Temple Beth Sholom (Miami Beach, Florida)

Temple Beth Sholom (transliterated from Hebrew as "House of Peace") is a Reform Jewish congregation and synagogue, located at 4144 Chase Avenue, on Miami Beach, Florida, in the United States.

Temple Beth Sholom
AffiliationReform Judaism
RiteNusach Ashkenaz
Ecclesiastical or organisational statusSynagogue
  • Rabbi Gayle Pomerantz
  • Rabbi Robert A. Davis
  • Rabbi Joanne Loibe
Location4144 Chase Avenue, Miami Beach, Florida
CountryUnited States
Temple Beth Sholom (Miami Beach, Florida) is located in Central Miami
Temple Beth Sholom (Miami Beach, Florida)
Location in Miami Beach, Florida
Geographic coordinates25°48′53″N 80°07′55″W / 25.814833°N 80.131949°W / 25.814833; -80.131949
Architect(s)Percival Goodman (1956)
Date established1942 (as a congregation)
  • 1942 (41st Street)
  • 1956 (Chase Avenue)
Capacity700 worshipers

It is the largest and oldest congregation[clarification needed][when?][where?] with 1210 member households.[1] Temple Beth Sholom is a member of the Union for Reform Judaism.[1]

Early history


The Beth Sholom Jewish Center was started by Abraham Zinnamon and Benjamin Appel. After seeing a Yiddish newspaper in Appel's hands, Zinnamon approached him with the idea of forming a Jewish Center. They put together a group of people for the first founders' meeting of Beth Sholom Center, which took place on April 6, 1942. On June 3 of that same year, a building at 761 41st Street was leased.

A charter of the State of Florida was granted shortly thereafter. Rabbi Samuel Machtai, the "Radio Rabbi", conducted the first High Holy Days Services in 1942. The service was held in a storefront, where 20 Miami Beach Jewish families gathered to provide a house of worship for themselves and for Jewish servicemen.[2]

Two years later, the Beth Sholom Jewish Center decided to hire a full-time rabbi. On August 9, 1944, at the 36th meeting of the board of directors, held in the home of its chairman, Charles Tobin, it was decided to employ Rabbi Leon Kronish to serve as the center's spiritual leader. Kronish was installed in the North Beach Elementary School auditorium by Rabbi Stephen Samuel Wise, President of New York's Jewish Institute of Religion.

To begin to build a congregation, Kronish went from house to house knocking on doors and wherever he saw a mezuzah, he invited the family to join the new synagogue. On April 24, 1945, the by-laws were changed and a resolution was passed to amend the Charter of Beth Sholom Center, to rename the nonprofit organization Temple Beth Sholom.

Chase Avenue expansions


The second and current home of Temple Beth Sholom was a two-story, dilapidated house called the Chase Avenue Hotel at 4141 Chase Avenue. The growing congregation acquired the building in c. 1953 and remodelled the building into a place of worship, with capacity for 700 people.[3] The membership grew from 40 households to more than 750 by 1955 and by the late 1960s included more than 1200 families.[4]

In 1956, the temple sanctuary and banquet hall were designed in the Modernist style by Jewish American architect Percival Goodman and built in a futuristic design comprising a series of parabolic arched domes, modelled on the work of Erich Mendelsohn. In 1961, the religious school and auditorium were added.[3]

In 1967 Temple Beth Sholom began its development as a cultural center for the Greater Miami Area, in keeping with Kronish's vision of the Temple as a place for community as well as worship. In 1969, Rabbi Harry Jolt, zecher tzadik livracha, who had recently retired from his pulpit in Ventnor, New Jersey, was asked by Rabbi Kronish to become Auxiliary Rabbi and assist in the cultural and adult education programs of the Temple. His death,[clarification needed] at age 97, was a deep loss[citation needed] for the congregation.

In 1984, the school was refurbished and the administrative wing was completed.[3] In 2003, the school building was refurbished once again. A new two story facility included a youth center, offices, chapel, welcome center, classrooms, meeting spaces, and an art gallery. The Temple is also surrounded by outdoor spaces including play areas, meditation garden and palm plaza. The Temple Beth Sholom buildings and campus have grown from the 1940s "laundry−horse stable" building to the present complex at the corner of Chase Avenue and Arthur Godfrey Road in Miami Beach.

Kronish legacy


Kronish's loving devotion[peacock prose] to the State of Israel was exemplified through his involvement in Jewish Federation, Histadrut, American Jewish Congress and the Israel Bonds National Leadership. He was one of the leaders in World Jewry and with his family's move from Poland, a first generation American Jew. The Confirmation Class has journeyed on a pilgrimage to Israel every year,[clarification needed] a program that Kronish initiated. Reaching beyond Jewish borders, the congregation has also been deeply involved in the civil rights movement and in fighting world hunger. Kronish's death in 1996 officially ended the first era of Temple Beth Sholom's history.[clarification needed]

Recent history


In 1985, the temple engaged Gary Glickstein, a young scholar who had served as rabbi of Temple Sinai in Worcester, Massachusetts since 1977 to serve as Senior Rabbi.[5] Glickstein served on the advisory board of the Greater Miami Coalition for a Drug Free Community, was past Chairman of the President's Advisory Committee on Jewish Studies at Barry University, and has served as vice chairman of the Miami Mission 1000 and Mega Mission Two. He is a past President of the Rabbinic Association of Greater Miami. Nationally, he was Chairman of the UJA National Rabbinic Cabinet, past Chair of the National Rabbinic Cabinet of Israel Bonds and past Treasurer of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. He was Co-Chair of the Synagogue/Federation Relations Committee of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation.



The following individuals have served as senior rabbi of the congregation:

Ordinal Officeholder Term start Term end Time in office Notes
1 Leon Kronish 1944 1984 39–40 years Emeritus: 1984-1996
2 Gary A. Glickstein 1985 2018 32–33 years Emeritus: since 2018
3 Gayle Pomerantz 2018 incumbent 5–6 years Served as Associate Rabbi from 1994 to 2018

See also



  1. ^ a b "Home page". Temple Beth Sholom. Archived from the original on November 18, 2010.[self-published source?]
  2. ^ "Leon Kronish, 79, Miami Beach Rabbi". New York Times. March 31, 1996.
  3. ^ a b c "Miami Beach, FL ~ Temple Beth Sholom (1956)". Synagogues of the South. College of Charleston. 2024. Retrieved January 12, 2024.
  4. ^ Green, Henry A. (1995). Bridges and Bonds The Life of Leon Kronish. Scholars Press. p. 91.
  5. ^ Wahle, Bruce; Ostrow, Marcy (April 2011). "A "Sethabration" of Temple Sinai's Rabbi of 25 years: Rabbi Seth Bernstein". Jewish Central Voice.