Temple Beth Shalom, the synagogue and Jewish House of Worship in Greater FWB and Okaloosa County, is set to celebrate a significant milestone this week. On Wednesday, July 19, at 4 PM, the temple will mark its 38th anniversary since its founding in 1985.
- The event will be held at Temple Beth Shalom, with doors opening at 3:30pm and festivities expected to continue until 5pm or later.
This celebration holds particular significance as it not only commemorates the temple’s longstanding presence but also pays tribute to the remaining founding and charter members who played instrumental roles in its establishment.
Among the esteemed individuals attending the event are:
- Judge Erwin and Jo Fleet
- Dr. Arthur and Linda Lester
- David and Marsha Kaplan
- Mrs. Cheryl Elul, with the late Rafi Elul being remembered.
The idea to organize this celebration came from Gerry Gross, a temple member and leader who is also an ambassador to the FWB Chamber of Commerce. Gross saw an opportunity to honor Temple Beth Shalom’s accomplishments and involve the wider community.
“Being an ambassador to the Chamber, I thought it’d be a great idea to have Temple Beth Shalom celebrated in a ribbon cutting,” he said. “Normally you would think to celebrate 40 years, but some of our charter members and founding members are getting up in age.”
One particularly notable figure among the founding members is Judge Erwin Fleet, who is 96-years-old. Not only is he a founder of Temple Beth Shalom, but served on the bench for more than 40 years in Okaloosa County, and served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Fort Walton Beach Chamber back in the 1960s.
- His deep connection to the community is further exemplified by the fact that a street in Shalimar, near the Okaloosa County Administration Building, bears his name.
Prior to establishing Temple Beth Shalom, Jewish children had to attend religious school in Pensacola. For many local families, the addition of Temple Beth Shalom allowed their children to spend time with other Jewish children.
“As a working mom, rather than having to drive them to Pensacola, which was what my husband Bart Fleet had to do, having a local temple made it more convenient for my children to attend weekly religious school,” said Tisha Fleet, daughter-in-law to Judge Fleet.
The celebration will commence with people gathering at Temple Beth Shalom at around 3:30pm this Wednesday. The official ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for 4pm.
- Following the ceremony, guests will have the opportunity to enjoy food, drinks, and music inside the temple.
Temple Beth Shalom’s 38th anniversary celebration promises to be a joyous occasion, uniting the community to honor the Temple’s rich history and pay homage to the dedicated individuals who played pivotal roles in its establishment.
Temple Beth Shalom is located at 227 Beal Parkway NW, Fort Walton Beach, Fl 32548