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Beth David Center - 1947
Bay City, Texas

Photos and articles courtesy of Meyer Denn

Beth David Center Formally Dedicated Sunday Afternoon
More Than 200 People Attend Center Opening

In an impressive ceremony witnessed by approximately 200 people from the Gulf Coast area, the Beth David Jewish Community Center was formally dedicated Sunday afternoon [November 30th] at 2:30 p. m.

Progressing from an idea to the present beautiful site of the center will be the hub of activity for Jewish families of Bay City. The center will also be the site of religious services that will be conducted each week by laymen of the community.

The building was dedicated to Mrs. Mary Kasman, deceased mother of Jake Kasman of this city.

Mr. Joe Zimmerman, of radio station KIOX, was master of ceremonies and began the dedication proceedings. He gave a brief history of the building of the center from the original idea to its present form. He mentioned many individuals who played such an important part in the construction of the Jewish center.

Mrs. Sofie Bormaster of Houston sang three musical selections and was accompanied by Mrs. Sidney Denn of New Orleans.

...Rev. Aubrey Maxted of St. Mark's Episcopal Church ...

Beth David at Bay City First Jewish Center Built for Matagorda County

BAY CITY, Dec. 4.--(Sp)--The Jewish people here have built the first Jewish meeting place in Bay City and Matagorda County. Named Beth David Jewish Community Center, the meeting place was dedicated to Mrs. Mary Kasman.

Rabbi William S. Malev of Beth Yeshurun congregation in Houston spoke. Aaron Greenberg, president of the center, said, "This is not a synagogue, because we have no rabbi, but a place for our people to have Sunday school and lay meetings."

Others on the dedication program were Mrs. Gertrude Denn, pianist, of New Orleans, and Mrs. Sophie Bormaster, Houston vocallist.

Some of the charter members of the center are Mr. and Mrs. I. H. Kogutt, Mr. and Mrs. I. Neuman, Mrs. Posner, Mr. and Mrs. P. Kogutt, A. Block, Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Schwartz, Mr. and Mrs. J. Kasman, Mr. and Mrs. M. Kasman, Mrs. E. Goldman, Mr. and Mrs. M. Greenberg, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Denn, Mr. and Mrs. M. Patterson, Mr. and Mrs. A. Mark, D. Paine, Miss Lillie Markewich, Mrs. M. Dombrow, Mrs. Freda Simon, D. Dombrow, Mr. S. Denn, Mrs. S. Kogutt, Miss Miriam Dombrow, Mrs. P. Alexander and L. Schwartz.

The Houston Post, Friday, December 5, 1947

Beth David Center Membership

FIRST ROW, left to right
SECOND ROW, left to right
THIRD ROW, left to right
FOURTH ROW, left to right
1. I. H. "Little Pete" Kogutt
2. Mrs. I. H. (Dorothy) Kogutt
3. Isaac Neuman
4. Jake Kasman
5. Mrs. Theo (Nina) Posner
6. Mrs. Jake (Helen) Kasman
7. Aaron Greenberg
8. Mrs. Aaron (Minnie) Greenberg
9. Mrs. Pincus (Leah) Kogutt
10. Aaron Block
11. Mrs. Sidney (Sarah) Schwartz
12. Sidney Schwartz
13. Morris Kasman
14. Mrs. Morris Kasman
15. Mrs. Esther Goldman
16. Manuel Denn

17. Dave Paine
18. Lillie Markewich
19. Mrs. Isaac (Jennie) Neuman
20. Mrs. Morris (Mae) Dombrow
21. Milton Greenberg
22. Mrs. Milton (Sara Lee) Greenberg
23. Mrs. Haskell (Freida) Simon
24. Mrs. A. (Pearl) Alexander
25. Mrs. Joe (Bertha) Denn
26. Joe Denn
27. Bernard Dombrow [in front of Joe Denn]
28. Mr. Mark
29. Mrs. Mark
30. Gertie Denn [in front of Mrs. Mark]
31. Samuel Kogutt
32. Miriam Dombrow
33. Morris "Pat" Patterson
34. Mrs. Morris (Fannie) Patterson
34. Mrs. Morris (Fannie) Patterson
35. Mr. Pincus "Pete" Kogutt
36. Leopold Schwartz




Down it Goes

Soon, the Beth David Center will be no more. The center, the heart of Jewish recreational activities in Bay City since the lat 1940's, is being razed to make way for a family steakhouse, the Golden Corral. Demolition crews destroyed the building's rear wooden portion Thursday, while the brick front section was expected to be leveled today.

Daily Tribune, October 18, 1945             Tribune photo by Dean Raymond


History of the Beth David Center
Bay City, Texas
By Aaron Block

Courtesy of Meyer Denn

The nucleus of Bay City’s Beth David Center started in 1941.

The start was Friday night services in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Denn. Mr. Denn led the service.

As time went by, the home was getting too small for the number of people that felt they too wanted to be counted. Services were also held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Pete Kogutt, and others.

In the midst of all this, December 7th, 1941, Pearl Harbor was bombed and the United States declared war on Japan. All of the Jewish young men in our midst left home to answer the call to arms.

Among those from Bay City who left to answer the call to enlist were:
Milton Greenberg, Herman; Sidney and Manuel Denn, the Kogutt boys, Pete and Samuel; Moise Simon; Bernard Dombrow; Jake Kasman; and Lester Epstein.  Wharton, El Campo and Edna also had their fine young men leave

As the war progressed and Camp Hulen at Palacios, Texas began getting more troops in, a U. S. O. Center was built in Bay City. However, in Bay City there were no facilities for Jewish servicemen, but Wharton did have the synagogue and a social hall. The Jewish people in this area did everything possible to make the servicemen as comfortable as they could be it Jew or Gentile.

It must be said that those that were left behind, men, women and children, did a terrific job in keeping the morale.

In the meantime, as the war was drawing to a close, the Bay City Jewish community was beginning to thrive ahead. A Jewish community center was badly needed in the Bay City area.


A committee was formed to look into this matter. Aaron Greenberg was elected to head this project, assisted by other members of the community. In helping on this project, the young men that went to war returned safely home and were now in the midst of this building project.

Numerous meetings and discussions were held. The usual questions were also asked—What, Why, Where?

Finally, a name was decided on—“Beth David Center.”

With having chosen a name, now came the task of building a center. The enthusiasm throughout the whole area was catching—everyone wanted to help and they did.

Numerous letters, telephone calls and personal attention brought forth the needed ingredient—money.

After looking into various locations around Bay City, the members were able to buy a choice piece of property from a very good non-Jewish friend on Seventh Street.

This was the start. Now came financing.

The families of Beth David Center were all of long standing—true and trusted. The banks knew well and good who they would be dealing with and a request for a loan was made.

The day had come when this loan request would have to be made to finance the project. The finance officers of Beth David Center came well prepared to confront the bank officials for a loan.

Led by Aaron Greenberg—and assisted by Aaron Block, the secretary, the request was made. After a long deliberation by the bank officials—and thought—the request was granted by the First National Bank of Bay City for the sum of $35,000. This transaction took all of about 15 minutes.

A building contract was let to Mr. Hite, a builder well known in Bay City, after his bid was accepted.

Building was started shortly after all requirements were met. Progress was eagerly watched by all of us in the community.

As the building went on so did the membership enrollment. People from all over sent their donations and asked to become members.

The glorious day came in October 1947 when Beth David Center was officially dedicated by Rabbi William Malev, of Congregation Beth Yeshurun of Houston, Texas.

Radio Station KIOX, of Bay City, carried a broadcast of the entire ceremony—which covered the Gulf Coast area.

Bob Paine led the Friday night service.

As days went on and the center now was a reality, it was apparent that all the hard work and time spent on the center was well worth it.

To help pay off the loan, numerous affairs were held throughout the year. Barbecues were one of the main stays of raising funds, also card games, dancing parties, and various other affairs helped out.

For Passover in 194 a seder was held for the whole Jewish community. The women did a wonderful job and it was absolutely fabulous.

Even a photographer was on hand to take pictures from all angles. After snapping the lenses for a half hour or more, we decided that was enough. As he started to depart someone asked when the pictures would be ready. He looked at his camera, and a horrid look came across his face. That’s right. No film in the camera!

The Center has been a real “mitzvah” to all of us.

Incidentally, the load was paid off in just five years.


Beth David Center - 1987
Bay City, Texas

Photos and articles courtesy of Meyer Denn

Dedication Ceremony For Beth David Center - August 30, 1987


Larry Greenberg, Sarah Lee Greenberg, Helen Denn, Manuel Denn, Mae Dombrow, Mary Beth Neuman Cartwright, Isa Cartwright,
Daniel and Rosalie Chasnoff, Milton Greenberg [behind Daniel Chasnoff], Herman and Rosie Denn, Henrietta Krumholz,
Sidney and Gertie Denn, Helen Kasman, David Krumholz, Nathan and Dorothy Blum

Jewish Center Dedicated
September 2, 1987

The Beth David Center on Nichols was dedicated during formal ceremonies Sunday afternoon. People instrumental in constructing the new facility pose for a picture in front of the building while Rabbi Ted Sanders, director of the Jewish Chaplaincy Service, Jewish Federation of Greater Houston, (at right) discusses how the Jewish people came to reside in Matagorda County. The center replaces the old facility on Seventh Street which was erected in 1947. Other participants were Rabbi Aaron Weinberg, spiritual leader, Shearith Israel Congregation Wharton; Irving Wadler, violin soloist; and President Sidney Denn

The Daily Tribune

Tribune photos by Jan Aikens








More Than 1000 Attend The Annual Beth David Barbecue

Many more than 1000 persons were served barbecue and all its trimming Sunday at LeTulle Park as members of the Beth David Center here held its annual barbecue and get together.

More than 1400 pounds of meat were served barbecue officials indicated. The pit crew started work at midnight Saturday getting ready for the event. Serving Sunday was 11:30 a. m. to 2 p. m.

The large crowd was served smoothly, with many compliments received on the quality of the food.

Officials of Beth David Center said Monday morning they wished to thank all persons who attended the barbecue and those who gave the annual event its support.

Matagorda County Tribune, August 23, 1956


Copyright 2013 - Present by Beth David Center
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Oct. 9, 2013
Oct. 9, 2013