Youngstown’s Rodef Sholom and Sharon’s Beth Israel congregations will hold a special celebration Friday evening to merge the two synagogues into the largest Jewish house of worship in the area.
The merger has been in the works for five years. The ceremony will be held at Rodef Sholom on Elm Street in Youngstown, which will house the new congregation. There are 90 family units from Sharon being added to the existing 275 family units in Youngstown.
The celebration will feature a special Torah passing ceremony around the main sanctuary using scared scrolls from both congregations, symbolizing the new merged organizations and allowing all members to have the honor of carrying at least one Torah. One of the Sharon scrolls will be permanently placed in the sanctuary for regular use during the weekly liturgy and additional sacred objects and pieces of art from Sharon will be permanently placed throughout the building.
The event also will recognize Jeff Simon and Inez Heal as they are sworn in as co-presidents, as well as Rabbi Franklin Muller in honor of 30 years in the Rabbinate and 18 years as spiritual leader at Rodef Sholom.