Temple Beth Sholom hosts open house

Facade of the Citadel, where Temple Beth Sholom is now located. (Journal photos by Jaymie Depew)

MARQUETTE — The Citadel building in Marquette was packed with people Saturday afternoon as Temple Beth Sholom hosted a community open house and reception at the southwest corner of Blaker and East Ridge streets.

In December 2016, Temple Beth Sholom purchased the Citadel, which was originally built in 1920 as a Christian Science church. The building later became a meeting venue and then was divided into apartments. It has now been extensively restored as a house of worship for Marquette County’s only Jewish congregation.

When the Ishpeming Temple Beth Sholom was built in the 1950s, most of the Jewish community lived in the western end of the county. Over the last 60 years, more of the Jewish community moved toward Marquette, following the growth of the hospital and Northern Michigan University, according to a press release.

The original stained glass windows that were designed solely for Temple Beth Sholom by artist A. Raymond Katz have been moved from the building in Ishpeming and remounted in the sanctuary windows of the new location. The windows represent the Ten Commandments and the major Jewish holidays.

Original pews and other sacred objects such as the Torah scrolls have also been transported from the Ishpeming building and installed.

During the open house, patrons were able to tour the building, including the library, bimah and basement, connect with fellow community members and enjoy refreshments and snacks, which were provided in the lower level of the building.

Aaron Scholnik, vice president of the Temple Beth Sholom Board of Trustees, talked about the building and answered questions pertaining to services, construction and the future.

At one point, Scholnik pointed to the door post.

“On the door post … is a mezuzah. A mezuzah is something that is found on almost every traditionary Jewish house, door or institution,” he said. “That is brand new and was presented to us by Martin Lowenberg, who was the speaker at the Holocaust service last month.”

Lowenberg, a Holocaust survivor who’s now 90 years old, was the featured speaker in recognition of Yom HaShoah, also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day, which occurs on the 27th day of the Jewish month of Nissan.

Scholnik said a big hobby of Lowenberg’s is making metal ceremonial objects, including the mezuzah.

“So, he made the case and inside of it is a scroll written just as the Torah is — by scribe,” he said. “What’s remarkable about that particular mezuzah is that the wooden back is actually from a railroad car that had been used to transport people to death camps.”

Scholnik said Lowenberg, who’s a frequent speaker at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, got permission from the center to use the wood.

Recently, a dedication and sanctification service was held at the new Temple Beth Sholom building led by Rabbi Samuel M. Stahl. Rabbi Stahl served Temple Beth Sholom as a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati from 1964-65. He is married to Lynn Cohodas Stahl, a daughter of one of the founding families of the synagogue.

For more information about Temple Beth Sholom, visit https://sites.google.com/view/mqtsynagogue.

Jaymie Depew can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. Her email address is jdepew@miningjournal.net.