History of Beth Sholom
Jews have lived in Frederick County, Md., since 1742. The first settlers, two brothers and their uncle, were businessmen.
The first formal religious organization, the Frederick Hebrew Congregation, was founded in Frederick City in about 1840. Services were held in homes, then stores, then the Masonic Temple. The first bris was held in Frederick in 1842.
In 1858, when there were few ordained rabbis in the U.S., Frederick was fortunate to have Rabbi Sussman Goebricher, who served as our first rabbi.
The congregation was very active during the 1840s and through the late 1890s. In 1910 services were still being held in the Masonic Temple.
David Lowenstein came to Frederick in 1863; his sister Amelia was the wife of Samuel Weinberg. David became an industrialist and a land developer.
In 1919, Beth Israel Congregation, the first synagogue in Frederick County, was built in the neighboring community of Brunswick, Md. Its doors were open until the late 1950s.
Beth Sholom Congregation, the former Frederick Hebrew Congregation, was chartered on Oct. 6, 1917. In 1919 the congregation incorporated as Beth Sholom Congregation. The establishment of a synagogue in the city became a reality thanks to the formation of the Frederick Section, National Council of Jewish Women. The building, which had been the Elks Club, was sold to Leo Weinberg and his wife Rae. They gave the building to the congregation, in perpetuity, as long as the building was used as a synagogue or for the purpose of promoting the teaching of Judaism. Leo, the son of Amelia Lowenstein Weinberg and Samuel Weinberg, and Rae lived next door. Amelia's brother, David Lowenstein, became very prosperous and was involved in building the Francis Scott Key Hotel as well as other business enterprises. On Sept. 2, 1923, the synagogue at 20 West Second Street, donated by the Weinberg family, was dedicated. It was rededicated in 1976 when the building was renovated.
When Leo died in September of 1942, Jeannette Weinberg became president and taught the boys their Bar Mitzvah lessons when Frederick had no rabbi. She was the financial backbone of the congregation from 1935-1960.
In 1984 our first Community Center at 1011 North Market Street was completed. It housed our religious school, nursery school, day camp, youth activities, bingo and other social functions.
Beth Sholom quickly outgrew this building and on September 26, 1993, a groundbreaking ceremony inaugurated the construction of a new and expanded Beth Sholom Community Center. We moved into our new building in December 1994. Formal dedication ceremonies were held June 11, 1995.
The Community Center houses our religious school, early childhood center, library, executive offices and gift shop. It is also the center of all our social functions.
The Weinberg family
The Weinberg family donated Beth Sholom's first permanent location, 20 W. 2nd St., to the Frederick Jewish community in the early 1900s. The building became the center of Jewish life for Frederick residents. Pictured, seated, are Henry, Amelia and Samuel; standing are Clara, David, Isaac, Leo and Jeannette.