It was at a meeting in the home of Morris and Ruth Krouk in Clark, New Jersey in January of 1958 that a small group of men and women announced plans for a synagogue to fulfill the religious and educational needs of the Jewish community. The Clark Jewish Center was thus born, with an initial membership of 50 families. Three years later, construction began on a permanent home on Valley Road; and soon thereafter the name of the congregation was changed to Temple Beth O’r.
As the synagogue grew, it added a Hebrew School, a Hebrew High, USY and Kadima Youth Groups, Sisterhood and Men’s Clubs, Young Marrieds and Senior Groups. TBO had become a vibrant Jewish Center for all of Union County and beyond, and a welcoming tabernacle for all ages.
In 1992, Temple Beth Torah of Rahway joined with us to become one family – Temple Beth O’r Beth Torah.
Our congregation has been blessed since its inception with dedicated and beloved leadership, both religious and lay. Rabbi Thodore Stampfer served as the first full time spiritual leader beginning in 1961. He was followed over the years by Rabbis Jonathan Porath, Shawn Zell, and Michael Klayman. Steven Stern who had served as Hazzan was chosen to assume the religious leadership in 2008.
In recent years TBOBT has been reinvigorated with the energy of its leaders and volunteers. In 2012 artist David Ascalon was commissioned to redesign our bima wall, and the result is a stunning panel of stained glass windows over blocks of Jerusalem stone. Our Hebrew School is once again growing with the sounds of children emanating from the classrooms as the next generation learns about Jewish history, religion and values.
The temple calendar is filled with religious and cultural programming that includes classes, lectures, concerts and performances that are open to the entire community. Many of our programs on health, fitness, the environment and adults with special needs have received widespread recognition.
Entering our 60th year, TBOBT looks forward with gratitude for what we have been able to accomplish, and with enthusiasm about our vision for the future.