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About our Temple

Beth Israel's exquisite landscaping originally underwritten by Edith (z”l) and Jay (z”l) Rudolph (who also generously instituted Beth Israel's Endowment Fund) includes virtually all of the prominent flora found on Longboat Key.

Located near the Temple’s entrance “Remembrance” is a stylized rendering of the Star of David by Dennis Kowal that Lillian Richman (z”l) commissioned in memory of her son, Stanley Eisler (z”l).

Joel Fein, son of Arnold (z”l) and Shirley Fein, designed the stained glass windows adorning the buildings front doors the Garden of Eden theme incorporates common Israeli plants like grapevines, poppies, and rock roses. An elegant copper sculpture of Moses and Aaron that once graced a European synagogue, acquired by David (z”l) and Ruth (z”l) Zurit, is found just above the entrance to the Sanctuary inside the foyer.

Seating 325 people, the Sanctuary contains stained glass windows that highlight the five books of the Torah. Two other windows draw attention to the Holocaust (featuring a broken Star of David with six drops of blood representing the 6 million) and Israel (including a restored Star of David with a dove of peace soaring overhead).

There is a wonderful story surrounding how former Temple member Meyer Schwartz (z”l) and his then 21-year-old grandson David crafted these windows. Since they only possessed experience working with stained glass as a hobby, the building committee initially felt the team lacked proper credentials and prepared to hire professional artisans for the project. However the overwhelmingly positive response to the first completed window “Genesis”, assuaged the committee's concerns. As a result, grandfather and grandson were granted the opportunity to spend several months laboring long hours in a garage in order to complete the remaining windows.

Inspired by a concert of Yiddish melodies sung by the temple choir, Esther Smidof, a visitor from Switzerland, donated the balance of funds required to purchase the temple’s organ.

Ed (z”l) and Ida (z”l) Wilkof provided the metal rendering of the 10 commandments found in the Sanctuary.  Maurice Dankoff (z”l) sculpted the bimah’s Menorah, a gift from BIW, and the Ner Tamid (Eternal Light), contributed by the Dancoff family. Artist David Ascalon's rendering of the metal Ark, a gift from an estate made possible through the generous auspices of Louis (z”l) and Miriam (z”l) Benjamin, recalls the Western Wall. How fitting that the impressive Ark is composed of bronze,  an alloy of copper and tin that dates back 3,000 years to the time of King Solomon. Glass doors permit light, a symbol of the divine in man, to shine outward.

The open scroll in the ark is a Holocaust Torah rescued from a small Jewish community outside of Prague. A part of the “Precious Legacy Collection,” founding members Paul (z”l) and Selma (z”l) Klingenstein acquired the scroll on permanent loan from the Westminster synagogue in London.

In 1990 the Temple purchased an attractive section of Palms Memorial Park Cemetery as a sacred burial ground. A special congregation memorial service is conducted there annually during the High Holy Days.

Fri, February 3 2023 12 Shevat 5783