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Our Early History
Temple Beth El’s first home was in a room above Dowtin’s grocery store at 1412 ½ Morehead Street in Charlotte. Rabbi Philip Frankel served as the first Rabbi. Leo Gottheimer served as the Temple’s first president, and renowned author Harry Golden wrote its first constitution.
By 1946, the congregation had grown to 46 families. Ground was broken for a new building in June 1948, and the first service was held at 1727 Providence Road (now the Dore Academy) the following January. As the membership rolls continued to increase, the congregation added an education building and fellowship hall. Beth El traditions that survive to this day began to take hold: the Interfaith Thanksgiving Service and the annual Retreat at Wildacres in the Blue Ridge Mountains every Labor Day.
By the Temple’s 40th birthday in 1983, the congregation had 320 families. In 1987, Temple Beth El merged with Temple Beth Shalom, and a new era began.
"Once in a Lifetime” became the theme for a fundraising campaign to build a new Temple at Shalom Park. Five years later, the dream became reality as the Torah was placed in the magnificent marble ark of the new Temple Beth El in August of 1992.
Temple Beth El Today
Today, Temple Beth El is a flourishing congregation with many programs of education, social action and spirituality with a membership of over 1000 families. Temple Beth El is the largest reform congregation in the Carolinas and celebrated its 65th anniversary in 2008.
The Religious School serves approximately 500 students in K - 7. Those interested in continuing their Jewish education attend the Consolidated High School of Jewish Studies. The Charlotte Jewish Preschool, a cooperative program of Temple Beth El, Temple Israel and the Jewish Community Center, provides preschool programs for our youngest temple members. The Preschool offers full-day programs for one-year-olds through Pre-Kindergarten and morning programs for two-year-olds through Pre-Kindergarten.
Friday evening Shabbat services are attended regularly by hundreds of worshippers, and there are Temple activities going on almost every day of the week. Temple Beth El is affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism. We are a mainstream reform synagogue serving the greater Charlotte community, and we offer a wide range of programs and services.
We are a warm and welcoming community and are genuinely happy to have new people visit and join with us in worship. We are happy to arrange tours of our facility and will be glad to answer questions for all interested groups, both Jewish and non-Jewish. For many of our members who are away from parents or children, the Temple is their extended family through the fellowship of Shabbat services and participation in Temple programs.
Our Board meetings are open to all Temple members and we encourage our members to participate and share in the vision we have for the future. We are dedicated to Judaism as a living, dynamic faith and we attempt to serve and strengthen contemporary Jewish life in all its dimensions.
REDEDICATION WEEKEND, FEBRUARY 11-13, 2011
Friday Night Shabbat Service