Beth El having Purim events to honor 50th anniversary

The entire Boca Raton-area community is invited to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim throughout the day on Sunday, March 12 as Temple Beth El of Boca Raton — the first synagogue in Boca — continues to commemorate its 50th anniversary.

Temple Beth El of Boca Raton began with a Purim Tea in the spring of 1967.

June Michel, one of the temple’s founding members, documented the early history of the synagogue as follows, “It was the spring of 1967, the year of our birth. Being Jewish in Boca Raton posed a challenge. A challah (braided bread) was unheard of; Hanukkah candles were non-existent; a temple was miles away — too many miles away for a small handful of Jewish women who decided that the time had come for the few Jewish families in town to come together.”

From that humble beginning, Temple Beth El of Boca Raton has grown to be one of the largest congregations in South Florida.

“Temple Beth El of Boca Raton is experiencing tremendous success today because those who came before us had the courage to take great risks,” said Beth El Executive Director Steve Kaufman. “Today we are reaping the rewards of those risks. It would be foolish to believe that our current leadership is solely responsible for our achievements and not recognize those who laid the foundation for us.”

Three separate events are being planned for March 12 to honor this golden anniversary, beginning with a lively Purim Spiel (comic play) and Oneg (festive refreshments) in the mid-morning; followed by a fun-filled carnival in the late morning/early afternoon; and concluding with a commemorative Golden Anniversary Purim Chai Tea in the late afternoon/early evening.

All events will take place at the temple’s Schaefer Family Campus (located at 333 S.W. 4th Ave. in east Boca Raton) and are open to the public. Come for any or all of these Purim celebratory events.

The temple’s 50th Anniversary Purim Spiel starts at 10 a.m. Join some of the temple’s founding members as the synagogue celebrates 50 years of Temple Beth El and the Purim story told through five decades of pop music with clever Purim-related lyrics. The Purim Spiel is titled “Still Crazy After All These (50) Years.” Purim costumes are welcomed! An Oneg will be served after the service.
Between 11:15 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Temple Beth El will then transform its parking lot and social hall into a carnival space for a Purim in the Park Carnival, including wild rides, slides and obstacle courses, games, activities, face painting, a photo booth, a costume contest — and a special area for preschool-age children.

Food for purchase will include hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, Hamantaschen(Purim pastries) — and fun snacks like popcorn, cotton candy and more.

Purchase an Unlimited Rides and Games Wristband online for $8 through Thursday, March 9 and for $15 after March 9 or on the day of event. Children 2-and-under are free; as are adults with children.

Finally, from 4:30 to 6 p.m., the synagogue will have its Golden Anniversary Purim Chai Tea to commemorate that special Purim Tea in 1967 which created Temple Beth El. All will enjoy a hot and cold beverage bar, gourmet sandwiches, plentiful hors d’oeuvres and fancy desserts (including Hamantaschen).

Whoever has had a simcha (Jewish celebration) at the temple will be acknowledged at the Purim Tea. All are welcome. Cost for the Chai Tea is $25 per person.

“In our fast-paced world, it’s sometimes useful to stop and look back,” said Barry Podolsky, Temple Beth El president. “Our 50th anniversary is a perfect time to do that. We were founded by passionate pioneers looking to build a new House of Worship, a House of Assembly (community) and a House of Learning.

“How ‘civilized’ that the first event was an afternoon tea — an activity rarely celebrated in America today. But maybe an afternoon tea is a better method of engagement and community-building than communicating by text or email.”

For more information about these Purim events or the temple in general — or to register for the Purim Carnival or Chai Tea — visit or call 561-391-8900.



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