The New Synagogue of Netanya (familiarly known as “McDonald Shul” or now as McDonald International Shul) was established in 1973 by a group of eight English-speaking olim to mirror the type of communities in their home countries.

Start with 12 men

On Shabbat Lech Lecha 5734/1973, twelve men attended the initial service in the former Galei Ruth Hotel.   The minyan grew, activities and assistance for the wider local community expanded, and a kehilla developed.  

In 1975 the Irgun Nashim was formed to enhance the social demands.

For the community’s younger Ivrit-speakers, a Dor Hemshech minyan was formed which still holds parallel services on Shabbat morning.

After temporary homes at Beit Wizo and Beit HaChayal on McDonald Street, the latter building and the adjoining plot of land were purchased, on which the current shul now stands.

Our shul is located in McDonald Street, which is named after the first US Ambassador to Israel, James Grover McDonald.

David Ben Gurion with James Grover McDonald

McDonald  Street

The building project was undertaken in 1982 under the direction of Dr Cyril Watson and Misha Zbar. The first services in the new shul were held on Rosh Hashanah 5746.

1983: Corner Stone Laying  coinciding with the 10th Anniversary Founding of the Congregation…

… in the presence of Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, then Chief Rabbi of Netanya.

Building in progress.

1985: January 24th:  cover of the Inauguration brochure

The new shul

This is the famous McDonald International Shul at 7 McDonald Street registered as New Synagogue of Netanya.

McDonald Shul  has 425 seats and is one of the largest Batei Knesset in Netanya.

The four stained glass windows bring plenty of light and colour to the inside of the synagogue.

There is a Beit Midrash on the ground floor for the weekly prayers, for shiurim and for Dor Hemshech on Shabbat.

On Shabbat, on Chagim and on special occasions the services takes place in the main synagogue on the first floor.

The women attending our services feel part of everything that happens within the synagogue because of the open view from the well-designed ladies’ gallery.

The Rabbis

The synagogue has had three Rabbis: Rabbi Emanuel Forman, Rabbi Yosef Wolicki and the present incumbent, Rabbi Raphael Katz.

Rabbi Emanuel and Maxine Forman, first Rabbi and co-founder of The New Synagogue.   

Three Rabbis connected to our synagogue met in 2013 at the 40th anniversary celebration of the founding of the Community.  Center: Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, former Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel and also of Netanya, Rabbi Emanuel Forman, first Rabbi (left) and Rabbi Raphael Katz, today’s Rabbi (right).

Rabbi Yosef and Marsha Wolicki, second Rabbi of The New Synagogue.

Rabbi Raphael and Ora Katz, today’s Rabbi of McDonald International Shul.