ROCKFORD - Although it's not
the first Jewish house of worship in
"First week we lived here we went over to Temple Beth-El. It was right down the street," said Schaider.
At the time Temple
Beth-El was located at the corner of North Main & Salem Streets. The building still stands there today, but is
now the Promise of Life Church. The
building still reads "Temple Beth-El" over the entrance and is still adorned
with Stars of David. But a growing
Jewish community forced a move to
"The temple grew in size so fast in the 50's that they needed to have more space and that's when we bought the property here," said Hon. Brian Shore, the temple's 100th Anniversary Committee Chair.
In 1963 the new
temple building at Comanche Drive & Guilford Road was dedicated. Since then, temple membership has fluctuated
and the Jewish community in
"Yet despite that we have always maintained full-time rabbis," said Shore. "We've always maintained this beautiful building and maintained programming that has enriched our community and we hope sometimes the general community."
One of those programs the temple has put forth is Food-A-Rama. Last year Temple Beth-El celebrated 50 years of the program that has temple volunteers crafting hundreds of traditionally Jewish corned beef sandwiches to sell to raise money for the Rock River Valley Food Pantry.
The temple is
similar to any other reform synagogue with an active membership. There's a Sunday School and
"We have a tremendously involved and committed group of members," said Shore.
Having been a part of Temple Beth-El for over 50 years, Schaider says that commitment to the temple pours over into the greater Jewish community as well.
"The Jewish community has always been a close community in this town," said Schaider.
"Whether they belong to Temple Beth-El or Congregation Ohave Shalom, anybody that needed help, they were helped."
Temple Beth-El will
celebrate 100 years on Friday night with a special Shabbat service. Public officials and dignitaries will be in
attendance. The service starts at 7:30
PM at Temple Beth-El,