March 30, 2017  |  3 Nisan 5777
About us

History

 

 “You are cordially invited to attend a Charter convocation for the founding of a Liberal conservative Jewish Center for the Roslyn area…”

 

With these words of invitation to a meeting in June of 1951, the history of one of America’s great Conservative congregations began. Little did those 30 plus families who extended the invitation and the 40 or so families who met with them that day know of how their modest plans would become a juggernaut of intense activities on behalf of every aspect of Jewish life here in our community, in the nation at large, in our beloved State of Israel and throughout much of the world.


Inaugural religious services were held Friday, August 3rd, 1951. Fourteen acres on a lovely hill overlooking Roslyn Road were purchased in September and shortly thereafter, 500 people filled the Roslyn Theater to celebrate the first High Holiday services of the fledgling congregation. Every public building in town helped to house one or another of Beth Sholom’s activities. The Rolling Hills Country Day School, Odd Fellows Hall, Roslyn Country Club, Masonic Hall, American Legion and Roslyn Methodist Church all contributed to the growth of Beth Sholom, the Sunday school and Hebrew school. The first building arose on the 14 acres; followed two years later by the larger all-purpose addition that now houses the ballroom. January 10th, 1954, the auditorium/synagogue building was dedicated.


Seating policy was established that was unique for its time. No permanent reserved seats were sold to raise funds. The leadership felt that selling of seats would have the undesirable result of establishing a sense of first and second class members and the limited amount of money generated would be gone when, years later, much more money would be needed to finance expansion.


In 1957, 200 members of Temple Beth Sholom volunteered to solicit multi-year pledges under the guidance of a professional fundraiser. This successful campaign culminated in the formal groundbreaking for a new school wing, offices, garden/atrium and ultimately a Synagogue/Sanctuary, designed by the architectural luminary Percival Goodman. At ground breaking for the new construction, Col. Arthur Levitt, controller for the State of New York and, himself a former synagogue president, urged us to make sure that… "once this building is completed, please don’t allow it to stand idle, like a monument, but use it to its fullest measure". If ever a synagogue served as a beehive of activity, Beth Sholom certainly has over all of these years!

 

In the late 1950’s, the Sisterhood Braille Group had five ladies certified by the Library of Congress, an organ was donated and organist hired, and a Nursery School established.


On April 10, 1961, the Board of Education of United Synagogue accredited our Religious School. This marked the first time a school had attained this status after only 10 years in existence. The dedication of the new school building, sanctuary and youth lounge took place on April 16th. The Nursery School was accredited by New York State.


In the spring of 1963, the membership voted unanimously to adopt a new constitution. Things were beginning to change in 1963. The president of the United Synagogue of America, George Maislin, proposed a special commission of scholars to draft a modern interpretation of the Shulhan Aruch (Jewish Legal Code) more in keeping with the lives of Conservative Jews. By this time, the membership of Temple Beth Sholom had grown to 750 families. The Religious School educated 600 children and there were 91 B’nai/B’not Mitzvah during the year. Beth Sholom was in the forefront in organizing and housing the first North Shore Hebrew High School.


One of our Temple’s proudest achievements began to take form early in 1968 when a committee was appointed to establish the Judaica Museum. At the same time, our first Israel Affairs committee was formed.


The membership approved obtaining a mortgage which a bank granted us and we built the swimming pool and attendant facilities in 1970-71. The Solomon Schechter School outgrew its quarters in Westbury and was invited by the Board of Trustees to be housed in Temple Beth Sholom as a positive contribution to the future of American Judaism. Yitzhak Rabin spoke before the Solomon Schechter dinner in 1969.


In the Seventies, our congregation was beginning to be known for its activist membership. We began vigils at the Soviet compound in Glen Cove. Several of our members, while in the Soviet Union, were ejected from the Soviet Union for passing out Jewish literature.


In 1971, the Religious School was restructured to provide seven years of education in an upper and lower school instead of the previous five year program. Two prefab units complete with four classrooms, lavatories and fixtures were attached to the school wing for use by the school and day camp. Today, they comprise our Early Childhood wing.

 

In 1972 our first woman president was elected. During the following two years, under the guidance of Rabbi Joseph Sternstein, we became one of the first egalitarian congregations of the Conservative movement.


In 1974, Newman & Leventhal became the exclusive caterers of Temple Beth Sholom. As a result, the ballroom was refurbished and catering soon became a substantial source of much needed income.


In June, 1975, the radical idea of "fair share dues" was introduced, debated and finally voted upon and accepted. We rely upon the honesty and integrity of our membership to pay dues on a sliding scale based on their income, subject to a minimum level.
The Tikvah program, originally funded by the sisterhood, was established to ensure that learning disabled youngsters would also receive a Jewish education. Later expansion provided services for the physically challenged as well. In 1970 the membership approved obtaining a mortgage to cover the cost of building a swimming pool and attendant facilities to enhance our summer program.


The closing of the inflation ridden 1970’s saw the Debt Rescue Campaign. $750,000 was raised, affording the Temple’s leaders the fiscal flexibility to pay for capital improvements such as the fire sprinkler system and building repairs and deal with the mortgage obligation.
During the 1980’s the Temple experienced unprecedented growth in membership. From 1980 to today, membership has grown by about 350 families, making us one of the largest synagogues on Long Island. During the 80’s dozens upon dozens of young families, many born in Iran, joined Temple Beth Sholom. Nursery school, primary school and camp operated at full capacity.


Long range planning in 1983-84 resulted in plans for the expansion of the synagogue and building of a new wing including a chapel, auditorium, and additional office and storage spaces. Beth Sholom held its first parallel Holiday Services in September of 1986. On May 14, 1989 groundbreaking ceremonies for the new educational and religious complex were held. Fall 1989 and 1990, saw the construction of the new wing.
In 1988, shortly after the High Holidays, an electrical malfunction caused a fire in the sanctuary. Thanks to the sprinkler system and the local fire department, damage was limited. Services were briefly held in the ballroom as the Temple family pulled together to keep the synagogue running smoothly. That year, a learner’s minyan was instituted, designed to make people feel knowledgeable and comfortable in synagogue.


During 1990-1992, Newman & Leventhal redecorated the ballroom and lobby. Temple Beth Sholom marked its 40th anniversary with the theme of Dedication and Rededication… a two year celebration including concerts, Kallah, anniversary ball, commemorative journal and Siyum. Scribe Dr. Eric Ray completed a new Torah and we rededicated three other Torahs. The David and Shoshana Wingate Educational Center, including the Sandler Chapel and Rubenstein Auditorium was completed and dedicated.
Family services and a family N’eilah service was introduced from 1992-1994. Tot Shabbat for 3-5 year olds began. The Rabbi Ario S. & Tess Hyams Judaica Museum was rededicated and the Irving Rutenberg Gallery dedicated.    

              

The years 1994-1996 were years of change and welcome to new key personnel. Rabbi Sternstein retired after 25 years of service to Temple Beth Sholom. We welcomed Rabbi Alan B. Lucas as our spiritual leader. We also welcomed Rabbi Sidney Solomon as our new ritual director and Sandra Frank as Nursery School Director. Jerusalem 3000 celebrations continued year-long with lectures, dialogues, dedication of the Children’s Wall, Jerusalem Fair, Shabbat Dinner, Concert and visit by Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert.


1997-1998 Temple Beth Sholom received the UJA Continuity grant to establish a Kehila Kedosha (Sacred Community); a Family Life Educator, and Rabbinic intern were hired. Toddler and enrichment programs were established in the Nursery School. The Religious School emphasized family programming and new curriculum was instituted in the North Shore Hebrew High School.


1998-2000 Fund raising began for the revitalization of our Religious School classrooms. Machon Beth Sholom (Hebrew High School for post Bar Mitzvah students) was established. Newman & Leventhal renovated the museum area and lobby. The new Siddur Sim Shalom was introduced. The first TBS web site was developed and an automated dialer began usage. Temple Beth Sholom and Temple Sinai worked together on the first annual Mitzvah Day.
Summer of 2000 saw dedications of the Tree of Life and the Chapel tapestries. School renovations were completed. The new Etz Hayim chumashim were ordered for the Temple. Dec. 12th, 2000 The Temple Beth Sholom Foundation was incorporated to build an Endowment base for the synagogue. That winter, we hosted the AIPAC/CoJo conference.


September 11, 2001 saw our world change due to the terrorist attacks on the United States. Beginning September 12th, guards were hired to be at Temple Beth Sholom during times when members and guests were present. On November 17th, 2001 we celebrated the 50th Anniversary Jubilee Gala Dinner Dance and celebration.


Summer of 2002, the museum purchased a Shtender that was sponsored by many members of the Temple. Bernice Cohen retired from the position as Executive Director after almost 25 years.


We are proud that two of our own congregation members studied to become rabbi’s: Rabbi Ian Jacknis who also served as assistant rabbi of Beth Sholom, and Rabbi David Kalb.
As our history continues, these pages will reflect our story and evolution. Listed below are the lay leaders and clergy who have so ably served the membership of Temple Beth Sholom over the years.

 

 


 

 

Spiritual Leaders:

 

Rabbis:

 

Rabbi
Alan B. Lucas
1994 –

Rabbi
Joseph P. Sternstein, z"l
1969 – 1994

rabbi

Rabbi
Ario S. Hyams, z"l
1952 – 1969

Rabbi
Jacob Hochman, z"l
1951 – 1952

 

 

Assistant/Associate Rabbis:

 

Paul Kerbel Updated Color

Associate Rabbi
Paul Kerbel 
2015 - 

assistant-rabbi-jennifer-schlosberg

Assistant Rabbi
Jennifer Schlosberg 
2012 - 2015

Assistant Rabbi

Cecelia Beyer

2010-2012

Assistant/Associate 
Rabbi Jeni S. Friedman
2005 - 2010

 

Assistant/Associate

Rabbi Adam Feldman

1999 - 2005

Assistant Rabbi

Ian Jacknis

1988-1993

 

 

Ritual Directors:

 

 

Ritual Director
Rabbi Sidney Solomon
1995 – 2012

 

 

Hazzanim/Cantors:

 

Cantor Ofer
Barnoy
1999 –

Cantor Aaron Bensoussan
1989 - 1999

Cantor Seymour Schwartzman, z"l
1978 - 1988

Cantor Ralph Schlossberg
1971 - 1978

Cantor Morton Kula
1954 – 1971

 

 

Presidents:

richard levine marc-magid-pres

Richard Levine

2013 - 2015

Marc Magid

2011 - 2013

 

Louis Naviasky
2009 - 2011

Susan Zelman
2007 - 2009

Lawrence Glass
2005 - 2007

Steven Zeldis
2003 - 2005

Daniel Fisher
2002 - 2003

Rose Schecter
2000 - 2002

Martin Kay
1998 - 2000

Philip Adler
1996 - 1998

Howard J. Goldstein
1994 - 1996

James L. Schlesinger
1992 - 1994

Judith Goldberg
1990 - 1992

Stephen J. Lovell
1988 - 1990

William Spielman, z"l
1986 - 1988

Harold Kalb, z"l
1984 - 1986

Arthur Goldberg, z"l 
1983 - 1984

Stephen Seltzer
1981 - 1983

Paul Shipper, z"l
1980 - 1981

Theodore Geffner, z"l
1978 - 1980

Stuart L. Ain, z"l
1976 - 1978

Melvin Hoffman, z"l
1974 - 1976

Bernice Cohen
1972 - 1974

Leonard Kleigman
1970 - 1972

Irving S. Rutenberg, z"l
1968 - 1970

Sidney Rosenfeld, z"l
1967 - 1968

Harry Brochstein, z"l
1966 - 1967

Bernard Bloom, z"l
1965 - 1966

Sidney Kahan, z"l
1964 - 1965

Morris Fond, z"l
1963 - 1964

Leonard Nadel, z"l 
1962 - 1963

Louis B. Resnick, z"l
1961 - 1962

Benjamin Hauptman, z"l
1960 - 1961

Mac Rubin, z"l
1959 - 1960

Monte Levin
1958 - 1959

Milton A. Horowitz, z"l
1957 - 1958

Alfred J. Reiter, z"l
1956 - 1957

George N. Levine, z"l
1955 - 1956

William Grossman, z"l
1954 - 1955

Jules Mirel, z"l
1953 - 1954

Irwin Grossman, z"l 
1952 - 1953

Max W. Greenfield, z"l
1951 - 1952

 

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z"l zichron livracha (of blessed memory)