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Fairmount Temple

The Fairmount Temple in Beachwood, Ohio, is the current home of the Anshe Chesed congregation of more than 1,500 families. The temple, bearing the name of the street upon which it resides, follows the tradition of Cleveland's original Jewish congregation of German immigrants. Percival Goodman, a New York architect was assisted by Clevelander Sigmund Braverman to design the facility following World War II when congregation members were moving eastward from their downtown neighborhoods. In 1948, 32 acres of land were purchased along Fairmont Boulevard for a new synagogue location. Following a long zoning battle which ended in the Ohio Supreme Court, the City of Beachwood, Ohio issued a building permit in 1954 to erect the Fairmount Temple. The expansive facility serves the congregation's mission of "lifelong learning, worship, social action, and deeds of loving kindness."

The current site is the most recent of four temples providing a home for the congregation since 1842. In 1837, Simon Thorman was the first German from Bavaria of Jewish faith to settle in Cleveland, Ohio. Gathering fellow Jews, he formed a minyan and initiated the organization of a congregation of worshipers. By 1845, the cornerstone of Cleveland's first Jewish house of worship was laid. It was supported by Leonard Case, a non-Jewish Cleveland philanthropist. The Eagle Street Temple was built and dedicated in 1846 on the site now occupied by Progressive Field. The congregation experienced significant growth and splits during the next forty years before the reformed congregation moved to a new site on Scovill Avenue and Henry Street (near East 25th). Dedicated in 1887, the Scovill Avenue Temple served the congregation until further expansion fostered another move to the Euclid Avenue Temple at East 82nd Street in 1912.

The Anshe Chesed congregation continued to thrive at this location for more than forty years into the mid-20th century. The Euclid Avenue building is the home of eight Tiffany windows. When the congregation moved, however, the windows were deemed too old-fashioned for the newer Temple. Families moving to the eastern suburbs, combined with limited access and parking, prompted the congregation leaders to build a new facility in Cleveland's eastern suburbs. The Euclid Avenue Temple has been occupied by the Liberty Hill Baptist Church since 1956, when it became the first Black church on Euclid Avenue.

Audio

Nate Arnold Comments on Temple History Nate Arnold, local Jewish historian and member of the Anshe Chesed congregation, shares insights into the the story of Cleveland's first Jewish community. Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection
Nate Arnold Describes the Suburbanization of Anshe Chesed Nate Arnold, local Jewish historian and member of the Anshe Chesed congregation, tells how so many members moved eastward into the suburbs that the synagogue followed them. Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection

Images

The Fairmont Temple, Beachwood, Ohio The Anshe Chesed congregation acquired 32 acres of land along Fairmont Boulevard in Beachwood in 1947. The city denied the congregation a building permit until a legal challenge was decided by Ohio's Supreme Court in 1954. The current facility was dedicated on May 31, 1957, and remains the congregation's spiritual center. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections
Eagle Street Temple The Eagle Street Temple was built at a cost of $1500 shortly after the formation of the Anshe Chesed congregation in 1845. Land donated by Leonard Case, a principal in the Connecticut Land Company, was swapped for space on the south side of Eagle Street to locate the temple. Presently, the baseball infield of Progressive Field occupies this holy ground. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections
Scovill Avenue Temple The growing Anshe Chesed reform congregation moved from Eagle Street to Scovill Avenue and Henry Street (near East 25th Street) in 1887. This synagogue served the group for twenty five years. Source: fairmounttemple.org/history
Euclid Avenue Temple The Anshe Chesed congregation built and occupied the Euclid Avenue Temple between 1912 and 1957. During this time the congregation grew considerably and initiated an extensive education program, a hallmark of the group's mission. The striking brick structure features sanctuary windows by Tiffany. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections
The Fairmount Temple While meeting at the Euclid Temple during the first half of the last century, the congregation, led by Rabbi Brickner, focused upon education programs and The Young People's Congregation. This emphasis remains evident at The Fairmount Temple which was designed to house a large education facility. Creator: CSU Center for Public History + Digital Humanities
The Fairmount Temple Front Drive The Fairmount Temple is home to over 1,500 families in the congregation serving Cleveland's eastern Jewish community. The facility on Fairmount Boulevard houses education programs, an extensive library, worship facilities, and social event accommodations. Creator: CSU Center for Public History + Digital Humanities

Location

23737 Fairmount Blvd, Beachwood, OH 44122

Metadata

“Fairmount Temple,” Cleveland Historical, accessed September 30, 2022, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/404.