The History of Temple Beth Tikvah
Temple Beth Tikvah was founded in 1987 by a handful of families seeking a traditional and inspiring Reform Judaism worship experience. It was the vision and determination of Hassia Levin, today our Religious School Director, who recruited Arthur Blank, co-founder of The Home Depot, to go with her to Canada to encourage Rabbi Donald Tam to return to Atlanta. The trip was a success, and Rabbi Tam agreed to assume the pulpit of the fledgling congregation.
Rabbi Tam conducted his first Shabbat service on Friday August 7, 1987. Our first Bar Mitzvah took place the following morning, and so began our congregation’s circle of life cycle. Temple Beth Tikvah was living up to its name as a “House of Hope.”
During those early days, the congregation met in different homes, eventually conducting services and establishing administrative offices at St. David’s Episcopal Church. The two congregations forged a bond that remains strong to this day. A rose window depicting the 12 Tribes of Israel, a gift of thanks from Temple Beth Tikvah and a reminder of the time shared, graces the sanctuary at St David’s.
The congregation remained at St. David’s until our sanctuary was completed. It was Rabbi Tam’s strong conviction that, if we built the Sanctuary first, the school and social hall would follow – and so they did.
Temple Beth Tikvah has grown from a small group of dedicated and determined families to a congregation of 500 families. The laughter of children fills the halls during the week just as the softer sounds of worship fill the sanctuary each Shabbat. Our early history parallels that of those who went before us seeking to establish new roots.
In 2005, Rabbi Tam retired, assuming the role of Rabbi Emeritus. Our roots now reach out to the future as we look forward to the next chapters in our history. Rabbi Fred Greene, who assumed the pulpit at Temple Beth Tikvah in 2006, today leads Temple Beth Tikvah into a new phase of its history, with all the optimism, excitement and vision that was present when the “House of Hope” began.