A beloved rabbi who led Temple Beth Am for more than three decades will be remembered with a street in his name.
Herbert Baumgard was the founding force behind Temple Beth Am. And at 9 a.m. Friday, congregation members and Pinecrest city leaders will gather to rename Kendall Drive between 57th and 60th avenues.
The stretch will be known as Rabbi Baumgard Road.
“Temple Beth Am is honored that the extraordinary life of Rabbi Herbert Baumgard will be remembered forever in such a wonderful way,” Jeremy Barras, the temple’s senior rabbi, said in a statement.
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Baumgard died in April from congestive heart failure at 95.
By his retirement in 1987, Temple Beth Am had become one of the largest Reform congregations in the Southeast. The congregation of 1,700 gathers at a 14.5-acre campus at 5950 North Kendall Dr. But when Baumgard began in the 1950s, the congregation had just 55 families who shared space at a Baptist church.
Baumgard is known for his involvement in civil rights issues. He is also regarded as one of the leading interpreters of Liberal Judaism and wrote several books including “The Miracles of Jesus and the Miracles of the Early Hebrew Prophets” and “Judaism and Prayer Issues of Faith.”
Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner, a longtime member of Temple Beth Am, said the renaming will honor the rabbi’s memory.
“This is a piece of Pinecrest history,” she said. “He helped build our community.”