Beth Sholom Congregation and Talmud Torah
|Beth Sholom Congregation and Talmud Torah|
|Affiliation||Modern Orthodox Judaism|
Beth Sholom Congregation and Talmud Torah (BSCTT) is a Modern Orthodox synagogue on Seven Locks Road in Potomac, Maryland. The largest Orthodox synagogue in the Washington area, it is led by Rabbi Nissan Antine.
The congregation was founded in 1908 as Voliner Anshe Sfard. It initially worshiped in a congregant's house, but soon purchased a store and remodeled it as a synagogue building, with separate men and women sections. Within just a few years of its creation, the congregation had bought its own cemetery. The Voliner Anshe Sfard Congregation joined with the Har Zion Congregation in 1936 under the name Beth Sholom Congregation and Talmud Torah, complete with its own Hebrew school. Two years later, the combined congregation spent $90,000 on a new building. For the next 18 years the community stayed in what they called the "Eighth and Shepherd" building. In 1956, the congregation erected another synagogue building. This building's sanctuary had enough seats for almost 1,200 people. At one point the Hebrew school had more than 400 students. That changed after the 1968 Washington, D.C. riots precipated a drastic decrease in school attendance, leading the congregation to make the decision to move to Potomac.
The Community bought the current property on Seven Locks Road in 1975 with a small building and constructed a new building there as "Phase I" in 1994. In 1999 "Phase II" of the building was completed.
In the late 1980s Beth Sholom was principally responsible for the construction of an two mile long eruv in Potomac that made it permissible for observant Orthodox Jews to carry and push objects within the boundaries area on Shabbat, leading to the growth of the Orthodox population in the area. In 2005 the synagogue became the first Orthodox congregation in Washington to elect a woman as president of the congregation.
The synagogue has more than five hundred families and a total of about 1,200 people coming to services on the High Holidays. Joel Tessler was the head rabbi of Beth Sholom for about thirty years until he left in 2013 to move to Israel.
- Janet Lubman Rathner, "A Neighborhood Built Around Religious Ritual; Border Helps Potomac Jews Observe Sabbath", The Washington Post, October 4, 2008 – via HighBeam Research (subscription required).
- Eric Fingerhut, "Shul hits century mark", Washington Jewish Week, February 28, 2008 – via HighBeam Research (subscription required).
- "Beth Sholom breaks ground; First local Orthodox shul to elect woman president", Washington Jewish Week, April 7, 2005 – via HighBeam Research (subscription required).
- Suzanne Pollak, "Beth Sholom to Honor Its Senior Rabbi in Waiting", Washington Jewish Week, April 26, 2012 – via HighBeam Research (subscription required).