Beth Israel Center celebrates 50 years

Beth Israel Center celebrates 50 years

Even though Beth Israel Center marked its 50th anniversary in February, the celebrations won’t start for a couple more weeks.
“It’s a huge milestone because we are a small congregation,” said Carolee Burack, Beth Israel Center’s historian. “We are like a family.”
Beth Israel Center received its Articles of Incorporation Feb. 3, 1959. Ground didn’t break on the building until 1962. For the years in-between, the congregation met at a Presbyterian church and an elementary school.
To kick-off the 50th anniversary celebration, Beth Israel, which is in Pleasant Hills, will bring in Rosina Fernhoff to give a special dramatic presentation of “Snow People,” on Wednesday, May 20. The performance is being made possible through a contribution from the Synagogues Learning Innovation Grant Fund of the United Jewish Federation and the B’nai Brith Lecture Bureau.
Following the May 20 event, the reunion weekend will take place from June 26 to 28 where current and past members will reunite.
“We are very excited that people are coming back from all over the country,” Burack said.
Beth Israel Center sent out around 300 letters to not only its current congregation of 58 families, but to those who have since relocated and have left Pittsburgh.
“Our initial goal was to have 100 people come back,” Burack said. “We’re already expecting 100, my personal goal is for 150.”
The weekend will celebrate the 50 years Beth Israel Center has been around with special events each day.
Included in those events is a special slideshow being put on by Beth Israel Center with photos dating back to the groundbreaking ceremony 50 years ago.
The photos being used are from Burack’s new book that will hopefully be released by the end of May.
“The People of Beth Israel Center-Fifty Years” incorporates the congregation’s entire history. With over 700 color photographs and essays written by current and past members, the 350-page book provides a thorough history of Beth Israel Center.

(Mike Zoller can be reached at

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