Congregation Beth Sholom
of Citrus County

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History

Temple Beth Sholom was officially dedicated on Sunday, February 21, 1971. The congegation was started about 3 years earlier by about 40 members of the Jewish faith who felt there was a need to serve the Jewish community of Beverly Hills and all of Citrus County. After the early years of dealing with makeshift facilities, the late Sam Kellner, the founder and developer of Beverly Hills, built a Temple buiding on an acre of land which he deeded to the Jewish residents of Beverly Hills.
 
The original membership of the Congregation was dedicated and resourceful. The sanctuary building was an all-purpose building, being used for services to dances to Bingo. For years, they existed wtihout the services of a Rabbi. Services were conducted by a group of more learned members of the Congregation. After several years, the building proved inadequate. More room was needed. On November 28, 1976, ground was broken for an addiitonal building behind the original structure. This building, now referred to as the Kellner Auditorium. The underlying thought back in the 1970s was that eventually it would serve the needs of a much larger Congregation. That did not prove to be the case. Instead, , it served the social and fundraising needs of the Congregation and is used as a meeting hall. Congregation Beth Sholom still maintains two buildings. The sanctuary building and Kellner Auditorium, which still exists as the place for social and community events.

In 1993, Rabbi Zvi Ettinger arrived with plans for the Congregation that were never considered before. He started an adult education program in Jewish history and literacy. He urged the formation of a Sunday School for the youngsters of Citrus County. The school started modestly in September 1994 with 5 eager students. By 1996, it had 13 students.
 
Congregation Beth Sholom has been in existance for nearly 50 years. There have been years of prosperity as well as years of declining membership numbers. Congregants have shown love and support for the Congregation by regularly attending worship services, observing and celebrating holidays, studying and enjoying the fellowship of other Jews.
 
As we near our 50th anniversary, let us pay a tribute to those dedicated congregants who provided us with a gathering place that continues to represent a sanctified way of living within the beauty of our traditions.
 
Beth Sholom remains the only Conservative Congregation in 7 county area.