Tradition by the Lake: A Historical Outline of North Suburban Synagogue Beth El by Morton M. Steinberg

In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, this history details the founding and growth of one of the leading Conservative congregations in the United States. From parlor meetings in Glencoe during and after World War II attended by less than two dozen traditionally-minded individuals, to a community of over 1,100 families, Beth El sparked the growth of an extended Jewish presence on Chicago’s North Shore. Mort Steinberg was a part of this history. From his days as a student in the synagogue’s first “Gan” in 1948, to serving as president of the congregation, he observed and interacted with the lay leaders and professionals whose vision and determination built the synagogue. In writing this book, he interviewed many individuals associated with the early days of Beth El, extensively researched the minutes of the synagogue’s Board of Directors and its archives, and gained valuable insights from its longest serving spiritual leader, Rabbi Vernon Kurtz, and his predecessor, Rabbi William Lebeau. The book relates the challenges, difficulties and conflicts encountered throughout the synagogue’s growth, but also describes its amazing accomplishments, achievements and successes throughout the years. Included are numerous photographs from its early days to the present. Tradition by the Lake tells the unfolding story of North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, a story in which all of its congregants and friends can take immense pride.

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