Fall River’s Temple Beth El exploring building sale


FALL RIVER, Mass. – The board of directors of Temple Beth El is recommending that the temple, on High Street, be put up for sale.

In a Dec. 19 letter to the congregation, temple president Stephen Silverman outlined the current state of membership and finances, which led the board to make the recommendation.

The congregation, the last remaining in Fall River, has seen its membership dwindle to 112 members from 600 in the 1950s. In addition, 35 of the current members live out of town, according to the letter to congregants.

The sanctuary, with its beautiful dome, seats 650.

The endowment fund has decreased 28% over five years as more funds go toward rising expenses. A preschool that rents space in the building has a lease that expires in 2025, and is currently building its own facility. And the 95-year-old temple building itself has a number of costly maintenance needs.

Silverman’s letter asked congregants to comment by Dec. 31. He said if the congregation agrees with the recommendation then the board will pursue hiring a real estate broker to sell the building.

According to reports, the congregation will then look for another venue to worship and stay together.

Fran Ostendorf, Editor