Welcome to our website here in Green Valley, AZ. We are a small congregation, with an oversized heart. We come together “to pray, play and take care of each other”, under the spiritual leadership of Rabbi Norman Roman.
Most of our members have come from places all over the country, to retire in the warmth of the desert here in sunny Arizona. If you are looking for a place to meet others and share Jewish Life please stop by the Temple or call Mike Finkelstein, our Membership Chairman, at 520-393-0317. Tell him Dan sent you.
Dan Galitz, President
Please print and complete the application forms and return to:
Beth Shalom Temple Center
P.O. Box 884
Green Valley, AZ 85622
Or fill out electronically and email mfinkel2
BSTC Vision Statement
Beth Shalom Temple Center's vision is to be the Jewish religious and social center in Green Valley and its environs open to all people as the place to come to find inspiration, camaraderie and spiritual comfort.
BSTC Mission Statement
Beth Shalom Temple Center's mission is to link its members to Jewish history, ethics and values through social and religious programming, to engender a sense of family and community, to represent its interests to the larger community, and to partner with others who share common goals.
It was a balmy day in Green Valley in the fall of 1981 when a young man came up and introduced himself as Jack Stone. He had moved to Green Valley from Chicago to help sell condominiums. He had noticed the Star of David necklace Ros was wearing and asked if we were Jewish. He had been looking for some Jewish friends, to no avail, and came to the conclusion that there weren’t any Jews in Green Valley. Through a series of outreach actions a group of about 30 Jewish people found each other and began to celebrate social and Jewish events together.
The group decided to call themselves The Jewish Friendship Club of Green Valley and met more often, on the second Sunday of each month for bagels and coffee at Pima Savings. Money was collected from each of the attendees to offset the costs.
The mission of the club was to establish a viable Jewish presence in Green Valley, where newcomers could meet to find friends and information about activities in town. We adopted a pay-as-you-go philosophy to cover the costs of each of our programs by the persons attending. Every affair was a break-even event run by the members who volunteered, without taxing those who did not attend.
Our organization was primarily designed for social activities, but we celebrated the major Jewish festivals, which included prayers appropriate for the occasion. Some of our members were interested in expanding the religious aspects of the group, and in time Friday night services were added.
Some of our members traveled to Tucson for Yizkor services during the High Holy Days. To accommodate them, we offered Yizkor services in Green Valley. This expanded over time to our providing full High Holy Day services run by volunteers. More recently we have been hiring professionals to conduct these services.
In 1992, two members gave a spontaneous donation of $10,000, to be held for the future construction of our own building. We formed a special, long-range planning committee, which recommended that we seriously consider buying land and constructing a building to house our various activities.
A land search committee found a suitable location of 4½-acres available for $65,000 from the bankrupt Fairfield Corporation. The committee recommended to the Board that we purchase this property, which we did.
Construction commenced in May 1994, and was completed in January 1995. A dedication ceremony was held on January 22, 1995, and a Torah was brought to the Temple from Los Angeles just for the occasion. The new building was filled to capacity with members and community friends. Representatives from the Green Valley Interfaith Council participated in the event.
Because our property is located in a residential zoned area, in order to secure a building permit, the building had to be designated for religious use. We called the members of the Friendship Club and the Foundation together for a special meeting to discuss our dilemma – how to keep our social format while being required to establish a religious purpose. We finally agreed to form an entirely new organization to include both. We called it the Beth Shalom Temple Center, an Arizona tax-exempt corporation that included the Friendship Club, the Tombstone Historical Jewish Cemetery, and the Green Valley Jewish Cemetery.
In subsequent years the temple building was expanded, adding the library and new entryway. The Chazanof Memorial Garden and Fountain, provides a special place of peace for our members.
Today, Beth Shalom Temple Center of Green Valley stands as a small, beautiful monument to the eternal desire of Jews of all persuasions to gather together in friendship and faith.
History of Beth Shalom Temple Center - Other Recollections
My son, Rande Gallant, nephew of Sam Gallant, brought my attention to the very interesting history written on the Beth Shalom Temple Center in Green Valley, Arizona. I would like to add the story of the Torah donated by the Gallant and Schulman families in memory of Sam. My husband, Jerry Gallant, (wife Elsa) was Sam's brother, and Jeanne Schulman ( husband Richard) was his sister. After Sam passed away, we felt we wanted to honor his memory in some appropriate way, and I believe Cappie Gallant was the one who came up with the idea of a Torah. My cousins, Rabbi Jack and Elissa Sable, lived in New York, and I called the Rabbi and asked him if he knew of anywhere we could get a Torah. Rabbi Sable had been a Chaplain in the military service, and he knew that there were Torahs that had been used during WW2 that were being sold by the military. He was able to purchase a "Kosher" Torah, which I'm told is one that has required no corrections to the beautifully handwritten text, and is a preferred Torah, although a bit pricier. We were all very excited by his find, and were thrilled to be able to present the Torah to your Temple. Rabbi and his wife came from New York to perform the dedication, and my husband and I drove from Los Angeles to be there also. There was quite a large turnout from your congregation, and although it was several years ago, I would not be surprised if one of your older members may have been there for the service.
I took over the Shofar around late 1992 or 1993 when Helen Chazanof was president of the Friendship Club. Les Simon was president for the first three years of the building. There were Jews in GV years ago, who gathered to celebrate the holidays at events that were usually organized by Jeanne and Dave Cohen. Elsie Mednick's husband, a professional chef, was frequently responsible for the food. Jerry and Civia Wohlman and Lil Solomon were also heavily involved. Ros Sirota gave the group a name and organized it more formally. As time went on and the Jewish Friendship Club grew, it became more and more difficult to find a place large enough to meet. Some people wanted their own building. That's why the Jewish Community Foundation was originally organized by Sam Gallant who gave a very large amount of money to get things started. When Sam became too sick to oversee construction, Dave Sirota took over. The foundation and the Temple merged in late 1994. At that time Hank Feinstein was president, but by the time of the building's dedication on January 15, 1995 (I think that's right) Les Simon was president.