OVERVIEW AND HISTORY
Temple Beth El Israel is located on Florida’s Treasure Coast in Port St. Lucie, Florida, a growing community of 200,000 full-time and seasonal residents. Port St. Lucie is about 100 miles southeast of Orlando and 50 miles directly north of the Palm Beaches.
St. Lucie West, a planned community within the City of Port St. Lucie, is the site of the New York Mets spring training facility and home to the St. Lucie Mets. Local points of interest include the PGA Professionals Learning Center with accompanying golf courses. Additionally, there is an 8,300 square foot PGA Historical Center in the heart of the PGA Village. St. Lucie West is seven miles from the expansive Indian River and ten miles from the beautiful Atlantic Ocean beaches. Modern medical facilities, restaurants, movie theatres, post office, colleges and universities, and shopping are all conveniently located within the St. Lucie West community.
Temple Beth El Israel functions as the house of worship and center for Jewish education for residents of the Treasure Coast. Established in the late 1940’s, the original Temple Beth El consisted of a small number of Jewish families with a commitment to establishing a regional reform congregation. With the assistance of a retired rabbi, Temple Beth El was originally chartered in 1948. Some of the original members from Ft. Pierce and Stuart along with their extended families remain as active members. For several decades Temple Beth El served as the only synagogue located on the Treasure Coast. Membership included Jewish families from Ft. Pierce, Vero Beach, Stuart, and Okeechobee. The original synagogue facility was located in Ft. Pierce and was sold to St. Johns United Methodist Church in the late 1970’s.
During the 1980’s, the membership of Temple Beth El constructed a new facility located on Oleander Avenue in an area known as White City (an unincorporated area adjacent to Ft. Pierce). Also during the decade of the 80s, Congregation Beth Israel was established within the City of Port St. Lucie.
In the early 1990’s, negotiations began to unite Temple Beth El with Congregation Beth Israel; and Temple Beth El Israel was established. With the sale of two separate facilities, a new synagogue was built in St. Lucie West at 551 SW Bethany Drive.
St. Lucie West is a modern community designed with residential, commercial, recreational, educational, and spiritual elements within a seven-square-mile area. The community boasts several first-rate golf courses and serves as the spring training site for the New York Mets. Strategically located between Interstate 95 and the Florida Turnpike, the location of Temple Beth El Israel is convenient for congregants and serves the growing Jewish community. The current facility for Temple Beth El Israel has a large sanctuary, a social hall, a commercial kitchen, and a religious school.
Temple Beth El Israel has a rich heritage. From humble beginnings on North 23rd Street in Fort Pierce, the roots of the Temple have spread into one of the fastest-growing areas in the country. With a very limited Jewish population in the early 1940’s, a debt of gratitude is owed to the pioneering families with the necessary vision to establish the original synagogue. Today, Temple Beth El Israel is positioned to serve as a viable center for the spiritual, cultural, educational, and social elements associated with Judaism.