A Conservative Center for Jewish Life

I n 1951, thirty families began creating Temple Beth Sholom with a simple dream—the establishment of a Conservative Center for Jewish life in the Roslyn Area. Seven decades later their vision has come to fruition as TBS is not only a leader of the Conservative movement in the New York area, but nationally recognized as well. We are very proud of our history. It is the foundation of our future.

Temple Beth Sholom History

In the Beginning: The First Ten Years

With these words of invitation to a meeting in June of 1951, the history of one of America’s great Conservative congregations began. Little did those 30 plus families who extended the invitation and the 40 or so families who met with them that day know of how their modest plans would become a juggernaut of intense activities on behalf of every aspect of Jewish life here in our community, in the nation at large, in our beloved State of Israel and throughout much of the world.

Growth and Progress: The ’60s

On April 10, 1961, the Board of Education of United Synagogue accredited our Religious School. This marked the first time a school had attained this status after only 10 years in existence. The dedication of the new school building, sanctuary and youth lounge took place on April 16th. The Nursery School was accredited by New York State.

In the spring of 1963, the membership voted unanimously to adopt a new constitution. Things were beginning to change in 1963. The president of the United Synagogue of America, George Maislin, proposed a special commission of scholars to draft a modern interpretation of the Shulhan Aruch (Jewish Legal Code) more in keeping with the lives of Conservative Jews. By this time, the membership of Temple Beth Sholom had grown to 750 families. The Religious School educated 600 children and there were 91 B’nai/B’not Mitzvah during the year. Beth Sholom was in the forefront in organizing and housing the first North Shore Hebrew High School.

One of our Temple’s proudest achievements began to take form early in 1968 when a committee was appointed to establish the Judaica Museum. At the same time, our first Israel Affairs committee was formed.

Activism and Community: the ’70s

In the Seventies, our congregation was beginning to be known for its activist membership. We began vigils at the Soviet compound in Glen Cove. Several of our members, while in the Soviet Union, were ejected from the Soviet Union for passing out Jewish literature.

In 1971, the Religious School was restructured to provide seven years of education in an upper and lower school instead of the previous five year program. Two prefab units complete with four classrooms, lavatories and fixtures were attached to the school wing for use by the school and day camp. Today, they comprise our Early Childhood wing.

In 1972 our first woman president was elected. During the following two years, under the guidance of Rabbi Joseph Sternstein, we became one of the first egalitarian congregations of the Conservative movement.

In June, 1975, the radical idea of “fair share dues” was introduced, debated and finally voted upon and accepted. We rely upon the honesty and integrity of our membership to pay dues on a sliding scale based on their income, subject to a minimum level.

The Tikvah program, originally funded by the sisterhood, was established to ensure that learning disabled youngsters would also receive a Jewish education. Later expansion provided services for the physically challenged as well. In 1970 the membership approved obtaining a mortgage to cover the cost of building a swimming pool and attendant facilities to enhance our summer program.

Long range Planning: The '80s

During the 1980s the Temple experienced unprecedented growth in membership. From 1980 to today, membership has grown by about 350 families, making us one of the largest synagogues on Long Island. During the 80s dozens upon dozens of young families, many born in Iran, joined Temple Beth Sholom. Nursery school, primary school and camp operated at full capacity.

Long range planning in 1983-84 resulted in plans for the expansion of the synagogue and building of a new wing including a chapel, auditorium, and additional office and storage spaces. Beth Sholom held its first parallel Holiday Services in September of 1986. On May 14, 1989 groundbreaking ceremonies for the new educational and religious complex were held. Fall 1989 and 1990, saw the construction of the new wing.

In 1988, shortly after the High Holidays, an electrical malfunction caused a fire in the sanctuary. Thanks to the sprinkler system and the local fire department, damage was limited. Services were briefly held in the ballroom as the Temple family pulled together to keep the synagogue running smoothly. That year, a learner’s minyan was instituted, designed to make people feel knowledgeable and comfortable in synagogue.

Dedication and Rededication: The ’90s

During 1990-1992, Newman & Leventhal redecorated the ballroom and lobby. Temple Beth Sholom marked its 40th anniversary with the theme of Dedication and Rededication… a two year celebration including concerts, Kallah, anniversary ball, commemorative journal and Siyum. Scribe Dr. Eric Ray completed a new Torah and we rededicated three other Torahs. The David and Shoshana Wingate Educational Center, including the Sandler Chapel and Rubenstein Auditorium was completed and dedicated.

Family services and a family N’eilah service was introduced from 1992-1994. Tot Shabbat for 3-5 year olds began. The Rabbi Ario S. & Tess Hyams Judaica Museum was rededicated and the Irving Rutenberg Gallery dedicated.    

The years 1994-1996 were years of change and welcome to new key personnel. Rabbi Sternstein retired after 25 years of service to Temple Beth Sholom. We welcomed Rabbi Alan B. Lucas as our spiritual leader. We also welcomed Rabbi Sidney Solomon as our new ritual director and Sandra Frank as Nursery School Director. Jerusalem 3000 celebrations continued year-long with lectures, dialogues, dedication of the Children’s Wall, Jerusalem Fair, Shabbat Dinner, Concert and visit by Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert.

A New World: The 2000s

September 11, 2001 saw our world change due to the terrorist attacks on the United States. Beginning September 12th, guards were hired to be at Temple Beth Sholom during times when members and guests were present. On November 17th, 2001 we celebrated the 50th Anniversary Jubilee Gala Dinner Dance and celebration.

Summer of 2002, the museum purchased a Shtender that was sponsored by many members of the Temple. Bernice Cohen retired from the position as Executive Director after almost 25 years.

We are proud that two of our own congregation members studied to become rabbi’s: Rabbi Ian Jacknis who also served as assistant rabbi of Beth Sholom, and Rabbi David Kalb.

As our history continues, these pages will reflect our story and evolution. Listed below are the lay leaders and clergy who have so ably served the membership of Temple Beth Sholom over the years.

Spiritual Leaders

Rabbi Alan B. Lucas
1994–present

Rabbi Joseph P. Sternstein z”l
1969–1994

Rabbi Arlo S. Hyams z”l
1952–1969

Rabbi Jacob Hochman z”l
1951–1952

Assistant/Associate Rabbis

Rabbi Uri D. Allen
2018–present

Rabbi Paul Kerbel
2015–2018

Rabbi Jennifer Schlosberg
2012–2015

Rabbi Cecelia Beyer
2010–2012

Rabbi Jeni S. Friedman
2005–2010

Rabbi Adam Feldman z”l
1999–2005

Rabbi Ian Jacknis
1988–1993

Ritual Directors

Rabbi Sidney Solomon
1995–2012

Hazzanim/Cantors

Cantor Ofer Barnoy
1999–present

Cantor Aaron Bensoussan
1989–1999

Cantor Seymour Schwartzman, z”l
1978–1988

Cantor Ralph Schlossberg
1971–1978

Cantor Morton Kula
1954–1972

Past Presidents

2000s–Present

Rebecca Altman: 2017-present
Pearl Halegua: 2015-2017
Richard Levine: 2013-2015
Marc Magid: 2011-2013
Louis Naviasky: 20019-2011
Susan Zelman: 2007-2009
Lawrence Glass: 2005-2007
Steven Zeldis: 2003-2005
Daniel Fisher: 2002-2003
Rose Schechter: 2000-2002

1990s

Martin Kay: 1998–2000
Philip Adler: 1996–1998
Howard J. Goldstein: 1994–1996
James L. Schlesinger: 1992–1994
Judith Goldberg: 1990–1992

1980s

Stephen J. Lovell 1988 – 1990
William Spielman, z”l 1986 – 1988
Harold Kalb, z”l 1984 – 1986
Arthur Goldberg, z”l 1983 – 1984
Stephen Seltzer 1981 – 1983
Paul Shipper, z”l 1980 – 1981

1960s

Irving S. Rutenberg, z”l: 1968–1970
Sidney Rosenfeld, z”l: 1967–1968
Harry Brochstein, z”l: 1966–1967
Bernard Bloom, z”l: 1965–1966
Sidney Kahan, z”l: 1964–1965
Morris Fond, z”l: 1963–1964
Leonard Nadel, z”l: 1962–1963
Louis B. Resnick, z”l: 1961–1962
Benjamin Hauptman, z”l: 1960–1961
Mac Rubin, z”l: 1959–1960

1970s

Theodore Geffner, z”l: 1978–1980
Stuart L. Ain, z”l: 1976–1978
Melvin Hoffman, z”l: 1974–1976
Bernice Cohen: 1972–1974
Leonard Kleigman: 1970–1972

1950s

Monte Levin: 1958– 1959
Milton A. Horowitz, z”l: 1957–1958
Alfred J. Reiter, z”l: 1956–1957
George N. Levine, z”l: 1955–1956
William Grossman, z”l: 1954–1955
Jules Mirel, z”l: 1953–1954
Irwin Grossman, z”l: 1952–1953
Max W. Greenfield, z”l: 1951–1952