PORT CHARLOTTE – When Temple Beth El, a conservative North Port congregation, needed to find new space for their worshipers, Temple Shalom, a Reform Jewish congregation in Port Charlotte, opened.
“Our congregations are now a family,” said Temple Shalom president Judith Migdol.
Migdol said worshipers at Beth El Temple began worshiping at Shalom Temple three weeks ago.
“We are delighted to have them with us and happy that they now have a place of worship,” she said.
Due to declining membership, the leadership of Temple Beth El decided that it was no longer practical to support a separate facility.
“As our membership has shrunk, the fervor of our members and our desire to continue as a low-profile congregation has not wavered,” said Bruce Chadacoff, president of Temple Beth El.
“When we approached Shalom Temple, we found that our fellow Jews cared about us and wanted to help,” he said.
One rabbi found this “obvious”.
“Caring for our Jewish brethren and ensuring the continuity of the Beth El congregation was an obvious and imperative decision. Beth El will be an independent congregation within our congregation, ”said Rabbi Solomon Agin, spiritual leader of the Port Charlotte Temple.
Migdol said Shalom Temple was able to rent its building from Beth El Temple for services because each holds their worship services on different days.
Shalom Temple services take place on Friday evenings, while Beth El Temple services take place on Saturday morning – a time when the Shalom Temple shrine would be empty.
In a joint statement released by Agin and Chudacoff, they said the agreement was “the truest embodiment of the Jewish principle of Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh b’Zeh, loosely translated as ‘All Jews are responsible for one another'” .
“Caring for our Jewish brethren and ensuring the continuity of the Beth El congregation was an obvious and imperative decision. Beth El will be an independent congregation within our congregation, ”Agin said.
Beth El has conservative Jewish services at 9:30 a.m. most Saturdays. For more information visit www.templebethelnorthport.org.
Temple Shalom is located at 23190 Utica Ave. in Port Charlotte. Its website is www.templeshalomfl.com.
“Once the pandemic is over, we look forward to having activities and programs that worshipers from both temples can share together,” Migdol said.