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Temple Beth Israel - Stevens Point, WI
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member REUAHNESIE
N 44° 31.217 W 089° 35.010
16T E 294687 N 4932908
Quick Description: Synagogue of local Jewish community, built in 1905 and used through 1986. Now it is a museum.
Location: Wisconsin, United States
Date Posted: 10/14/2011 7:20:39 PM
Waymark Code: WMCVGY
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 0

Long Description:
Temple Beth Israel was constructed in 1905 and served as a house of worship for Stevens Point’s vibrant Jewish Community until 1985. At one time the congregation had 40-50 families from Stevens Point and surrounding communities as far away as Wisconsin Rapids, Weyauwega, Minocqua, and Marshfield.

The first Jewish families emigrated from Central Europe to Central Wisconsin as early as 1871. Beginning in 1892 the bulk of the Jewish community arrived from Eastern Europe.

Members of the Jewish community played key roles in the community's religious, civic and economic development. From 1871-2000, when the last Jewish business closed its doors, nearly 150 businesses had been established by members of the Jewish Community Stevens Point. Some were in business only a few years, but many were in operation for 40-60 years. During the 1930’s 40’s and 50’s there were 20-30 Jewish business in the downtown business district.

Beginning in the 1960’s the Jewish community began to dwindle as older members passed away or moved away in retirement and their children found their livelihood elsewhere. By 1985 the Beth Israel Congregation no longer could assemble a minyan (10 male members), required to conduct religious services. The board of trustees deeded the synagogue to the Portage County Historical Society to be used as a museum, memorializing the Stevens Point Jewish community. And with one other agreement any member of the Jewish community may be married or buried from this synagogue. The Rabbi from Wausau’s synagogue will conduct the services.

In 2007 Temple Beth Israel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the third oldest synagogue building in the State of Wisconsin and the oldest synagogue with its sanctuary intact. It currently houses a permanent exhibit about Jewish religious practices and the history of the Stevens Point Jewish community.

Temple Beth Israel is a rectangular wood frame structure with pointed arch windows filled with frosted and colored glass. The sanctuary, remodeled in 1951, is largely intact, including Torah scrolls and other religious objects.
Street address:
1475 Water St.
Stevens Point, WI USA
54481


County / Borough / Parish: Portage

Year listed: 2007

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Event

Periods of significance: 1950-1974, 1925-1949, 1900-1924

Historic function: Religion

Current function: Recreation And Culture

Privately owned?: yes

Season start / Season finish: From: 5/30/2011 To: 9/5/2011

Hours of operation: From: 1:00 PM To: 4:00 PM

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 2: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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