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Founding of Temple Beth El, Portland 1947

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Over 100 people came together in the summer of 1947 to create a Conservative synagogue in Portland. The group included parents who wanted better Jewish education for their children, women advocating for family seating, and young people urging a greater emphasis on youth programming. They decided to hold High Holiday services that fall and sought a temporary home, naming the new congregation Beth El, House of God. In a borrowed hall, with a visiting rabbi, Temple Beth El became a reality on Rosh Hashanah, September 14, 1947. In 1948, they hired a permanent rabbi. High Holiday services in 1949 were held in the Woodfords Congregational Church, and the Hebrew School opened with an immediate enrollment of 57 children, doubling the following year. In 1949, groundbreaking ceremonies were held for a new temple building on land in the Woodfords section of Portland. Fundraising programs were developed, and membership increased to 206 by the end of 1949. 70 years later, Temple Beth El has become the major regional center of Conservative Judaism north of Boston. With the hiring of Rabbi Carolyn Braun in 1995, Temple Beth El became the largest Conservative synagogue in the nation to be led by a woman. #jewishmaine #jewishhistory #conservativejudaism #womenleaders #womenrabbis #community #theresababyinthecorner

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thanks to DMJ for the video


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