With an aging congregation and the challenges of a global pandemic, Congregation Beth Sholom of Gulfport is closing its doors.
Congregation Beth Sholom of Gulfport has been standing as a place of worship since the 1950s. However, with membership dwindling to the point of extinction, the synagogue is set to sell at the end of March.
The temple, which could hold 150 to 200 people, sat nearly empty at the final service in April.
“We just don’t have enough people and therefore, we can’t continue on,” said Beth Sholom President Marlene Simmons. “It really is very sad; we had so few people and many were elderly.”
The small temple, located at 1844 54th St S., held its last service in April with no official Rabbi, and with six people in attendance.
“We held a few meetings to discuss how this is not working,” Beth Sholom board member Evan Cohn said. “A few old-timers wanted to hold on, but physically there was nothing we could really do.”
According to Cohn, the sale is still in the works, but the building will remain as a place of worship. With the process still pending, leaders are hesitant to discuss finer details.
Any profits from the transaction will be liquidated into several local Jewish charities; the Tree of Life and other spiritual treasures will most likely go to another, larger synagogue – Congregation B’nai Israel.
“It was never a matter of money for us,” Simmons said. “It was membership.”