Five Rabbis Come Together to Mark 100th Anniversary
of Waltham Synagogue
Nearly 30 Years of Rabbis to Return for Two-day Event
Waltham, MA—On Friday, March 6 and Saturday, March 7, 2015, Temple Beth Israel (TBI) of Waltham, MA will host—as the highlight of its Centennial Year activities—three events featuring the five most-recent rabbis from the congregation’s 100-year history. Their combined tenures span nearly 30 years. Participating rabbis include:
· Rabbi David Finkelstein—current TBI rabbi, since August 2014
· Rabbi Tracy Nathan—served TBI 2010-2014
· Rabbi Jeffrey Foust—served TBI 1998-2010
· Rabbi Reuel Karpov—served TBI 1997-1998
· Rabbi Rim Meirowitz—served TBI 1986-1997
The weekend’s events include:
Friday, March 6, 6:00 pm
Festive Kabbalat Shabbat (Sabbath) service and dinner, welcoming the rabbis back to Temple Beth Israel.
Saturday, March 7, 9:00 am
Shabbat service and luncheon. The five rabbis, together with TBI’s cantors Ellen Band and Yossi Weintraub, will participate in the service. Following lunch, the rabbis will share memories of their time in Waltham.
Saturday, March 7, 7:00 pm
Havdallah and dessert reception. After Havdallah (the beautiful, brief service marking the end of Shabbat), we will enjoy a short rabbinic teaching, slide show, conversations, and informal music with TBI’s musicians, as well as delicious desserts.
100 Years of Change
The event was the brainchild of Mark Frydenberg, chair of TBI’s ritual committee. “I’m excited that all of our rabbis could join us to celebrate the spiritual and religious life of Temple Beth Israel,” said Frydenberg, “even with two traveling long distances—from Oklahoma and Missouri. It’s a testament to the powerful impact of TBI’s warm, tight-knit community. TBI has gone through a lot of changes over the years, but the strength of its community and commitment to celebrating Shabbat and holidays together have been constants.”
During the late 1800s, a large number of Jews made Waltham their home. There was no synagogue at that time, so they began by conducting services in their homes. In the early 1900s, when the group grew too large to meet comfortably in their homes, they bought a house on Harvard Street, gutting and renovating it as a traditional Orthodox shul. There was a balcony for the women and children and the men sat below.
After 50 years of growth and change the members of this community again remodeled. This time, the entire sanctuary was put on the main floor — permitting men and women to sit together — and several classrooms, along with a kitchen and activity room, were added downstairs. The congregation again modernized the building in the 1960s, and it is here that the current TBI continues to thrive.
Rabbi Rim Meirowitz, who served the congregation for more than a decade, reflected that “it has a unique rootedness in the place of Waltham: good people, working hard, caring deeply for each other, being productive and forming tight communal bonds.” He added, “The continued davening (prayer) at Waltham for 100 years is remarkable. Temple Beth Israel, like the town of Waltham, endures. Where once there were factories, there are now restaurants. Where once there was a religious school for children, there is a vibrant adult davening community planting gardens. I am forever grateful for my years there and to be back to celebrate the long sweep of history.”
To attend the events:
The public is welcome to any and all portions of the weekend. For more information, and to register and pay for the $18-per-person dinner, go to http://tbiwaltham.org/rabbis-of-waltham, call the TBI office at 781-894-5146, or mail a check to Temple Beth Israel, 25 Harvard Street in Waltham, MA. Other than the dinner, all of the events are free of charge.
All events will take place at Temple Beth Israel, 25 Harvard Street, Waltham, MA.
Members of the media are welcome; please note that photography and videography are not permitted during Shabbat, sundown Friday through sundown Saturday.
Temple Beth Israel is an egalitarian, traditional, friendly, unaffiliated synagogue that has served the Jewish community in the Waltham area for 100 years. Visit the TBI website at www.tbiwaltham.org .
Event Location: Temple Beth Israel
25 Harvard Street, Waltham, Massachusetts, 02453
Until Saturday, March 7, 2015 at 9:00 pm