As it prepares to celebrate 60 years of faith and community, Temple Beth Am, 5950 N. Kendall Dr. in Pinecrest, is taking a look back at past leaders, generations of devoted families and the pioneer visionaries who made this milestone anniversary possible.
The 60th Anniversary Gala will take place on Saturday, Apr. 18, 7-11:30 p.m., when a meticulously researched, 350- page Anniversary Book will be debuted.
“We are so thrilled to be celebrating such an important anniversary,” said Robert Hersh, the synagogue’s executive director. “Temple Beth Am has such a rich and beautiful history, and we are so proud to be a part of this incredible legacy.”
From its beginnings in the early 1950s, Temple Beth Am created the foundation for what has become one of the most important Jewish institutions in the community. The temple’s Day and Religious Schools, which are celebrating 45 and 59 years respectively, continue to be dynamic centers for Jewish education and cutting- edge learning with record enrollment.
As the largest and most recognized full-time Jewish Day School in south Miami-Dade County, the schools’ integrated curriculum plays a critical role in sustaining Jewish life.
In addition, Temple membership continues to increase. From its first years establishing itself as a Reform institution in Miami-Dade County in the 1950s, to experiencing exponential growth in the 1960s, the impact of adding the Day School to the campus in the 1970s and establishing itself as a full-service organization for all ages and backgrounds, Temple Beth Am has come a long way in 60 years.
In honor of this important milestone, a 350-page Anniversary Book will be available at the Gala. The first half of the book details Temple Beth Am’s unique history, including the history of Rabbi Emeritus, Rabbi Herbert Baumgard, who will be turning 95 this summer. The book combines vintage photos with the story of how the synagogue and the Day and Religious Schools came to be, while the second half is devoted to congregation members and their families. This last section will feature member’s stories, memories and personal connections to Temple Beth Am, such as multi-generational experiences, those who met their spouses at temple events, and those whose children attended the Day or Religious Schools.
In addition to its 60th Anniversary, Temple Beth Am also is marking the departure of long-time rabbi, Terry Bookman and his wife, Karen Sobel, as well as welcoming Rabbi Jeremy Barras in July.