry since that time. Although throughout its history the synagogue has had the benefit of both part-time ordained rabbis and rabbinic students, the congregation has benefited since 1980 by the lay leadership of M. David Proser.

In the early days, the congregation moved from storefront, to churches, and on to the Beth Sholom Home. In 1983, the congregation negotiated and purchased a house and three acres fronting on Providence Road and turned the house into a “house of worship.” It was at this time that the synagogue began to welcome student and part-time rabbis – Rabbi Mark Cooper, Rabbi Howard Schub, Rabbi Jonathan Panitz, and Rabbi Sheldon Elster (obm.) In 1984, the synagogue acquired additional acreage, and in 1990, celebrated the first Shabbat service in the almost finished new building with the Bat Mitzvah of Michelle Proser. It was at this time that our good friend, staunch supporter, and High Holiday Rabbi Sam Sobel designated David Proser as our official chazzan. Chazzan Proser now officiates at weddings, funerals, and all other life cycle events, as well as leads weekly Shabbat and holiday services.

KBH added the name Kempsville Conservative Synagogue to further indicate its home and religious philosophy. As a member of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, we share not only the religious philosophy of our sister congregations, but we are able to participate in activities offered to us as a member congregation. We are proud to have hosted two Legacy Heritage Rabbinic Fellows through the Jewish Theological Seminary, one of the rabbinical schools of USCJ. Rabbi Ute Steyer and Rabbi Jason Rubenstein enriched us with their devotion to learning and teaching and helped us grow as individuals and a congregation. More than a decade ago, KBH formed a programming partnership with Norfolk congregation, Temple Israel, and share regularly scheduled social, educational, and religious events with them. Congregation Beth El, Temple Israel, and KBH work together to provide religious school instruction and youth programming through Bet Sefer Shalom, United Synagogue Youth, and Kadima.

The congregation may be small, but it is comprised of devoted and committed individuals. Join us for a Shabbat morning service and be sure to stay for Kiddush luncheon. Sometimes we have learning scheduled and sometime we just sit and schmooze. Join us for a holiday service and feel the camaraderie. Laugh at Simchat Torah and Purim. Spin the dreidel and watch us light the outdoor Chanukiyah. Bring your children to Young Family Shabbat dinner and mini-service. Come play at game night or another social event. Join us and become a part of our welcoming community!