B’nai Tikvoh-Sholom, known as BTS, is a young synagogue but it has its roots in two venerable congregations: Congregation B’nai Sholom of Newington and Congregation Tikvoh Chadoshoh of Bloomfield, each with its own proud history. In 2011, the merger of these two Conservative synagogues was celebrated with a public procession of Torah scrolls and a gala wedding, complete with chuppah and ketubah.
Congregation Tikvoh Chadoshoh was started by families who fled persecution in Nazi Germany. On November 8, 1942, a group of 18 men met in the vestry of the Bedford Street Synagogue in Hartford to found the new shul. A Board of Directors (vorstand) was elected to guide and manage the organization. The purposes of the congregation were originally declared to be to conduct services as often as possible, especially Friday evening; to take care of the dead; and to teach the children.
Rabbi Hans Bodenheimer, himself a survivor, became the founding spiritual leader of Tikvoh Chadoshoh. The growing congregation continued to meet in the vestry of the Bedford Street Synagogue for both Sabbath and holiday services until 1957, when they moved into a permanent synagogue building on Cornwall Street. In 1969, the congregation relocated to a beautiful new building in Bloomfield on the West Hartford line.
Congregation B’nai Sholom was founded in 1955 by a handful of families who'd recently moved to Newington and West Hartford who wanted to observe the High Holidays in their new community. They began meeting in a rented hall with a student rabbi and, less than a year later, purchased a building on Francis Avenue in Newington. In 1971, the congregation dedicated their new building on Church Street, also in Newington.