by Henry Kaplan
It was late summer of 1959, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur were approaching, and a major development of the area west of downtown Peabody was taking place, especially in the area now known as west Peabody. The exodus from the Jewish ghettos around Boston brought many Jewish families into these new housing developments.
One of these families was Janice and Al Cohen, who recently moved from Kansas city. Following a yahrzeit minyan at their home for Janice’s father, they suggested to those present that a ‘Temple should be formed’. Present and interested were the Zeltzers (Hy and Jean), the Steiffs (Charlotte and Leon) and others.
What would they do for the holidays? Many, if not most, had come from orthodox Shuls but they weren’t inclined toward the orthodox any longer. This was a shift taking place not only in Boston, but around the country. A group of these people came together to plan for the coming high holidays. They rented Cy Tenney hall in west Peabody for the services. Somehow, they came up with a torah and the services were conducted by Leon Steiff and others.
Many new friendships were formed at these services and this group was the beginning of a new Jewish movement in the city. Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, there were a number of meetings held in peoples homes. Temple Ner Tamid had begun! Shortly thereafter, a Sunday school was started at the Cy Tenney hall.
Much work needed to be done. If there were to be services
On the Shabbat, where would they be held? Would we need a rabbi right away? And what else would be needed? Many people joined. These founding members established dues initially at $18.00.
The Temple’s first home was Anshe Sfard, a small Shul on Littles Lane in Peabody square.
Although there was a Hebrew school at the community center, the temple membership felt that Ner Tamid should have its own Hebrew school. Where to hold it? There wasn’t enough room at Anshe Sfard. The location chosen was the building owned and used by the Sephardic congregation on Pierpont Street. This had been a multi story home that now housed the Sephardic congregation. With the help of city school officials, old used desks and chairs that the city no longer needed were obtained and the school was started. A number of temple congregants who were teachers had an important hand in starting the school and forming its early curriculum.
The year following the formation of the temple, the high holidays were approaching. Where to hold high holiday services? The north shore shopping center, an open mall, had been built 6 years earlier and they an auditorium in the lower level. This was to be the location for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services until the Temple was completed in 1965.
At this time, the Temple membership was in the range of 120 to 150 families. If a building was to be built then a piece of land would have to be obtained and funds raised.
A plot of land was obtained. The land, on which now stands the pilgrim nursing home, was to be the home of Temple Ner Tamid.
A fundraiser was hired and a campaign initiated to raise the necessary funds for a new building. While this was going on,
The land upon which the temple now sits became available.
Through the efforts of the late Judge Abraham Ankeles the land parcels were swapped somehow and the Temple Ner Tamid building program was off the ground. The architectural firm of Bedar and Alpers was hired to design a building. Once the design was approved, a contractor was engaged. The ground breaking ceremony was a gala event attended by a large throng including many city officials. At the time, there was no road and people had to climb through the woods to get to the top of the hill where the ceremonies were to take place.
* of blessed memory
TEMPLE NER TAMID PRESIDENTS
MEN’S CLUB PRESIDENTS
|1959-1963||Leon Steiff *|
|1973-1975||Harold Stone *|
|1979-1980||Bernard Vigor *|
|1986-1988||David Snyder *|
|1988-1990||Max Rabinovitch *|
|2012 -2014||Mark Rudin|
|2014- 2016||Eric Richman|
|2016 –||Adele Lubarsky|
|1960-1964||Norma Graff *|
|1965-1966||Helen Goren *|
|1968-1969||Carol Stone Fromer|
|1970-1971||Ina Romo *|
|1975-1977||Anita Baker *|
|1977-1979||Judy Leventhal *|
|1983-1985||Norma Mazur *|
|1987-1988||Anita Baker *Judy Leventhal *Anita Rudin|
|1990-1993||Linda Harrison *|
|1997-1999||Marianne Bob *|
|2003-2004||Lois BlackMarianne Bob *Sue Savy|
|2004-2005||Sandee MatteucciSusan Savy|
|2005-2006||Ethel BabnerSandee Matteucci|
|2011- 2013||Elisa Zimmerman|
|2013- 2015||Judy Kemp|
|2015 – 2017||Sue Callum|
|1961-1963||Gerald Wyner *|
|1963-1965||Edward Schultz *|
|1965-1967||Stephen Green *|
|1968-1969||George Rosenthal *|
|1979-1980||Gerald Leventhal *|
|1984-1986||Joseph Winokur *|
|2000-2002||Alan S. Titelbaum|
|2013- 2016||Larry Malatzky|
|2016 –||Steve Ring|