Sign In Forgot Password

 

Our History

 

Our Temple Speaks "I want you to know something about me. With the cooperation and devotion of many, I (Temple Beth Am) became the ultimate solution as a beautiful House of Worship. I am functionally designed to adequately serve the many requirements of a suburban community. I would like to extend my warmest personal thanks to all of the men and women who worked tirelessly building me to become one of Long Island’s finest houses of worship." The Reform Jewish Congregation of Merrick and Bellmore, “Temple Beth Am.”

Originally named the Reform Jewish Congregation of Merrick, its birth was planned to be more than a Temple. It was constructed not only to serve religious functions but also to accommodate educational and social activities.

Functional and multi-purpose ... these were two of the basic concepts the planners of our Temple strived for and we are proud that they remain today. These ideas were certainly kept in mind when our Temple was on the drawing board, and the results are now apparent.

On December 1, 1950, our Congregation held its first Friday evening service at the Empire Fire Hall. At that time, Rock Haven Nursery School served as educational quarters. The first Seder took place on April 22, 1951, at a congregant's home. Camp Avenue Fire Hall housed our first High Holy Day Services.

The year 1952 found us using Oakwood Hall as the “operations base” for most of our spiritual and educational activities. A variety of schools, halls and restaurants were used for other meetings and social events. In 1953, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services took place at the Community Presbyterian Church. Our children attended religious school at the Cerebral Palsy Center in Roosevelt and Oakwood Hall continued to be used for most of our other activities. For the better part of 1954 we continued our nomadic trek from school to hall to fire hall. In the twilight of that year, we achieved the ultimate – on December 17, 1954, our wandering over, we worshipped in our own Temple. A house for worship, a house for learning and a house for meeting for ourselves and for our children.

In 1974, our synagogue was expanded and named Temple Beth Am – The Reform Jewish Congregation of Merrick.

In 2011, Shaarei Shalom of Bellmore merged with Temple Beth Am and as a united congregation, we are now Temple Beth Am – The Reform Jewish Congregation of Merrick and Bellmore.

Our Torahs

 

Temple Beth Am is honored to be the custodian of 2 Holocaust Torahs. 

During World War II in the parts of Europe that were occupied by Nazi forces most Jews who could not escape were rounded up and transported to death camps. The religious objects they left behind included ceremonial objects and Torah scrolls.  While in most places these artifacts were pilfered or destroyed, in Czechoslovakia the Nazis collected them in Prague and shipped them to a warehouse.   At the end of World War II a total of 1,546 Torah scrolls from Czechoslovakia were stored there. When the Communists took control of Czechoslovakia shortly after the war ended the scrolls became the possessions of the new government.  The Torah scrolls were retained, although not carefully preserved.

The Czech government periodically attempted to profit from the scrolls by selling them.  The Czech government was unsuccessful at this until 1963, when the scrolls were purchased by Ralph Yablon, a wealthy Jewish philanthropist from London.  The scrolls were entrusted to the Westminster Synagogue in London, where they are owned by the Czech Memorial Scrolls Trust.  The Trust catalogs the scrolls and restores and preserves them as much as possible.  The Trust gives the scrolls on permanent loan to various synagogues and organizations to use and display in order to carry on the memories of the Jewish communities that were lost in the Holocaust.

MST #43 is from Kojetin.  The former synagogue in Kojetín is one of the oldest synagogues in Moravia. The building currently serves as a prayer house for the Czechoslovak Hussite Church. There is also a Jewish cemetery, first documented after 1550.  Our Torah was written in 1864 and is used on a regular basis.  It is read by every Bar & Bat Mitzvah on their special day.

MST #821 is from Kolodeje.  The earliest known Jewish community was 1681-1684.  The synagogue was built between 1695 and 1697.  It was pulled down in 1948.  This Torah was written in the mid-19th Century and is the center Torah in our Ark.  It is taken out on Simchat Torah and Kol Nidre.

To learn more about the Memorial Scrolls Trust click on the link: Memorial Scrolls Trust
To learn more about Kojetin click on the link: www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/kojetin
To learn more about Kolodeje click on the link: www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/kolodeje-nad-luzici

 

Fri, January 27 2023 5 Shevat 5783