A lavishly illustrated, limited-edition centennial book about Fort Worth’s reform Jewish community.
Available by special order. Telephone Beth-El Congregation, 817-332-7141. Price, $30. Payment by check or credit card.
The entire book is online and can be viewed here:
When her congregation turned 100, Hollace Weiner dove into the task of documenting its centennial history. Previously, while conducting research on rabbis, Hollace had poured through dozens of grass-roots histories of churches and synagogues. She realized the importance of interviewing old timers, gathering frank recollections, and collecting vintage photos. Only a congregant on the scene can capture the conflicts, controversies, and anecdotes that epitomize turning points in the life of such an institution.
Beth-El . . . Centennial documents and illustrates:
The book spotlights famous congregants such as I.N. Mehl, the world’s first professional coin collector; Broadway producer Sherwin Goldman; longtime Congressman Martin Frost; Fort Worth Mayor Bayard Friedman; Morton Meyerson, for whom the Dallas performing arts hall is named.
The congregation may have been started in 1902 by 43 men, but when it fell apart in 1903, it was the women who revived the congregation, recruited a rabbi, taught Sunday School, and raised money at the Fat Stock Show to start a building fund.
As Cowtown turned into a family town, Beth-El was an important element of the city. This commemorative narrative celebrates the longevity of Beth-El Congregation. It also serves as a case history, studying the components of a vibrant, stable synagogue that persisted and thrived throughout the ups and downs of the twentieth century.