Our History

The year was 1919 when a small group of Russian immigrants gathered to establish an orthodox congregation on Milwaukee’s North Side. Their efforts and determination resulted in the construction of the synagogue named Beth Hamedrosh Hagodol Anshe Sfard which was located on the corner of 11th and Lloyd Streets.

Building on Center Street, 1964

Thirty years later, 170 families moved to a newly-constructed building at 5015 West Center Street and joined with the United Synagogue B’nai Shalom. The result of the merger was a new Conservative congregation, Beth Hamedrosh Hagodol B’nai Shalom, which struggled for survival, facing the challenges presented by inadequate leadership, spiritual guidance and direction.

Rabbi Dr. Isaac Nathan Lerer was summoned to Milwaukee in 1964 and accepted the position of our spiritual leader. His unique organizational and motivational skills transformed the diverse factions into a unified congregational family. Temple Menorah, the new name given by Rabbi Isaac, marked the place in time when our synagogue took on new life.  The following years were marked by an ever increasing membership and several expansions to accommodate the very successful Hebrew School and Sunday School.

As a result of Rabbi Isaac’s tireless efforts, boundless energy and foresight, the congregation moved into their beautiful new home at our present location on 76th Street in June 1978. Today it stands proudly as a testimonial to the many who engaged in a labor of love to enhance our heredity and tradition.

Rabbi Gil-Ezer Lerer, who joined his father as spiritual leader of our congregation, leads our congregation as it faces the challenges of the Twenty-First Century.  He cherishes the profound contribution of the founding members and treasures the heritage they provided.  He treasures the seasoned members of the congregation who continue to give him guidance.

Rabbi Gil-Ezer looks with anticipation at the young people who join Temple Menorah to find a place for them and their families.