You can listen to Arthur Rubin and Harold Holtsberg
on Janie Gould’s “Floridays’’ show on WQCS radio/88.9
FM. Go to wqcs.org, click on Audio Archive and then on
in West Palm Beach for services. And the Rubins opened
their home to Jewish servicemen stationed at the Navy’s
amphibious training base during the war.
“Their home was always open to the Jewish community,”
Holtsberg said. “They contributed tremendously to the development
of the community.”
In 1949, 17 Jewish families were living in Fort Pierce, three
in Stuart and one in Vero Beach. So they decided to build a
temple, which became Temple Beth El at 23rd Street and Avenue
B in Fort Pierce. Support from the Christian community
helped make it possible, according to Holtsberg and Rubin.
Christians donated money for the project, came to the dedication
and sang in the choir.
“The main choir consisted of only about two Jewish people
and the balance of them were from the Christian community,”
Temple Beth El grew steadily over the years until Port St.
Lucie’s population started to take off. Members of the early
congregation in Fort Pierce were dying off, and Fort Pierce’s
population was standing still. So Temple Beth El moved
south, first to a site about midway between Fort Pierce and
Port St. Lucie. Later, the temple merged with a newer temple
in Port St. Lucie to become Temple Beth El Israel.
“I don’t remember how I voted on the merger, but I think
what has happened is for the benefit of the community,”
Holtsberg said. And Rubin added, “You have to be where the