BROTHERHOOD OF TEMPLE BETH EL
The Brotherhood of Temple Beth El, established in 1919, was one of the first brotherhoods in the country. In 1923 we helped found the National Federation of Temple Brotherhoods.
The founders of Temple Beth El Men’s Club sought a way for men to become more active in congregational life, while enhancing camaraderie and enriching the social and cultural life of members. The concept was an immediate success from the very first project held in December 1919.
The Men’s Club rapidly grew to over 800 members. Its members over the years offered support to existing Temple programs, routinely created new programs where there was a need, built fraternal bonds, and provided a pool of volunteers for the congregation ranging from ushers to those visiting the homes of the bereaved. This vibrant and dynamic group existed for the next 60 years until the social forces of the late 20th century began to take their toll. Traditional male roles changed both within and without the congregation. Many no longer perceived the pivotal position played by Brotherhood and saw Brotherhood membership as a less valued asset in their lives. Temple members often found ways outside the congregation to express their interests and concerns.
The Temple Beth El Brotherhood of the 21st century has treated these challenges as obstacles to overcome. We have expanded membership to the entire community. Our programs are open to all – not just Brotherhood members. Brotherhood has formed linkages to other synagogues and faith communities for purposes of joint action to address social ills. We have attempted to convert Brotherhood to an organization of action and one of leadership, while being cognizant of our 94-year commitment to Temple Beth El, the Reform Movement, and Detroit’s Jewish community. Brotherhood no longer tries to fit members into “little boxes,” but seeks to have each member express the person’s interests and meet the person’s concerns. Our goal is to make Brotherhood a value added component in the lives of each of its members.