Temple Beth Shalom serves the Jewish Community of Polk County, Florida
Temple Beth Shalom was founded in 1982 by a small group of Jewish families who recognized the need for a Reform Jewish identity in Polk County, Florida.
Located in central Florida along the I-4 Corridor, Polk is sometimes considered a part of the Tampa Bay Area; however, some of its eastern communities have closer ties to the Greater Orlando metropolitan area. Though the majority of our members are from the two largest cities, Lakeland and Winter Haven, we also have members from Haines City, Auburndale, Bartow, and Lake Wales.
Beth Shalom is a welcoming congregation. Our greatest benefit might be our size: we are large enough to satisfy the needs of our members yet small enough to provide a relaxed setting with genuine warmth and friendliness. In a region where Jewish people comprise a very small minority, Beth Shalom is our extended family. Interfaith families are welcome.
Temple Beth Shalom associated immediately with the Union for Reform Judaism. During our early years, we gathered in facilities leased from schools, churches, and community organizations. Our first Religious School – fifteen children and six teachers - was held in a chandelier showroom. In our first year, we celebrated three Bar Mitzvahs and a confirmation.
In the early 90’s, we purchased land on Bradbury Road midway between Winter Haven and Lakeland. On April 26, 2003, 21 years after our first meeting, we dedicated our own building. In addition to a newly remodeled sanctuary, our facility includes a social hall, two classrooms, a kitchen, a library with a collection of children’s books as well as contemporary fiction and non-fiction for adults, and an office which also serves as the rabbi’s study. The building is located on a lovely, landscaped lot that is large enough for future expansion.
In the late 90’s, even before we had our own building, Temple Beth Shalom purchased a section of the Rolling Hills Burial Park of Winter Haven. This area is marked by two stone pillars donated by Beth Shalom families. You will find a separate publication on funerals, burial and bereavement on this website.
Religious Services, Holidays and ceremonies from annual cycles to life cycles
Temple membership is open to all who express interest in the Jewish faith. Annual dues are $800.00 per family and $450.00 per single adult. Religious school tuition is $150 per child or $250 per family. Dues are payable within 90 days of the beginning of the new fiscal year. If members cannot meet this criteria, please see the President and/or the treasurer. Membership rights are never denied or restricted based on financial circumstances. Contributions to the building fund and other special funds are voluntary.
Please download a copy of our membership application
Please download a copy of our membership brochure
Temple Beth Shalom Cemetery Information
All through the ages, Jewish communities, large and small, have provided for one another. We celebrate together: the joys of birth, B'nai Mitzvot and weddings. Inevitably we mourn together the death of loved ones. As a community we share in life's events. Beth Shalom has now fulfilled a sacred trust by providing a Jewish cemetery to serve the Beth Shalom family.
The advantages are clear
Death is often an unexpected tragedy. At such times, thoughtful, considered decisions are difficult to make. We often act in ways we later regret. Preparation now will help ease the anxiety, expense and upheaval of an untimely death.
For the first time, we have a true Jewish cemetery in the spirit of our congregation. Beth Shalom has made arrangements with the City of Winter Haven to purchase a parcel of land at the Rolling Hills site to be designated as the Beth Shalom Cemetery. The designated area will be overseen by our trustees in matters of Jewish law and tradition and physically maintained in perpetuity by the City of Winter Haven.
While plots will be available to Jewish non-members, members will benefit from:
Yahrtzeit Plaque Order Form
Orders are now being taken for the Temple Beth Shalom Memorial (Yahrtzeit) board.
Download your order form (.pdF) HERE
Links to local area interests
Learn more about Polk County, Florida: http://polk-county.com/
Another Polk County Info Page: http://www.gate.net/~rwms/polk.html
Local newspaper: http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/frontpage
Polk County School Board: http://www.polk-fl.net
Polk County Visitors and Convention Bureau: http://www.sunsational.org