Temple Beth-El’s rich history dates to the late 19th century. It is believed that Julius Myers was among the early Jewish residents of Alpena, settling in the area sometime before 1867. The successful clothier would later serve as president of Alpena’s Hebrew Benevolent Society, founded in 1875 for the purpose of “buying a burial ground", which they did that year.

The Hebrew Benevolent society began to organize for a synagogue, forming a congregation known as Beth Tefelol. Once that entity formally separated from the Society and acquired a corporate existence, it adopted the name "Temple Beth El." The first organizational meeting of the new congregation was held on Sunday, October 19, 1890. It was at that meeting that arrangements were made for the purchase of a frame building on Hitchcock Street in Alpena, for a purchase price of $1,100. The Jewish congregation concluded its negotiations for the purchase of this property on February 13, 1891. 

That building, which was moved to its current location on White Street, still serves as the home of Temple Beth-El and it is one of America’s relatively few surviving 19th-century synagogues. 

Source: An American Shetl A History of the Jewish Community of Alpena, Michigan by Robert Leyman, Student Rabbi October 2, 1958

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125 E. White Street
Alpena, MI 49707
GPS: 45.05917, -83.43621
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