Temple B’Nai Israel, the beloved Jewish house of worship in Beachmont and the setting for bar mitzvahs, weddings, and other joyous celebrations through the years, will close its doors this Friday.
Debby Cherry, president of the temple on Wave Avenue, said this week’s traditional Friday night Shabbat Services will mark the end of the 113-year-old temple’s presence in the city.
“We much prefer to stay open, but it’s lack of membership, lack of participation, and changing demographics,” said Cherry at a final concert event Sunday honoring the temple’s legacy.
Cherry said the temple was once home to more than 300 families, who would fill the sanctuary for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services on the High Holidays.
“There has been a significant decline in members over the last 20 years and it kind of exacerbated more recently, said Cherry. “We also have an older congregation.”
Cherry was the first woman to be president of the temple, serving from 1998 to 2003. Though she grew up in Revere and celebrated her bat mitvah in 1971 at the temple, she is now a resident of Lynn.
“We only have a handful of members who now live in Revere,” said Cherry, noting the the current roll is at
Several long-time members stopped by the temple on Sunday for a farewell celebration and concert. A video of the temple’s 100th anniversary dinner held at the Peabody Marriott played on the television in the hall.
“It’s really sad and it’s really hard to do this today,” said Cherry. “It’s hitting the members hard. It’s lovely that people have come back, but today it hit me that this is the end.”
Beachmont resident Carol Tye said she has attended many celebrations at the temple. Tye said her father, Walter Tye Jr., used to light the flame on the altar in the mornings to assist the congregation at its daily services.
“He lit the flame, went across the street to the Mass, and came back afterwards and then he went to school,” said Tye. “It’s sad to see this place close.”
Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky called it an “unfortunate situation” seeing the temple close its doors for good. He said his former temple (Congregation Tifereth Israel at the corner of Shirley and Nahant Avenues) closed two years ago.
“Unfortunately the Jewish population doesn’t live here anymore,” said Novoselsky. “Most of the members at Temple B’Nai Israel came from out of town.”
Longtime Beachmont resident Bruce Singer said he was bar mitzvahed at the temple in 1967.
“We had a lot of great times at the temple and have a lot of happy memories,” said Singer.