Prior to 1853, the Jewish community held services in various locations. For a time they met on the second floor of 22 Baltimore Street and at 7 Washington Street. In October 1853 a parcel of land on the corner of Union and Centre Streets was purchased and in 1864, at a cost of $7,427.02, the Temple building was constructed.
In 1899 the Congregation purchased a lot adjoining the rear of the Temple and erected a building for use as a parsonage. For many years Rabbis of the congregation occupied this building, and at other times the building was rented to private individuals, and used for offices. In 1923 the building was used as the Temple House, or clubhouse for members. By the mid 1930’s the building was used by the Sunday School which is its use today. In 1975, B’er Chayim Temple was listed on the National Register for Historic Places, and today is recognized as the longest continuously operating Temple building in the State of Maryland.
Many changes have occurred within the building over the past 150 years; oil lamps exchanged for electric, new heating systems replacing a pot-bellied stove, carpeting, repainting, enlargement of the bimah and so on. Perhaps the most impressive change however, was the 1951 installation of memorial stained glass windows in the sanctuary, replacing plainer windows which had been in place since 1864. In 2013-2014 there was a major renovation to the synagogue. [more to come]