Temple Beth-El was founded by immigrants from Central Europe--mostly Bavaria, Westphalia, and other German states. However, Pensacola was not their first stop in America; most of the original group were involved in the lumber camps near Milton, Florida. Milton was a national center of lumber operations after the Civil War. Early in the 1870's, the business opportunities in a reborn Pensacola beckoned them some 20 miles. The temple was founded in 1876 as a Reform Temple with a congregation of businessmen and tavern owners. Several of thr original families still have descendants in the congregation today.
We are currently in our third building, a beautiful Art Deco structure built in the early 1930's. An additional education building was constructed in the 1950's, and there have been several renovations to keep the facility in good shape.
Over the years, the congregation has grown and developed as a result of the various migrations to America and to Pensacola, and the changes in the Reform Movement. Today, the congregation has a mix of all ages, and a significant number of Jews-by-choice.