Community Celebrates Centennial of Cutler-Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center

The Arizona Jewish Historical Society is planning three different events, starting in fall 2021, to commemorate the 100-year history of the Cutler-Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center, 122 E. Culver Street, immediately adjacent to Phoenix’s Margaret T. Hance Park. Recognized as a Phoenix Point of Pride, the historic building has been home to Congregation Beth Israel (CBI), which built it as the first synagogue in Phoenix in 1921; the First Chinese Baptist Church starting in 1951; Iglesia Bautista Central Church in 1981; and the Arizona Jewish Historical Society beginning in 2002.

  • Gallery Centennial Exhibit: “If These Walls Could Talk” — The Centennial exhibit will feature historic memorabilia, photos, narratives, garments and more, highlighting all four organizations that have called the building home. The exhibit opens Oct. 3, 2021 and runs through March 31, 2022. Hours are Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment. Recommended exhibit admission is $5, or attendees can make a voluntary donation of their choosing. Group discounts are available for organizations.
  • The Heritage Center has been home to countless gatherings, meetings, discussions, prayers, social, religious and community events over the past 100 years. From 1921 to 1949, the building was the home of Congregation Beth Israel, and served as a religious sanctuary, community center and gathering place for the local Jewish community. In 1951, it began new life as First Chinese Baptist Church, where it served as a religious and social hub for Phoenix’s growing Chinese-American community. From 1981-2002, it was the home of a Spanish-speaking congregation, Iglesia Bautista Central. The Arizona Jewish Historical Society purchased the building in 2002 and renamed it as the CutlerPlotkin Jewish Heritage Center. The Society restored the building in 2009 as a museum, cultural center and event venue open to people of all backgrounds.
  • Centennial Heritage Gala: Honoring long-time AZJHS community leader Lawrence M. Cutler. The Gala is on Saturday evening, Oct. 30, at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort, 7200 N. Scottsdale Road. Visit the Gala webpage for more information or to register online.
  • Centennial Festival: Noon to 4 pm Sunday, Nov. 7, at the CutlerPlotkin Jewish Heritage Center, 122 E Culver Street. The event is free and open to the community, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the building, the establishment of the first synagogue in Phoenix and the diverse community that has called the building home. The event will feature an artifact exhibit of the congregations and organizations that have resided in the building; musical entertainment by Congregation Beth Israel, First Chinese Baptist Church, Monte Vista Cross-Cultural Church, and the Rural Street Klezmer Band; special guest speakers; food trucks; entertainment and games for children and a photo booth.

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