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Our History

Temple Beth Shalom (our legal name!) was established when Temple Ashkenaz and Congregation Beth Israel merged in 1962. The merged shul chose to use the Temple Ashkenaz building at 8 Tremont Street because it was newer. The name was changed to Temple Beth Shalom, in part to mark a new spirit of community cooperation. We are known colloquially as the Tremont Street Shul.

As members of the original Cambridge Jewish community migrated to the suburbs, the synagogues in Cambridge consolidated in stages. The Tremont Street Shul was the last of original congregations to remain in operation. In the 1970s, local colleges decided to have a joint Simchat Torah celebration at Tremont Street. Helped by the success of this annual event, the shul began to attract new members from the young families in the greater Cambridge area and has grown steadily since then.

Our shul underwent a major renovation in 1987, with our vestry designed to be the home of the Alef-Bet Child Care, founded at that time. A second renovation in 1994 transformed our balcony into a convertible classroom, and an office was added in 2004. Meticulous care was taken during each renovation to conserve our building’s historic character. We think our main sanctuary is one of the Jewish architectural jewels of the greater Boston area. Come and see for yourself!

The predecessors of Temple Beth Shalom include:

  • Congregation Anshai Sfard was organized in 1896, chartered in 1898, soon afterwards to be established in their building at 83 Webster Avenue in Somerville. The congregation merged into Beth Israel in 1957.

  • Congregation Beth Israel organized 1900, building at 238 Columbia St.

  • Temple Ashkenaz split off from Beth Israel over the issue of Ashkenazi vs. Sephardic ritual 1908; building at 8 Tremont Street – originally the home of Joshua Kaplan, house torn down and a new building erected 1924.

Temple Beth Shalom is a member of the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts.

Tue, October 16 2018 7 Cheshvan 5779