Harry S. Truman was President, at the 500 Club in Atlantic City, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis took the stage at their first show as a comedy team, gasoline was 21 cents a gallon and Frank Sinatra, Kay Kaiser and Perry Como were at the top of the song charts of the day. The year was 1946.
The Jewish Community Center of Hamden was formed that year. Shortly after that, Temple Beth Sholom was founded as a Conservative synagogue serving Hamden and surrounding communities. 2021 marks the 75th anniversary of our Temple. Gladys and Phillip Bear, Rose Katz, Julie and Muriel Hyatt, Gert and Louis Kahn, Elane & Alex Weiss, Bernard Insler, Richard Gamm, Ann & Henry Mirel among others, are all names very important to our history. These are the people that had the foresight, desire and dream to form a religious community for us and our children here in Hamden. Temple Beth Sholom was built on the dreams of our founders, who envisioned a synagogue where they could create a Jewish community for their families and celebrate traditions consistent with the Conservative movement. This building – and the building before it – was built on the dreams of congregants who longed for a place to pray, study and have fun together. The Jewish community that we enjoy here at Temple Beth Sholom has grown and flourished on the dreams of our members, past and present, who longed for a place where they could enrich their Jewish lives and enhance their Jewish identity.
We here at Temple Beth Sholom continue to dream. We dream for the day we can all gather as a community in this building. We dream of the day we can dance around this sanctuary with our children grandchildren and great-grandchildren for Simchas Torah. But for now, we keep our dreams alive, remaining a community via Zoom. Rain or shine, we have maintained higher than average participation at minyans via Zoom due to Rabbi Scolnic’s devotion to preserving the integrity of our congregation. Our Shabbos services remain structured and meaningful. And, as you know, we added a monthly Havdalah service. Our Sisterhood and Men’s Club, as well as Adult Education, has adapted well to our new circumstance and continue with wonderful programming and activities. Our Hebrew School has a long history of quality education and programming. Our Gesher program for post Bar/Bat Mitzvah pupils had their first graduating class this past year. Our new program, TBS Connect Project, which attempts to make sure no member is alone, keeps in touch with weekly phone calls for support and gives support to the mourner who has lost a love one. We also welcome the stranger by having begun to take steps to reach out to interfaith couples and families to make sure that they know there is a place for them within our community. Classes for beginners of Judaism will be offered. We also now have a grandparent/grandchild membership. We continue to be an inclusive egalitarian community.
Unfortunately, dreams are not enough. In the end, fulfillment of our dreams could not happen without your financial support. Due to the extreme circumstances we are in with Covid-19 and its uncertainty, there is a greater need for asking for even more financial support this year. As you probably know, your annual dues do not cover all of our expenses. So, we count on you for your pledges to subsidize some of the programs just mentioned and other basic expenses. Think about what makes Temple Beth Sholom a special place for you and have dreams like our founders.
The synagogue that our founders envisioned has endured for almost 75 years and will continue to endure through the dreams of all of us here today, G-d willing, for another 75 years.