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Our History


 

Established on May 26th, 1936, Beth Sholom Temple (BST) prides itself on a welcoming atmosphere that embraces a variety of Jewish traditions and expressions.  We are a diverse group with varied backgrounds and a range of traditions that include classical and contemporary Reform, more traditional Conservative and Orthodox Judaism.  We live in many different areas including the counties of Stafford, Spotsylvania, King George, Orange, Westmoreland, Caroline, Fauquier and Loudon and the cities of Fredericksburg, Culpepper, Manassas and Warrenton.

We fulfill our role in the Jewish community in four areas.  First, as a Beit Knesset (a House of Gathering), our members are engaged in such activities as the VYBS youth group, Savvy Seniors and Sisterhood.  Second, BST serves as a Beit Tefillah (a House of Prayer).  We celebrate Shabbat and the full Jewish calendar of festivals and holidays throughout the year.  Third, as a Beit Midrash (a House of Study), we offer full service religious and Hebrew school programs, including Adult Education and Torah Study.   We send our leaders and educators to forums to enhance their Jewish learning.  Fourth, BST serves as a Beit Am (a House of Community).  We volunteer for various social action area causes in the Jewish tradition of "tikkun olam." These four areas provide our members with a variety of opportunities to satisfy their interests and encourage involvement.

Beth Sholom Temple welcomes you to join us.  Membership is open to individuals and households in which at least one adult is Jewish. Our membership includes both Jews by birth and Jews by choice.  Our congregation includes and welcomes families of interfaith marriages.

We pride ourselves in feeling that BST members form a large extended family.  We celebrate our uniqueness as a congregation in the Reform movement and exude a spirit, energy and vitality that you will feel once when you enter our doors.  We embody the Jewish values of tzedakah, mitzvah and tikkun olam.  Please stop by or call us at 540-373-4834; we are ready to meet you and show you what we have to offer to make Judaism more rewarding in your life.

HISTORICAL TIMELINE


 

Jews have been active in Fredericksburg area life for over 300 years.

1600s:  Historical records indicate that Jewish tradesmen and explorers frequented the area.

1752-1771:   The earliest records from the Fredericksburg Masonic Lodge (which included George Washington among its members) include a member named Hezekiah Levy.

1860:  The first German Jews, just a few families, found their way to Fredericksburg.

Early 1900s:  A second group of Jewish immigrants came to the area, primarily from eastern Europe. Without a synagogue here, families had to travel to Richmond or Baltimore for High Holidays and religious education for their children.

By the 1930’s:  There were a number of Jewish families who wished to establish a congregation in Fredericksburg.

1934:  The first organizational meeting took place. 

May 26, 1936 - 1940: The congregation was founded and worship services were held in the Parish House of St. George's Episcopal Church.

1938:  First Rabbi, Rabbi Ulrich Steuer

1940:  Groundbreaking for Beth Sholom Temple began on the Charlotte Street land donated by G&H Manufacturing. Members of the original Jewish community included both more traditional and Reform Jews, and there has always been a spirit of cooperation among the members of our community. However, when the decision was made to build the Temple, it was agreed that it would be a Reform congregation. The original building at 515 Charlotte Street consisted of the sanctuary, the memorial hall, and the kitchen.

1954-1971:  Rabbi Isadore Franzblau served the congregation.

1978:  Growth necessitated the construction of the Jack M. Marlowe Education Center, which included classrooms, and also housed the Temple office and Rabbi's study. From the early days, we have been committed to rabbinic leadership at Beth Sholom, and have enjoyed a number of wonderful Rabbis. 

1991-1997:  Rabbi Stephen Weisman served the congregation.

1996:  Celebrated our 60th Anniversary

1998: Began the good fortune of a series of student Rabbis on a part-time basis.

2001:  Relocated to our new Temple home at 805 Lyons Boulevard in Stafford, Virginia in December 2001.

2004-2006:  Rabbi Linda Steigman served the congregation.

2006-2012: Rabbi Devorah Lynn served the congregation.

2012-2013:  Student Rabbi Alexis Pinsky served the congregation on a part-time basis.

2013-2014:  Student Rabbi Allie Klein served the congregation on a part-time basis.

2014 -2015:  Rabbi Jeremy Weisblatt.

We service the cities of Fredericksburg, Culpeper, Manassas, Colonial Beach and Warrenton, and the counties of Stafford, Prince William, Spotsylvania, King George, Orange, Caroline and others.

Sat, December 16 2017 28 Kislev 5778