Local Temple Turns 95

Dennis Evanosky

Temple Israel celebrated its 95th year in Alameda with a gala last Saturday. The temple traces its roots to a meeting held in the Tucker Building on Park Street. According to the history that accompanied the gala’s program, "One November night in 1920 on the second floor of Miller’s Drug Store (a group of families) came together with one thing in mind — the establishment of a Jewish community in Alameda."

Frank Jacobs signed the articles of incorporation as president. Four years later on Sept. 24, 1924, the community gathered to dedicate its synagogue at Oak Street and Alameda Avenue. Some 57 years later in 1980 the congregation broke ground for its current synagogue on Bay Farm Island. Frank’s grandson, Walt, was sitting on the synagogue’s board of directors at the time.

By then Walt had been married to Judy for 15 years. As part of last Saturday’s celebration members of the Temple Israel paid special tribute to Walt and Judy Jacobs, pictured above. "Walt and Judy are great examples of our congregation," the evening’s program read. "They grew up in Temple Israel. Their parents or grandparents were members."

Members of the synagogue saluted the couple last Saturday for having served Temple Israel "on probably every committee imaginable" and for supporting "every cause or need of ours over the decades." Judy was a religious school teacher. She also taught at Franklin School for three years. Walt served as a commissioned officer in the United States Army.

For the last 30 years the couple has worked in the jobs most know them as — at Harbor Bay Realty. Their service continues even today. Judy currently sits on the temple’s board of directors, Walt serves as a member of Temple Israel’s Foundation.

While they were busy serving Temple Israel, Walt and Judy raised four children — Steven, Alisa, Allison and Lauren. Walt and Judy are proud grandparents of eight.