The Shaare Shalom congregation was officially formed in April 1998. The founders were Joseph Fallack and Joseph Torgueman. However our original foundations date back to 1997, when we had a minyan of twenty-one men praying in various private homes. nine new men joined the minyan within a month. This encouraged us to look for property to build a shul. We found a corner house on East 21st Street and Avenue S. The house was decrepit and dilapidated. Still, we sought out the owner and purchased the property without even examining the inside. Our main attraction was that it covered a 60 x 100 foot lot. When we saw the interior, we were pleasantly surprised to see that it was a large and vast home, almost like a mansion. After some painting and minor structural work to enlarge the interior enough to be suitable for prayers, we began to conduct our services.
Some time after, our next door neighbor decided to sell her house that was on a 40 x 100 foot lot. Although our funding was scarce, we jumped at the opportunity to purchase this house that would give us a total lot of 100 x 100 feet.
Our friends from Ahava V’Ahva Congregation arranged a meeting with the Chehebar family, one of the most prominent families in our community. I appealed to Joe Chehebar to help us with a down payment for the next-door property He advised that we buy the next door house now for future use, and he committed a pledge to me for a cornerstone in our building in memory of his late father Gabriel a”h. This commitment assured us the down payment for the new property. Presently, we are praying in the original 60 x 100 building, and with G-d’s help we hope to erect a magnificent shul in three to four years time to help us carry on with the traditions of our fathers. Outstanding donors and workers in the shul were Joseph Torgueman, Morris Manopla, Joe Fallack, Edmond Sabbagh, Alan Shrem, Robbie Greenberg, Edmond Harary, and Elliot Betesh. Our approximate maximum capacity is currently four hundred plus worshippers. Our daily minyan numbers from thirty to forty men. On Shabbat we have between one hundred twenty to one hundred fifty men. The holidays bring us between two hundred seventy to three hundred twenty worshippers. Our Rabbi is Joseph Dweck, and our Hazzanim are Joseph Dweck, Morris Sardar, and Nissim Bassoul.