Press Release

January 13, 2012

CUMBERLAND, MD — U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) today visited B’er Chayim Temple, Maryland’s oldest continuously operating Temple building in Maryland.   B’er Chayim,which has undergone significant restoration to its 150-year-old building,  is a congregation of 65 families.

“B’er Chayim Temple is an important part of Western Maryland’s Jewish heritage and provides a strong religious and cultural anchor for the region’s Jewish community,” said Senator Cardin.  “I am touched by the commitment of the congregation’s members to restore this historic building and honor the history of one of Maryland’s oldest Jewish communities.”

“The restoration of our historic building is an important milestone in our congregation’s history and we are pleased that it will also help to revitalize downtown Cumberland,” said Rabbi Stephen Sniderman.  “B’er Chayim Temple is pleased with the progress of the restoration and we are moving forward with additional work that will complete the project.”

In 1865, Cumberland’s Jewish congregation purchased land at the corner of Union and Centre Streets for the construction of a synagogue. The B’er Chayim Temple was built in 1866 and reflects the history of Jewish worship in Cumberland.

Restoration of the historic Temple building was initiated in 2011.  Removal of paint from the building’s exterior was completed in late 2011 to reveal the original brick, which was found to be in excellent condition.  Additional landscaping is being planned for the coming year.  The next phase in the restoration will be the interior areas of the building.