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Temple Beth David.

Our “middle-aged” jubilarian.

Fifty years. Well actually fifty-two years, but, as they say, who´s counting…?

Well, thanks to the Covid pandemic, TBD decided to postpone the 50 years celebration, to this year. And who wouldn´t want to celebrate their fifty years anniversary, when they actually were going to be fifty-two ?


But just look at how she has been growing and matured.

The congregation was founded in 1972, by a small group of Jews, who had decided to make Hernando county their home, but also wanted to have a Jewish home for all Jews in the county.

Everything is not top notch with our jubilarian, there are still issues to take care of, but its amazing what can be accomplished if people get together and are motivated enough.


L´dor V´dor.

I´m also thinking of the old saying from the Torah - L´dor V´dor – “from generation to generation”.

Temple Beth David was established by people who might not be with us anymore, but we – the generations to follow – can now enjoy what was created in the very beginning, by those brothers and sisters, who started TBD. But we also have a responsibility to hand it over to the next generation in a slightly better shape than what we received it in.


The early years.

Well, back then, it wasn´t even Temple Beth David.  The temple, as we know it today, didn´t exist, at all. It was the “Jewish Community Center of Hernando County”, or “JCC”.

The meetings and services were held at different places. During the mid 80´s, some meetings were held at the “Senior Citizen Center” at US19. Some meetings and services were also held at the “Civic Center” at “Kenlake Drive”, now probably the “Lake House”,  at Kenlake Av., Spring Hill.

The congregation was also offered to celebrate the high holidays at one of the churches in Spring Hill. The clergyman motivated it with that the Christian congregation would have an opportunity to better understand the Jewish faith, since it was the source for Christianity.

Services and meetings were also held in the homes of the members.


The Newsletter.

For this article, I was, during my last stay in Spring Hill, studying the inner parts of the offices filing cabinet, and I found the very first newsletters, and many more.

Additionally, I found a lot of old photos and articles from local newspapers in another cabinet, and I hope, during my upcoming visits,  to get enough of material for some more articles about the history of our temple.

Actually, when we will celebrate our temple´s 50 years of existence, I also noted, that the very 1st official newsletter was sent out, in June 1984.

As many of you now understand, the ChaiLights Newsletter is celebrating its forty-year anniversary, this month.

In the very same newsletter from June 1984, the decision to from April 1984 the voting for a building assessment, “was overwhelmingly passed”, as it is mentioned in that first edition.

I´m really humble and proud for have been a part of it, as the editor-in-chief, from 2020 to 2024.  

So, our newsletter, as we know it,  celebrate its forty years, now.

As I mentioned earlier – L´dor, V´dor.

Not from an old generation to the next, much younger generation, bur from one generation of people taking responsibility to create the opportunity for a Jewish community in Hernando County, to the following generation of directors.

However, in the very first edition of the JCC newsletter, it was mentioned that a building assessment was in the planning, and the costs for this, was to be covered by the members.


You can read it by yourself, on the 2nd page of that Newsletter issue, June 1984.

The congregation had already saved up money for years, with different activities, to reach their goal – to build a temple.

All organizations have people who have a strong drive to reach a certain goal.

Back then, the board was quite small. A president, a 1st and a 2nd V.P. , a treasurer, a recording secretary, a corresponding secretary, and a Trustee.

These people had a wish to develop the Jewish community in Hernando County and make the congregation to a Jewish home for every Jew, in our area.

One of those was Diane Paskowitz, who acted as a lay-Rabbi, from 1979.

Diane interacted on a regular basis, with the other religious organizations in Spring Hill, to create a higher understanding for the Jewish group.

You can read about Diane and her interest in Hebrew and her Jewish heritage, in one of the added scanned articles. She worked as a lay rabbi for 11 years, until 1990.

Diane was born 1920, and passed away in Spring Hill, 2020, and became 99 years old. 

Another person was Polly Levine, who was our President during many years and was elected President in April 1983. She didn´t felt so secure with that responsibility back then, but she had friends who stepped up and helped her, when she needed that.

The first editor in chiefs for the newsletter was Robert “Bob” and Sue Flato. Ronnie Cohen informed me that Bob Flato owned an engraving shop on State road 19, where the newsletter was edited, printed and mailed.

Bob Flato didn´t just work in the engraving shop, the “Custom Craft Engraving & Awards”  together with his wife Sue.

As well, he got engaged in the Hernando County politics, and got a seat in the School Board.

In an article in Tampa Bay Times, he tells the story of how he got into politics. The article gives us a small but important insight in a family, who liked to take on challenges.

Maybe this is what differs between successful projects, and failing projects.

People with a big engagement, and a willingness to reach out for something, which will be really hard to accomplish. The right individuals on the right place, in the right time…



Have a look into the article in the following pages, to get a view of the life of Bob and Sue Flato.

“Flato vs. Galaydick: Both seek their first elected win // BOB FLATO”

Published October 27th,  1994.


So, when did Temple Beth David become … …Temple Beth David ?

As far as I have found out – so far, it was during the period of March – April 1986.

Unfortunately, I haven´t found the specific newsletter, where this is mentioned.

I hope to do some further research, when returning, this autumn. Maybe someone of you know, the story better?

Finally, something for you to consider on your next visit to the temple.

In the added newsletters, and in the future ones to be published, you will find wishes from the authors, to raise some money for some of the decorations, you will find outside and inside the temple.

These decorations didn´t found their way to the temple, at the same day it was built.

They were hardly anything, you ordered from Amazon if Amazon had existed, back then...

It required an idea, among some of the involved, to be transformed into a project, maybe over a year or two, to be finalized, when enough money had been raised, and an artist asked, to create the decoration.

So next time, you pass by the entrance to the temple, why don´t you take an extra look on the wall decoration just beside the entrance, and remember, that a number of people were involved - over a long time, to realize that – just for you, to enjoy, by now.

L´dor V´dor.

From generation, to generation.


Now, it is your turn to give back to the next generation of TBD.

It´s up to you, where you would like to be engaged, but remember – what you will do, and be a part of creating, will probably be handed over to the next generation.

Wouldn´t that be a nice thing, to remember ?

Below, you will find some of the very first newsletters.

These will hopefully give you a picture of individuals with a strong engagement for a future Jewish home in Hernando county.

This is the first article of, what I hope, will be a series of articles, during the jubilee year of TBD.

Enjoy your reading.


Ken Becker

Fmr Editor,

ChaiLights Newsletter

Articles on the internet, still existing (Please note that some of these articles are subscription based):

Oct 27, 1994. Article about Bob and Sue Flato:
In this following article, published at the same date, it also mentioned that Bob Flato is Jewish. He was
fighting for having a prayer in the schools, which included everyones religious belief, not only


Jan 8, 2014:
TBD´s 40 years celebration. The new sanctuary is being built. Interviews with Diane Paskowitz, Polly
Levine and Marlene Shaw Praglor.
This is an important article, since it gives the view of the TBD history, by Diane Paskowitz, Polly
Levine and Marlene, at the very same occasion.

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