Park Hills

(Flat River), Mo


Temple Beth El

Built from scratch in 1926, temple Beth El started with 25 families.  This was the only synagogue between Cape Girardeau and St. Louis.

Published by the LEAD BELT NEWS, Flat River, St. Francois Co. MO, Fri. Jan. 1, 1926.

Last Sunday afternoon was one of the coldest experienced in this district for a number of years, but even in the face of this discouraging fact, a large number of people turned out for the ceremonies marking the cornerstone laying of Beth El synagogue, the new Jewish temple, being erected on West Main street, Flat River. Due to the low temperature, which prevailed, the program, which had been planned for outdoors, was given in the Presbyterian Church directly across the street from the new temple. All services were held there except the final brief ceremony of actually placing the stone.

The program, both interesting and entertaining, was carried out in full with the single exception of an address by Judge Hartman, prominent jurist and leader in Masonic circles of St. Louis. Because of illness, Judge Hartman was unable to attend and sent his sincere regrets. Greetings to the new member of Flat River's church family were extended by the Rev. E. M. Romine, pastor of the First Christian Church, Flat River, and the Rev. Fr. J. A. Cunningham, pastor of the Desloge and Rivermines Catholic churches. Samuel J. Rusack of St. Louis acted as master of ceremonies and carried the program through in splendid style. The principal address of the occasion was delivered by Rabbi Julian Miller, prominent St. Louisan, and his talk was a delight to his hearers. Ladies, comprising the Ladies Auxiliary of the Beth El organization, took part in the ceremony with a song service, and the inside services were concluded with the singing of "America" by the audience.

In the cornerstone, which was placed immediately following the services, was placed a copy of last week's issue of The Lead Belt News, a page each from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Globe-Democrat, names of charter members of Beth El organization and the Ladies Auxiliary and a copy of B'Nai Brith, a Jewish paper of the current month.

Beth El will be of pleasing architectural lines, as will be noted from the cut which we are printing in this issue. It will be sufficient to accommodate members, not only in this immediate vicinity, but many additional from Southeast Missouri, who have formerly been forced to go to St. Louis upon occasions marked by special religious ceremonies in the Jewish faith. It is a welcome addition to our long list of churches and will fill a long-felt want for those who have brought it into existence.

Below is the article in the Lead Belt News documenting the laying of the cornerstone in Dec 1925

The photo above was taken at the annual meeting of the synagogue probably sometime around 1933.

Click photo to enlarge.

close up of star of david over front door

recent photo of building

Temple Beth El had a sunday school, held Bar Mitzvahs and celebrated the major holidays. Rabbis came in from the seminaries in New York and Cincinnati to run high holy day services. During the rest of the year,  services were run by the lay leadership.

Temple Beth El closed in the late 1950s. Its assets were turned into the Beth El Congregation of Flat River Assistance Fund and it was used to help with transportation to the Jewish Hospital of St. Louis and also helped the  Jewish Day School in St. Louis

Copyright © 2010  Ross DeHovitz


list placed in cornerstone of founding members