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Shalom, y’all: Anniston’s Temple Beth El bucks regional trend by keeping doors open

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Sherry Blanton prunes the trees outside of Anniston’s Temple Beth El on a warm summer morning. She kneels beside the full magnolias sprouting fat blossoms outside of the white-domed building on Quintard Avenue, snipping with care. In 1893, Anniston’s early Jewish community built the temple so that Blanton, or someone like her, would be there 120 years later.

“If there was a bricks-and-mortar building, the Jewish community would persevere in Anniston,” Blanton said, remembering the hope of the Jewish women who opened the synagogue 120 years ago. “We’re a small but tenacious congregation bent on the preservation of a bricks-and-mortar temple, just like the Jewish ladies.”