On January 9, 1905, a meeting was called by Simon Greenebaum, Sam Adler, and Samuel Spiro for the purpose of “completing the organization for a new Jewish Congregation.” That new congregation — Temple Beth-El (House of God) — held its first worship services on January 22, 1905, and within forty days of that initial meeting a lot on the corner of LaSalle and Taylor Streets had been purchased.
On March 6, 1906, just over a year after the organizational meeting, the Taylor Street building was dedicated. As early as 1909, Temple Beth-El became affiliated with the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (now the Union for Reform Judaism). That relationship continues today.
Temple’s Sisterhood and Brotherhood date to the early days of the Temple. Indeed, the Sisterhood (originally known as the Temple Aid Society and, later, the Temple Aid Sisterhood) was organized only one month after the Temple’s founding. The Brotherhood (originally known as the Temple Men’s Club) was established in 1929.
By the middle of the 20th Century, Temple Beth-El had outgrown its original Taylor Street home. Accordingly, funds for new property and a new building were raised, and in May 1950 the current sanctuary building was dedicated. Soon thereafter, a new Community Room was dedicated in memory of four Temple members who gave their lives during World War II. In the following years, the Temple facilities expanded to include a small Chapel, two well-established libraries (one for adults and one for children), a modern lounge, and the Kurt & Tessye Simon Education Center, which contains large and modern classroom space for our educational programs. Temple Beth-El also maintains Rose Hill Cemetery, a small burial ground in the heart of South Bend that follows Reform Jewish burial rites.
As Temple Beth-El enjoys its second century, we look forward to continuing and building upon the dedication of those lay leaders and rabbis who have enabled Temple Beth-El to provide a strong Reform Jewish presence in the South Bend area.