B'nai Zion Synagogue is a conservative congregation founded in 1900 and affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and the Jewish Theological Seminary.
At first, the congregation met in temporary quarters. In 1910, the sixty-five members purchased land at 902 N. Elk Street and completed construction of a building in 1912. The membership grew, partly from consolidation with a sister congregation, Achim Neemonim. As activities, programming, and membership increased, the need for a new synagogue became apparent. In April 1926, ground was broken at 1416 N. Mesa, which was to be the synagogue's home for 57 years.
The membership grew and the scope, activities, and programs of the congregation were expanded. These factors, together with demographic changes in the synagogue, necessitated the need for a new edifice. The present magnificent synagogue was completed in 1983, with formal dedication in October of the same year.
B'nai Zion Synagogue is set in the foothills of the Franklin Mountains, which also serve as its backdrop. It boasts a sanctuary seating over 500, opening up to a large social hall with a stage. When opened, the two rooms can seat 1500. There are two Kosher kitchens, one for meat and one for dairy. A chapel with seating in the round is a more intimate place for daily minyans. The remaining areas include classrooms and offices for Talmud Torah, the El Paso Jewish Academy, a memorabilia area (our link with the past), youth room, gift shop, and administrative offices.
Adjacent to the B'nai Zion building are two unique gardens. The Cantor David J. Leon Biblical Garden is designed to be a living map of the State of Israel, traveling from the Sea of Galilee in the north to Eilat in the south. The Jordan River provides a sound of Shalom and tranquility as it flows from Galilee to the Dead Sea. The walled city of Jerusalem and its Western Wall are highlights of the garden, along with the model structure of Masada. Tours of the Garden are a regular feature for members and community visitors. Across the way from the biblical garden is the Doris Eisenberg Garden of the Living. Designed in a desert format, the garden includes various species of trees and plants and a gazebo for relaxation and contemplation. Synagogue members plant trees to honor individuals and events on the occurrence of simchas or other happy occasions.
Throughout its history and continuing into the present, Congregation B'nai Zion has strived to fulfill the traditional threefold function for its membership – that of worship, education, and fellowship.