Co-Presidents Message


May, 2023 marks 75 years since a group of forward thinking, progressive people determined that Staten Island needed a Reform Congregation. Having attended Conservative and Orthodox synagogues on Staten Island they decided it was time for a change. They worked together and received their Certificate of Incorporation on January 18, 1949. Temple Israel had various homes, including the Gans Estate on Victory Boulevard in Sunnyside. When the building burned to the ground in 1959 we met in various locations, High Holy Day services were held at the chapel in Sailor’s Snug Harbor.

In 1963 we were thrilled when our current location was purchased. Percival Goodman, was hired as the architect for the permanent structure. In the Fall of 1964 the permanent home  that we know today opened. It was thought of as an incredibly modern and beautiful structure.

Cornelius Bregoff served as the first President of Temple Israel, followed by Presidents Morris Singer and Dr. David Machol. A total of 31 Presidents led our synagogue in the past . And now, the four of us can proudly say that we have represented the Temple during the year 2022-2023. We stand on the shoulders of men and women who wanted to educate their children, who wanted equality of worship, who recognized the value of T’kon Olam and who worked very hard over the years.


In the year 2017 the Dr. Ronald Avis Foundation was formed. This has made it possible for young families to join Temple Israel and to help to solidify the chance for Temple Israel to continue to flourish in the future.

We salute our Executive Board, Board of Trustees, Sisterhood, Brotherhood and our many terrific auxiliary Committees. Thank you to our wonderful Rabbi Michael Howald and dynamic Cantor Suzanne Bernstein, as well as our office manager Nilaja Troy. We also thank our custodial staff – Gerard Altieri, Justin LaPierre and Susan Cheek. We would not be celebrating our 75th anniversary without each and every one of YOU!

Let’s all raise a glass to celebrate this monumental occasion. As the 32nd- 35th Presidents we look forward to 75 more years of the Temple Israel Reform Congregation of Staten Island.

Mazel Tov to us all. !!


Bryn Biren, Linda Brill, Sandy Mazzucco and Felicia