The records of Temple Beth Sholom date from 1945 to 2015 and include scrapbooks, photographs, bulletins, meeting minutes, by-laws, correspondence, and publications. The collection contains documentation of the Board of Directors, the Sisterhood, the Men's Club, the history of the congregation, events held by the temple, and construction of the temple building in Summerlin in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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Scope and Contents Note
The records of Temple Beth Sholom date from 1945 to 2015 and include scrapbooks, photographs, bulletins, meeting minutes, by-laws, correspondence, and publications. The collection contains documentation of the Board of Directors, the Sisterhood, the Men's Club, the history of the congregation, events held by the temple, and construction of the temple building in Summerlin in Las Vegas, Nevada. The scrapbooks in the collection focus on the Temple Sisterhood from 1948 to 1976 and include photographs, news clippings, newsletters, and ephemera from events. There is also material from the Temple Men’s Club, including meeting agendas, by-laws, correspondence, and other organizational records from 2005 to 2008. The construction of the temple in Summerlin and the Warsaw Ghetto Remembrance Garden is documented by photo albums, architectural plans, an executive summary, and ephemera. Photographs depict events held by the temple, including galas, fundraisers, and community events. Board of Directors records consist of meeting minutes, memos, reports, by-laws, policies, correspondence, and budgets from 1952 to 2006. Also included in the collection are the records of temple president Gene Greenberg, who served from 1985 to 1988, issues of the Beth Sholom Bulletin temple newsletter from 1998 to 2009, and digital photographs and administrative files from 1999 to 2011.
Materials in this collection may be protected by copyrights and other rights. See Reproductions and Use on the UNLV Special Collections website for more information about reproductions and permissions to publish.
These records are arranged into three series:
Series I. Visual materials, 1945-2007 and undated;
Series II. Organizational records, 1952-2015;
Series III. Digital administrative files and photographs, 1999-2011.
Biographical / Historical Note
Temple Beth Sholom was the first Jewish congregation in Southern Nevada and continues to function as a religious, educational, and social center for a considerable portion of the Jewish community of Las Vegas. Previously known as the Jewish Community Center of Las Vegas, it became affiliated with the Conservative Movement and officially known as Temple Beth Sholom in 1958. The congregation originated in Las Vegas in the 1930s with a small group of families and grew to be the largest temple in Nevada during the 1960s. Until the 1970s, Temple Beth Sholom was the only synagogue in Las Vegas.
The “Sons and Daughters of Israel” was the first Jewish group in Las Vegas. In the 1930s, this group of about 25 people gathered at the back of a store to pray and to teach Judaism to their children. Services for the High Holy Days were held at the home of community member Nate Mack, and conducted by a cantor who traveled from Los Angeles for the occasion. By 1943 the “Sons and Daughters of Israel” disbanded and a chapter of B’nai B’rith was founded. In response to the growing number of Jewish families in the area, the Las Vegas Jewish Community Center was built in 1946, and in 1948 became a legal entity.
During the 1940s the community center’s activities included Las Vegas’s first preschool program, youth dances, Jewish Family Services, and the Sisterhood gift shop. The community also supported the establishment of the State of Israel, raising $40,000 for the United Jewish Appeal, the highest per capita contribution of Jewish citizens in the United States.
By the 1950s the Jewish population of Las Vegas had increased even more and the congregation purchased another property to accommodate the growth. Jewish casino owners and operators made significant contributions to the fundraising campaign, and also held leadership positions within the temple. At Rabbi Dr. Bernard Cohen’s suggestion, the congregation affiliated itself with the United Synagogues of America (the official governing body of the Conservative Movement) and chose its new name, Temple Beth Sholom. By this time the building included a 320-seat sanctuary, social hall, classrooms, a Junior sanctuary, and a consecrated Jewish burial ground.
Membership growth and physical expansion continued parallel to the expanding Jewish population in Las Vegas until a new Reform Temple, Ner Tamid, was formed in 1974. By the 1990s, Temple Beth Sholom’s membership numbers had dwindled to 300 families and plans were made to move to Summerlin, where many members were then living. The building on Oakey Boulevard was sold before a new building was constructed, and the community once again held services “in exile,” as it had in its early days. The Summerlin temple was dedicated in 2000 and is the center of many activities, including religious services, education, community groups, and events.
Source: “Mission & History.” Temple Beth Sholom. Accessed January 12, 2015. http://www.bethsholomlv.org/#!mission-history/c1qhp.
- Sons and Daughters of Israel disbands.
- B’nai B’rith chapter founded.
- Las Vegas Jewish Community Center is built at 1229 Carson Street.
- Becomes legal entity.
- Groundbreaking of property at 1600 Oakey Boulevard.
- The name “Temple Beth Sholom” is officially selected.
- Affiliates with the United Synagogues of America.
- Temple Beth Sholom is the largest synagogue in Nevada, with 750 member families.
- Some members leave to form Congregation Ner Tamid.
- Oakey Boulevard property is sold.
- Dedication of Summerlin building on September 24.
Temple Beth Sholom Records, 1945-2015. MS-00711. Special Collections, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
Materials were donated in 2015 by Temple Beth Sholom; accession number 2015-024.
Materials were processed by Emily Lapworth in 2015.
Existence and Location of Originals
Some items in this collection are digital surrogates. The donor retained the original items.