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by Carla
Rated: E · Article · Religious · #1368762
A new Rabbi was installed in the temple in Flagler County, Florida.
Temple Beth Shalom of Palm Coast Celebrates the Installation of New Rabbi

Rabbi Merrill Shapiro has worn a variety of hats, from a staff member instructing electronics and amateur radio and research assistant in Jerusalem to prison chaplain, educator and congregational rabbi here in the states.

On Sunday, December 2, Rabbi Shapiro was installed as the new spiritual leader of Temple Beth Shalom in Palm Coast. Martin Schulberg, President of the temple welcomed the many guests to this note worthy event. Gloria Max, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Volusia and Flagler Counties and Flagler County Commissioner Milissa Holland contributed their welcome wishes. The Temple Beth Shalom Choir under the direction of Marina Lapina provided musical interludes during the program. Chaplain Bob Sturgeon, President of the Flagler area Ministerial Association welcomed the new Rabbi and his family to Flagler County and explained the many valuable services the association offers to the county through its member churches. Rabbis from the surrounding areas including Mark Golman, Richard Margolis, Gary Perras and Gerald Zelermyer installed the new rabbi. Each gave a learned speech in honor of the occasion and Rabbi Shapiro accepted his new position as head of the Jewish community of Palm Coast. Followed by a benediction speech, in which Schulberg thanked Rabbi Shapiro for choosing to come to Temple Beth Shalom. Refreshments were offered following the installation.

The new Rabbi will inspire religious growth and stimulate and enrich Jewish knowledge in the community. In an interview Rabbi Shapiro said, “Many Jews in Flagler and neighboring counties have assimilated into the general society and find themselves on the margins of Jewish communal life. I am excited to partner with the Beth Shalom family in reaching out to Jews near and far and helping them rediscover the bonds they have with Jews past, present and future, here and in the four corners of the world.” He added, “I am proud to be associated with the address of the Jewish community of one of the fastest growing areas of the country, proud to be a part of the endeavor and the journey called Temple Beth Shalom.”

Rabbi Shapiro arrived in Palm Coast this past summer, to assume his new duties. “I've come to Beth Shalom and found a warm, caring and loving family. Actually, I find it difficult to comprehend and a wonder to behold the way members of Temple Beth Shalom run to help each other, the way their hearts seem to beat as one in times of trouble as in times of joy,” Shapiro said.

Schulberg said, “Sunday, December 2, 2007, will long be remembered by Flagler County's Jewish community. An overflow crowd of congregants, invited dignitaries and friends ushered in the installation of Temple Beth Shalom's new Rabbi, Merrill Shapiro. Rabbi Shapiro offers warmth, leadership and a hoped for growth of temple Beth Shalom in Flagler County. L'Chaim, to life.”

Seventeen year old Emily Feinberg has been a member of Temple Beth Shalom since her Hebrew naming at 3 months old. She is a member of the temple choir and a former Hebrew School Teacher at Beth Shalom. In an interview following the installation, Emily said, “I am the founder and President of the Yod B'Yod (Hand in Hand) Teen Group. I am so thrilled to have Rabbi Merrill Shapiro and his wife Robin Shapiro as a part of our synagogue. They came to us in our time or need and have done everything in their power to help us become the united temple we should be; especially since we are the only temple in Palm Coast. Rabbi Shapiro and his wife immediately became active with every group in our temple, such as the Men's Club, the Sisterhood, the Teen Group and the Religious School. I am thrilled to know our temple has found these dedicated and devoted people, and I can't wait to see our congregation and Jewish community flourish under their leadership.”

In 1973 Jewish residents of Palm Coast came together for Temple Beth Shalom’s first Friday night service, which took place at the Welcome Center. Temple Israel of Daytona Beach donated prayer books and about 35 adults and children attended the service.

Membership grew and by the end of 1977 it was evident that the temple needed a home. In February of 1978 a committee found and purchased the three-acre lot on Wellington Drive. On March 12, 1979 approximately 60 families gathered at 40 Wellington Drive to break ground for the start of Temple Beth Shalom. The footings were poured in September of 1979. On March 4 a moving service culminated the six-year wait for a home of their own. More than 110 people attended that first Sabbath service in Temple Beth Shalom. The building was officially dedicated on Sunday, June 1, 1980.

Temple Beth Shalom comes together every Friday evening at 8 p.m. and Shabbat mornings at 9:15 a.m. for services. Everyone is welcome. For information on programs and service provided by the temple call (386) 445-3006.
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