Welcome to the home page of First Tabernacle Beth El, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Our tabernacle is commonly called “Zion,” a name given by our Re-establisher Prophet William S. Crowdy, which denotes the dwelling place of God—a city that the Lord loves. Today, the members of the Zion tabernacle are dedicated to publishing the name of the Lord, aiding suffering humanity, and being caretakers of a rich legacy left in our hands to protect and restore.
We are located along the Avenue of the Arts, where you will find a community filled with an arts-based culture, which includes many of the city’s arts institutions. Additionally, on Broad Street are the city’s largest theaters: the Kimmel Center (home of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Academy of Music, Meriam Theater, Suzanne Roberts Theater, and the Wilma Theater.
Prophet William S. Crowdy arrived in Philadelphia, PA in May 1899, after leaving the area of New York, NY and Newark, NJ. He began preaching the Word of God on the southeast corner at Broad and Rodman Streets. His voice was so electrifying that people were attracted and compelled to see who this bold and courageous man was, as he spoke about God in a very unique way.
He set up the first “Tabernacle” called O’Neil Hall, (1900-1901) located at the northeast corner of Broad and Lombard Streets. This place of worship was procured and obtained by a curious member, namely Calvin Skinner. Prophet William S. Crowdy’s call was so overwhelming that people came from near and far to hear him and to align themselves with his doctrine. The congregation began to quickly grow so that a larger place of worship was needed. Prophet William S. Crowdy was able to obtain Quaker City Hall (1901-1937) to hold services.
In 1937, services were held at 1626 Federal Street until August 13, 1954 when the congregation, under the pastorate of Rabbi Jehu A. Crowdy Sr., moved to our present edifice at 602-614 S. Broad Street.