The Suburban Temple, Beachwood, OH, was established as a result of a series of discussion groups concerning religious education. On July 7, 1947, participants in these discussion groups officially resolved to organize a temple dedicated to the moral and ethical values commonly associated with early Reform Judaism. The first organizational committee, chaired by David Dietz, filed Articles of Incorporation on February 25, 1948, and held a charter membership meeting on March 15, to adopt a constitution and elect a board of trustees. David Dietz was selected president, and Norman Goldburg became the congregation’s rabbi. In addition to the board of trustees, Suburban Temple was governed by five officers and fifteen standing committees.
Suburban’s founders, formerly members of several large Cleveland temples, initially set a constitutional limit of 250 regular members and approximately 50 sustaining, associate, and young adult members. These limitations were gradually relaxed over subsequent years. A credo to which all members subscribed in writing stressed quality religious education, freedom of thought, and primary civic allegiance to the United States.
In June 1949, Myron Silverman of Philadelphia became rabbi. Under the leadership of Rabbi Silverman and President Louis Fox, policy was revised to accommodate a membership of 400 families. A vigorous fundraising campaign conducted from 1954 to 1960 culminated in the erection of a temple on Chagrin Boulevard (then Kinsman Road) in 1955.
At the temple’s 1960 annual meeting, President Robert Glick postulated that Suburban was prepared to enter an era of increased service to its members and to the community. That year the congregation confirmed seventy children. Attendance at Friday night services increased, and social and cultural events abounded—including a campus day, supper dance, father and son night, as well as numerous other family activities.
During the sixties, Suburban made several policy changes relaxing further its principle of limited membership, providing for broader representation in its governing bodies, and improving the quality of religious education. By the end of the decade the congregation had grown to 550 families. A new constitution, promulgated in 1968, eliminated the sustaining member category and abridged the president’s term to two years rather than five. Shortly thereafter, two members of the Women’s Committee became official representatives on the Board of Trustees. In 1969, the religious school committee recommended that Hebrew courses and courses on Israel be introduced into the curriculum. This responsiveness to the changing needs of its membership coupled with a program of investment and voluntary dues solicitation assured the congregation’s continued growth.