How we started
Temple Beth El was founded after World War II when members of the Jewish community of the Permian Basin met for religious purposes, raised funds, and built its first building at 4th and West County Road in Odessa. This building was dedicated in the fall of 1946. As today, the membership came from many cities, large and small, in West Texas and Eastern New Mexico.
Eventually, our congregation moved into its present facility, which was dedicated in January 1962. The spirit of our earlier days remains with us, represented by the cornerstone from the original building, which the synagogue members brought with them when they moved. The “melting pot” of Judaism established in the Permian Basin has survived only through the dedication and willingness of its members. The duties of leadership, administration, fund-raising, and education for the religious school and adults, as well as the religious services and rituals have most often fallen to the members.
Over the years of the Temple’s existence, our rabbinic leadership has been from five full-time rabbis as well as part-time rabbis, who visited one or two weekends a month. We have also been blessed to have many student rabbis.
Temple Beth El is affiliate with both the Union for Reform Judaism AND the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
Today, the Here and Now
WELCOME!Our membership has varied significantly over time. We've gone from 45 families in 1974, to 112 families in 1982. We now have about 60 families (including single members) belonging to the Temple.
We welcome both individual and family members. We understand that some families are comprised of mixed faiths, and so we especially want to thank those parents who are not Jewish for joining us in celebrating and educating our Jewish youth. We encourage participation of the whole family!