By Jane Keller Gordon, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – More than 70 years ago, on Oct. 24, 1945, the doors opened to Temple Emanuel’s first house of worship, a Victorian on Newton Street in Marlborough. This congregation is about to celebrate its 76th anniversary – it was formed a few years before moving to Newton Street.
In 1969, Temple Emanuel moved to its current home – a small, modern-style building on Berlin Road in Marlborough, set amidst a residential neighborhood.
The synagogue, small but active, is unaffiliated, but leans toward the conservative movement according to Sherri Greenstein Himle, one of two vice presidents.
The building holds some interesting history, as does a binder kept there, filled with old clippings kept inside plastic sheet protectors.
Mounted on the wall at the Berlin Road site are old memorial plaques; one for Henne Saperston is dated May 3, 1943. The ark contains two Torahs that were originally used at
the Newton Street location.
In 1976, Temple Emanuel reached its largest membership, about 80 families, when RCA briefly opened a manufacturing facility in Marlborough. Membership levels dropped when the RCA facility was closed, a short time later.
The congregation held a “mortgage burning ceremony and celebration” in 1988 when the final payment was made on the Berlin Street location.
Commenting on the current membership, Greenstein Himle said, “Most of our members are from Marlborough, Hudson, Stow and Berlin, with a few outlying areas. We have 35 to 40 families as members.”
Part-time spiritual leaders Rabbi Scott Sokol and Cantor Linda Sue Sohn lead Temple Emanuel.
Rabbi Sokol presides over Friday night services two times a month. Once a month he runs an adult education breakfast. The rabbi and cantor are present for bar and bat mitzvah services. There is a small religious school, which now has 10 students from six families. A new library is almost complete, annexed out of classroom space.
Temple Emanuel’s sisterhood published a fundraising cookbook, “The Butcher, The Baker, and the Challah,” in 1977 and again in 2010. The sisterhood meets monthly for breakfast at the temple, and also runs a book group that meets at member’s houses.
The congregation has held more recent fundraising events as well.
“We usually cover our costs with membership dues, but will call out to the congregation if we need to,” Greenstein Himle said. “They always step up. We are working on a capital campaign now.”
Temple Emanuel welcomes visitors to their High Holy Day services. The fee is $125 for all Rosh Hashanah services, and $125 for all Yom Kippur services. For more information, email Temple Emanuel at [email protected].