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Time Capsules 1957 and 2019

links to digital copies of books found in the time capsule

The Light Burns On 1841 1891 1941 by Dr. Edward N. Calisch

To read click here

Through the Years: a Study of the Richmond Jewish Community in 1955

To read click here

Time Capsule Discovered

In the fall of 2017, the façade of Congregation Beth Ahabah’s Barbara and William B. Thalhimer, Jr. Religious School was demolished to facilitate construction of its new integrated campus. The contractors and staff were surprised to discover a time capsule hidden behind the cornerstone. The time capsule, a 12” x 12” x 4” soldered copper box, had been concealed for 62 years since a cornerstone laying ceremony on June 2, 1957.



On June 7, 2019 at the end of the Shabbat service, Billy Thalhimer, III and Rabbi Scott Nagel opened the capsule.
He and the B’not Mitzvah, Anna Clark and Mia Carty, revealed the contents.


These included 2 books, Three Score and Twenty: a Brief Biography of Edward Nathan Calisch with selected addresses and sermons and The Light Burns On 1841 1891 1941 by Dr. Edward N. Calisch, about Beth Ahabah’s Centennial. Rabbi Calisch served the congregation from 1891 to 1945, the Religious School building was named in his honor. Also in the capsule were a program from the 1957 ceremony, the program from the 1957 Confirmation Service, a mezuzah and a report entitled Through the Years: a Study of the Richmond Jewish Community in 1955. 

There was also a picture of the 1957 cornerstone laying ceremony featuring a young Billy Thalhimer, III, Joan Arenstein and Sally Forb.

A new time capsule was sealed at the dinner following the service. Contributions for the new capsule were solicited from the entire congregation. Dozens of sealed archival envelopes were received. 

A scroll with hundreds of signatures from Religious School students and congregants was also placed in the new capsule, which is to be opened in 2069. 

Contents of the 1957 Time Capsule were displayed at the Congregational dinner following the service.

The new Time Capsule was filled.

Some items put in included a complete membership list, a book about the Beth Ahabah Sanctuary and Congregational history, a mezuzah, last year’s Learning Opportunities booklet and a photograph from the dedication of the new building featuring Rabbi Scott M. Nagel, Rabbi Emeritus Martin P. Beifield, Jr., Rabbi Emeritus Dr. Jack D. Spiro, Cantor Sarah Beck-Berman and Cantor Emerita Frances T. Goldman. More than 120 diners watched as the new time capsule was filled and blessed by Cantor Beck-Berman and sealed by Congregational President Charley Scher.

Tue, May 28 2024 20 Iyar 5784