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Our History

Temple Beth-El was conceived during a meeting in June 1931, where a congregation was planned which would “adhere to the fundamental principles of Judaism but still be alive to present day thoughts and progress.” High Holiday services were initially held at the Scottish Rite Temple; within a few months, permanent quarters were leased in Colombo Hall on West Broad Street.

These facilities were formally dedicated on Friday, November 13, 1931. In 1935, Beth-El was joined by its first Conservative Rabbi, Morris A. Frank. Cemetery grounds were purchased in 1936 and dedicated a year later. In 1938, membership had grown to 200 and the school was thriving.

To better accommodate the growing congregation, a small church and an adjoining lot at 3330 Grove Avenue was purchased. The building was dedicated in January 1939, attended by Governor James Price, Mayor J. Fulmer Bright and Congressman Dave Satterfield. The leap of faith in this move was rewarded by the doubling of membership in the following year.

Due to continued growth, ground was broken in 1940 on the adjacent lot for a larger facility. On June 1, 1942, the cornerstone of the new building was laid and in September of the same year, Beth-El held its first High Holiday services in the lower, unfinished auditorium of its own building. Due to the hardships of the war years, the new building was not completed until April 1949.

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Wed, June 12 2024 6 Sivan 5784