Temple History

by Henry Kaplan

in Founders Hall
This Torah from Kadno, Czecholslovakia is number 1264 of 1564 scrolls taken by the Nazis during World War II for their “Museum of an Extinct Race”

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




1959-1963Leon Steiff *
1963-1965Paul Goldman
1965-1967Henry Kaplan
1967-1969Irving Babner*
1969-1971David Derman*
1971-1973Gerald Monsein*
1973-1975Harold Stone *
1975-1977Irving Schulman
1977-1979Joseph Cohen
1979-1980Bernard Vigor *
1980-1982David Goldberg
1982-1984Frank Chmara
1984-1986Elliot Wyner
1986-1988David Snyder *
1988-1990Max Rabinovitch *
1990-1992Judith Lewis
1992-1994Mark Rudin
1994-1996Barry Beck
1996-1998Ben Rachman
1998-2000Richard Strauss
2000-2002Allen Talewsky
2002-2004Todd Levine
2004-2006Gary Sparr
2006-2007Elliot Wyner
2007-2009Alan Lehman
2009-2010Cliff Rucker
2010-2012Scott Feinstein
2012 -2014Mark Rudin
2014- 2016Eric Richman
2016 –Adele Lubarsky
1960-1964Norma Graff *
1964-1965Leona Kaplan
1965-1966Helen Goren *
1966-1967Joanne Elefson
1967-1968Selma Razin
1968-1969Carol Stone Fromer
1969-1970Gloria Simons
1970-1971Ina Romo *
1971-1972Marilyn Sullaway*
1972-1973Rhoda Tanner
1973-1974Ann Barosin*
1974-1975Arlene Vigor
1975-1977Anita Baker *
1977-1979Judy Leventhal *
1979-1980Anita Rudin
1980-1981Harriet Feinstein
1981-1983Ellen Chmara*
1983-1985Norma Mazur *
1985-1987Barbara Kuhn
1987-1988Anita Baker *Judy Leventhal *Anita Rudin
1988-1990Janice Wyner
1990-1993Linda Harrison *
1993-1995Irene Gustat
1995-1997Cynthia Greene
1997-1999Marianne Bob *
1999-2001Susan Savy
2001-2003Arlyne Greenspan
2003-2004Lois BlackMarianne Bob *Sue Savy
2004-2005Sandee MatteucciSusan Savy
2005-2006Ethel BabnerSandee Matteucci
2006-2007Ethel Babner
2007-2009Lisa Stone
2009-2011Harriet Feinstein
2011- 2013Elisa Zimmerman
2013- 2015Judy Kemp
2015 – 2017Sue Callum
2017-Wendy Gershlak
1961-1963Gerald Wyner *
1963-1965Edward Schultz *
1965-1967Stephen Green *
1967-1968Daniel Greiff
1968-1969George Rosenthal *
1969-1970Melvin Babner
1970-1972Sumner Feinstein*
1972-1973Lawrence Baker
1973-1974Irving Orloff
1974-1975Morris Sack
1975-1976Leonard Mulsman*
1976-1978Elliot Wyner
1978-1979Warren Freedman*
1979-1980Gerald Leventhal *
1980-1982Mark Rudin
1982-1983Ronald Promer
1983-1984Kenneth Fine
1984-1986Joseph Winokur *
1986-1987Jeffrey Schultz
1987-1988Howard Karas
1988-1990Richard Strauss
1990-1992Arthur Lewis
1992-1993Lawrence Shuman
1993-1994Alan Lehman
1994-1996Mark Gershlak
1996-1998Allen Talewsky
1998-2000Harvey Cohen
2000-2002Alan S. Titelbaum
2002-2003Eric Richman
2003-2005Mark Lubarsky
2005-2007Mark Lerner*
2007-2009David Ponn
2009-2010Scott Feinstein
2010-2011Todd Levine
2011-2012Irving Burday
2012-2013Mark Lubarsky
2013- 2016Larry Malatzky
2016 –Steve Ring