Our History

Our History

Temple Emanu-El’s story begins with a small group of families in 1954, who came together with a shared vision to establish a Reform Congregation on the North Shore. The cornerstone of our Temple building in Marblehead was laid in 1959. From the original 14 families, our Congregation has grown steadily and is now the spiritual home to well over 500 families.

Our first spiritual leader, Rabbi Martin Katzenstein (z”l) served the Congregation for five years until 1961. Rabbi Israel Harburg (z”l) came to the pulpit as interim rabbi until Rabbi Robert W. Shapiro (z”l) joined the Temple in 1962 and served his rabbinate for 30 years. In the summer of 1992, Rabbi David J. Meyer was called to the pulpit as the new Rabbi and continues his inspired spiritual leadership today.

Thousands of children have been named, consecrated, educated, become Bar and Bat Mitzvah, and confirmed at the Temple. Over the decades, we’ve celebrated our joyous occasions together, as well as marked the times of sadness.

At our core, we are committed to following the principles of Reform Judaism as we continue to evolve and change in response to the world around us. We look forward to all that the future holds for us, individually and collectively, as a Temple family.