Temple B’nai Israel to close

PARKERSBURG – The city’s only Jewish temple will soon be going up for sale.

Robert Beau Ellison, treasurer for the Temple B’nai Israel on 20th Street in Parkersburg, said members are working with an area realtor to list the nearly 65-year-old temple for sale this spring.

“We are down to just a very limited number of Jewish families in town who are members of the temple,” Ellison said. “It’s not as much a cost issue as it is a people issue. In order to maintain the building and keep everything going, you have to have enough people to do things. We just have limited people to draw from.”

Ellison said between 10-15 families still attend services and events at the temple, down from 50-75 families in years past. Those who do attend also tend to be older, he said.

“All of our kids have relocated elsewhere,” he said. “At the current time there are no second-generation kids here.”

Ellison said the congregation has recently held services at the Stern Sanctuary house on Brookside Circle in Parkersburg and will continue to hold services at that location in the near future.

“We haven’t really given up, it’s just the temple is just too much for us at this time,” he said.

Myla Kreinik said the temple was built in 1949 and its congregation has a history entwined with the area. It is the only Jewish temple between Athens and Charleston, and Wheeling and Huntington.

“It was the first Reformed temple this side of the Appalachians,” she said.

Ellison said no price has yet been set on the building.