The Fairmount Temple

The Fairmount Temple in Beachwood, Ohio is the current home of the Anshe Chesed congregation of more than1500 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 40 years before the reformed congregation moved to a new site on Scovill Avenue and Henry Street (near East 55th). 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 40 years in the first half of the century. The Euclid Avenue building is also 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 building is now occupied by the Liberty Hill Baptist Church.

Images

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.
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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.
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