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Temple Beth-El of Las Cruces records

Identifier: Ms-0535

Scope and Contents

The Temple Beth-El of Las Cruces collection is comprised of six series: Constitution and Bylaws, Meeting Minutes, Newsletters, Finance, and Miscellaneous. The Constitution and Bylaws series contains the constitution and bylaws for Temple Beth-El of Las Cruces as well as other Jewish congregations around the United States. The Meeting Minutes series contains a compilation of meeting minutes of various congregational organization's meetings that include but are not limited to: the Executive Committee, the Library Committee, the Committee on Committees, the Board of Trustees, and the Board of Directors. The Newsletters series contains newsletters published by Temple Beth-El of Las Cruces. The Religious School series contains copies of the school handbook and curriculum from each grade (i.e. Aleph, Bet, Gimmel, and Gan Yeladim). The Finance series contains financial records pertaining to Temple Beth-El of Las Cruces. The Miscellaneous series contains an assortment of records that includes but is not limited to: Masonic Cemetery plot records, congregational projects (such as The Jewish Community History Project, etc.), information pertaining to members, and renovation and additions to the temple.

NOTE: 7:2 and 7:7 (originally 7:1 and 7:6, respectively) were found to be empty, but were kept in the collection. 7:8 (originally 7:7) also found empty but has notes written inside folder.


  • 1960 - 1995

Biographical / Historical

Temple Beth-El of Las Cruces began in 1953 when Jewish adults from White Sands established a Religious School for their children. Initially the school was run by the parents out of the homes of two families which accommodated about twenty children. In 1956 Jewish women of the Las Cruces area formed a Sisterhood and the Las Cruces Jewish Community Group began holding religious services. In 1958 the community held its first bar mitzvah. Eventually the community began a membership drive and raised funds for a permanent structure and the building was dedicated in 1962. Temple Beth-El affiliated with the Reform Jewish movement and was incorporated in 1968 and established a Jewish area in a cemetery the same year. The Temple underwent construction, also in 1968, and again in 1981. In 1977, nationally prominent rabbi, Rabbi Joseph Klein was hired part-time. In 1984 Rabbi Howard Laibson was hired as the Temple's first full-time rabbi and served until 1989. Lay-led services were held until Rabbi Cy Stanway was hired in 1990 and served until July 1998. Lay-led services were held again until December 1998 when Rabbi Gerald Kane was hired. In 1994 the community raised funds for the construction of a new, bigger building which wasn't completed until January of 2007.The new Temple included classrooms, a library, and space for a sanctuary and social hall. From 2008 to June 2011, Rabbi Paul Citrin led the congregation. In July of 2011 Rabbi Larry Karol was hired and is the current Rabbi.

Source: Temple Beth-El webpage


3.25 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The records of the Temple Beth-El document the activities of a Jewish congregation that was established in 1953 and based in Las Cruces, New Mexico.The temple's mission statement is as follows: "Temple Beth-El is dedicated to creating and maintaining an intimate and involved Jewish community. We strive to be a place where spiritual growth, tradition and ritual provide meaning and comfort to every person who comes through our doors. Temple Beth-El encourages its members to learn, celebrate, serve, and grow together, so that each person will have the fullest opportunity to share the beauty of Jewish expression." The records, spanning from 1960-1992, contain organizational material such as the constitution and bylaws, meeting minutes, newsletters, and other records that document the activities of the community.

Source: Temple Beth-El webpage

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Isabel Lopez under the direction of Jennifer Olguin, January-February, 2020.
Guide to the Temple Beth-El of Las Cruces records
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the New Mexico State University Library Archives and Special Collections Repository

Branson Hall
PO Box 30006
MSC 3475
Las Cruces New Mexico 88003 USA