A History of Temple Beth Torah
In December of 1954, eighteen families convened to form the Jewish Community Group of Wethersfield. A constitution was adopted and Arthur Dubrow was elected as the first President.
Sabbath Evening services, meetings, religious and educational events were held in various churches and civic centers as well as in the homes of members. In 1955, the religious school was founded, and in 1956, the first High Holy Day services were conducted at the Masonic Temple.
In 1960, our current building, which formerly housed a Methodist church, was acquired, and the name Temple Beth Torah was adopted. The original renovation converted the church into the synagogue sanctuary, creating a blend of the symbols of Judaism and modern design concepts with the tradition of Old Wethersfield. The existing stained glass windows were repaired. A raised Bimah with a reader's lectern and flanking wooden menorahs was erected, featuring a recessed ark with sliding doors behind a mesh grillwork. New lighting was installed, a curved canopy set over the Bimah, and an acoustical suspended ceiling and new carpeting were installed. Structural improvements to the foundation were made, and a downstairs classroom was added.
The Temple was dedicated with joyous celebration on May 8, 1961. Ceremonies were attended by many prominent Greater Hartford rabbis and other clergymen as well as local and state officials.
Extensive modernization was undertaken in March of 1980 to meet the needs of the growing Congregation. Major improvements included new classrooms, a modern kitchen and an attractive social hall for B'nai Mitzvah, weddings and other functions.
In 2004, Temple Beth Torah completed a most successful Building Maintenance Fund drive which provided funds necessary to undertake major repairs and replacements, including a new roof and gutters, painting of the complete building exterior and upgrading the electrical system.
Temple Beth Torah commemorated its Golden Anniversary with a gala celebration in June of 2005, attended by members, new and old, family and friends. As we begin our next fifty years, we continue to grow and prosper, with increasing membership, a thriving Sunday School, a full calendar of activities and the active participation of our Temple family.