Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael, an egalitarian congregation affiliated with The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, is dedicated to providing a welcoming community that embraces Torah and meaningful worship, lifelong learning, music, Israel, and tikkun olam. We are an inclusive congregation, welcoming to the broader community of mature couples, singles, families, interfaith and interracial families, and the LGBTQ community.
TBAY has evolved over the years around the common desire to bring the local Jewish community together – first as services held in a small store at the corner of Mountain and Morris Avenues, to become the ‘Jewish Community Group of Springfield,’ to be a Jewish Community Center with a building, to grow into Temple Beth Ahm (“House of the People”) in 1955. Then In 2008, Temple Israel, a Conservative synagogue in Union merged with Temple Beth Ahm, and the post-merger congregation became known as Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael.
TBAY has been a leader in egalitarianism. In 1974, eleven women shared an adult Bat Mitzvah service, which helped to inspire other women to learn to lead services, become Torah readers, and increase their leadership roles both in the Sisterhood (later Women’s League) and in the temple at large. Rosalie Millman was the first woman to serve as Temple president, from 1976-1980.
The events, the accomplishments, the meetings, the classes, the discussions … they come ringing down through the years like hundreds of little bells jogging our memories. Many ideas have been tried, continued, discontinued only to be tried again … nursery school, a Religious School PTA, chavera groups. But most of all, there are the people. It is impossible to include every name, but the story of Temple Beth Ahm is just that: the story of a house of people, many individuals and what they accomplished when they came together to form a Jewish community. How wonderful it is to look back on the people who had the courage to form a Jewish group in that different time in 1952, and how they adapted themselves over the years to change in both the Jewish world and the world at large.
We were then, we are today, and we always will be the House of the People.