The painting of Santa Fe’s Temple Beth Shalom by Tommy Macaione is a reflection of the love and beauty that went into its creation. On December 5, 1946, the Santa Fe Jewish Temple came into existence. A decade later, in 1956, the the temple opened. Architect John Gaw Meem, who is famous for his Pueblo Revival buildings throughout New Mexico, designed the building on Barcelona Street. The temple changed to Temple Beth Shalom in 1970. Today, the congregation counts close to 400 families among its members. In 1987 a new building became the current temple. The original building is used as a preschool and library. The Las Vegas Torah, the oldest in New Mexico, is one of the major features of the library.
Santa Fe’s First Rabbi
Temple Beth Shalom became the first synagogue for Santa Fe’s best-known rabbi. Leonard A. Helman came to New Mexico in 1974. He was 48 when he arrived and served as a rabbi until his death in 2013. He left an indelible mark on local history in the City Different. Many of the original Jewish families, including founding families of Temple Beth Shalom, helped start Congregation Beit Tikva. Rabbi Leonard Helman served at that temple on Old Pecos Trail. The rabbi became popular through his ability to incorporate life’s messages that he passed along to his congregation. His funeral took place at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. It was the first funeral for a Jewish rabbi in a Catholic church in Santa Fe, the City of Holy Faith.