Shul Destroyed by Fire, Being Rebuilt

Get close enough to the building that used to house the Hebrew Congregation of Woodmont and you’ll get a whiff of its burnt-out interior, empty since an Oct. 14 fire ravaged the building.

Things are finally looking up for the beleaguered temple, however. On Sunday, about 150 supporters and dignitaries turned out for the ground-breaking for what will be a much-improved synagogue and social hall that will be used year-round.

Officially called the Hebrew Congregation of Woodmont/Chabad — it merged with the Chabad Jewish Center of Milford in 2007 — the historic temple was for years one of the very few synagogues in the nation that operated only seasonally. It catered to Jews who vacationed along the Woodmont shoreline, the so-called “Bagel Beach.”

“There was never any question that we would rebuild,” said Chanie (pronounced like “Connie”) Wilhelm, who emceed the noontime event; she’s the wife of the temple’s rabbi, Rabbi Schneur Wilhelm.

Since the blaze, the congregation has been meeting in the municipal community center across the street.


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