He was the executive director of the Committee of Army and Navy Religious Activities of the National Jewish Welfare Board from December 1942 through February 1946. He was president of Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), the chief organization of Reform Judaism in America from July 1950 to June 1952.


His Legacy Continues

The Society sponsors Spring and Fall speaker programs and a clergy institute.

Bernstein believed the proper role for American Jews was to provide Israel with moral, political, and financial support and to be an advocate for Israel’s interests with the American Government. He was the Chairman of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), founded in 1954.

Upcoming Fall Shabbat

We are planning our upcoming event for October 19th or 26th 2018.  We are excited to bring you another speaker and will update the information as it becomes finalized.

Past events:

 Friday evening October 13, 2017 we had the eighth annual Shabbat service sponsored by the Rabbi Philip S. Bernstein Society.  The Society presented guest speaker David S. Liebschutz, continuing our tradition of inviting speakers who have been part of our TBK family.  David’s topic was The Value of Jewish Leadership in Uncertain Times. 

David is Professor of Public Service at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Administration, University of Albany (SUNY) a position he has filled since 2000.  He has also been Adjunct Faculty in the Management Department, School of Business at Siena College since 2011.  David is principal of DS Leadership, LLC and is a Board Certified Life & Leadership Coach.  He is very active in Jewish life in the Albany community, serving as President of B’nai Shalom Reform Congregation from 1996-2000 and as Executive Director of the University at Albany Hillel.  He was excited to be our guest speaker at Bernstein Shabbat as he was returning to his home congregation.

Monday April 3, 2017 we had speaker Rachel Gordon from Brandeis.  She was invited by Aaron Hughes of University of Rochester and we are co-sponsoring the event at Temple B’rith Kodesh and followed by a reception. The topic was on Rabbi Bernstein; Explaining Judaism to America.  Rachel is a Boston native who attended Yale majoring in American Studies, and then received a doctorate in American religious history from Harvard. At the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, she was a Helen Gartner Hammer Scholar-in-Residence. She teaches in American Studies and Jewish Studies at Brandeis University and Boston University. Her research and writing focuses on Jews, religion, and American culture.

Social Action
From 1936 to 1940 Bernstein was Chair of the Rochester City Planning and Housing Council. From that position he argued for integrated neighborhoods and the construction of affordable, integrated residences for low-income families. He was also an advocate of women’s emancipation and African American rights in the 1930s and 1940s.
Tempro, a social action program providing shelter for homeless families, started under his rabbinic tenure in the 1970s.

Rabbi Peter W. Stein, Senior Rabbi at Temple B’rith Kodesh, Shabbat Chayei Sarah: How Traditions are Passed from Generation to Generation, Nov. 11, 2014

Professor Aaron Hughes, Philip S. Bernstein Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Rochester, Jewish Studies: At the Time of Rabbi Bernstein and Now, Nov. 15, 2013

Throughout his life he was an active leader in advancing good will and brotherhood in both the Jewish and the larger communities.
In 1934, Bernstein helped establish the Interfaith Good-Will Committee between the Jewish, Protestant and Catholic communities of Rochester.
In 1942, he conducted the first pulpit exchange with Mt. Olivet Baptist Church of Rochester. This exchange continues to this day.
   Professor Harold Wechsler, Professor of Jewish Education and History at NYU Steinhardt, Jewish Access to American Higher Education in the 20th Century April 11, 2013