Temple Beth Shalom is both a Reform synagogue and a Jewish Community Center. We strive to create a spirit of community in ways seldom seen in larger religious organizations today.
We are a small family-oriented synagogue. By “family” we mean the traditional family as well as the larger community family. We have activities suitable for all of our members regardless of age, knowledge of Judaism, or previous experiences. In addition, our religious services are open to participation by everyone in the congregation regardless of background. This participation can be in English or Hebrew. Although we are affiliated with the reform tradition, there is enough Hebrew used in our services to make our conservative brethren comfortable. We believe that the beautiful liturgy of Jewish services should be known and practiced by all. If you so desire, we invite you to read a passage, chant, or partake of the honor of an Aliyah (Torah reading).
On the community side, Temple Beth Shalom provides each member with a network of friends and acquaintances from a wide background of interests and occupations. It is common for new members to find new friends quickly and a feeling of comfort within our warm environment. Our ability to provide this type of environment is the result of a mix of young and older members and the warmth they bring with them. It is a tremendous source of pride for us and a major reason people join.
More than half a century ago, Temple Beth Shalom began as a very small community of immigrant families. These families emigrated to America and moved to this area to build new lives. The men went off to work in various industries and places around greater Boston. The women began to establish homes and get to know the neighbors. As they did, the idea of a establishing a small Jewish community was proposed. Soon, these women (and later the men as well) began to meet in each others homes. As they group grew, they started meeting in borrowed or rented space in various places around Melrose. Around 1950, they incorporated as the Melrose Jewish Community Center.
This group of pioneering women and their men got together to purchase the “Oak Manor” near the downtown Melrose area. Oak Manor was one of the main dance halls in Melrose. After some fixing up and the construction of a bimah and Holy Ark, Temple Beth Shalom was established. Our first President was Dorothy Diamond.
We are ever mindful of the great history of our little community and the small triumphs these founders achieved in organizing and founding the congregation. It is a legacy we proudly carry on to this day.