Synagogues in Youngstown and Sharon celebrate merger - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Synagogues in Youngstown and Sharon celebrate merger

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Two congregations celebrated becoming one big family Friday night.

Five years ago, the congregation at Sharon's Temple Beth Israel noticed it's numbers were dwindling so they eventually made the difficult decision to put the building up for sale and to find a new home a few miles west.

Friday night, Sharon's Beth Israel and Youngstown's Rodef Shalom celebrated their merger. "We started doing events together about five years ago. We would do summer services together, two here, two over there, holidays together. We just wanted to see how we would get along.", said Rabbi Franklin Muller. "Well, one thing led to another and a merger was the next logical step to do."

All of Sharon's holy objects were removed from Temple Beth Israel and brought here to Youngstown. During Friday's service, the new single congregation passed around the eight Torah scrolls from Sharon. It was a celebration of fellowship with music and prayer.

"I think the turnout speaks for how happy people are how excited people are.", said Rabbi Muller. "We've been one congregation since July first 1840. That building on Highland Avenue was established in the 1950's they have quite a history over there so to give that up is difficult and painful."

Stanley Bard of the former Beth Israel Temple says he hopes to make the transition easy so this can be a new spiritual home for the Sharon congregation.

 

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