In January 1991, Bat Yam Temple of the Islands became the first and only Jewish congregation on Sanibel Island, serving residents and guests of Sanibel, Captiva, Fort Myers and surrounding areas. We offer a place of worship in the Reform tradition and a warm, caring, enriching and welcoming Jewish community.
In December 1991, The Holocaust Torah Foundation in London presented Bat Yam with a Holocaust Torah. Past rabbis of Bat Yam include Karen Soria, Philip Frankel, Murray Saltzman, Selwyn Geller, Myra Soifer, and Stephen Lewis Fuchs. Past Cantors include Murray E. Simon.
In November 2022, Rabbi Sunny Schnitzer, one of the few spiritual leaders in the country to hold a dual ordination as both Rabbi and Cantor, joined Bat Yam as Cantor. In May 2023, upon the retirement of Rabbi Fuchs, Rabbi Schnitzer became Bat Yam's Rabbi. Rabbi Fuchs now holds the position of Rabbi Emeritus.
Since its founding 30 years ago, Bat Yam has been a place for resident and visiting Jews to come together as an extended Jewish family, to participate in Shabbat and holiday prayer, to observe the rituals of our shared faith, and to study and derive meaning from our tradition and texts, shared interests and and respective life experiences. While Bat Yam is a Reform congregation, our members come from all Jewish denominations and backgrounds.
Bat Yam has become a unique adult congregation, whose membership is blessed with the leisure and good fortune to choose participation in renewed Jewish life. We have raised our families; have watched children (and grandchildren, and even some great grandchildren!) become Bar or Bat Mitzvah; and have participated as leaders and active members in our prior synagogues.
Now, at Bat Yam, we together participate in Judaism through this lens of a life’s worth of experience and insight. For some of us, this means reconnecting to our Judaism in deeper ways. For others, this means coming to Judaism anew. For all of us, Bat Yam provides an opportunity to explore Judaism with new eyes and hearts and with the enthusiasm of experience.
We are an egalitarian Reform synagogue, that is fully welcoming of all. Our programs are engaging, enriching, intellectually stimulating, and filled with philosophical and moral introspection. Our members are involved in Jewish, interfaith and non-Jewish issues and activities in the immediate and larger communities.
Since 2020, we have successfully introduced virtual worship, learning and community. Our programs and events have drawn participants from throughout the state of Florida, the U.S. and other countries, including Brazil, England, Germany, Israel, and South Africa. Please join our Jewish community through this website or by contacting us to join some of our services, celebrations and educational events. We hope you can join us in worship, study, community and friendship.
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