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Temple Israel of Dover closing due to financial difficulties

Union Leader Correspondent

April 10. 2018 10:21PM
Members of Dover's Temple Israel congregation will worship in Portsmouth when Temple Israel closes June 30. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Union Leader Correspondent)

The Honey Tree Learning Center is buying the building which houses Temple Israel of Dover. The congregation expects to be out by July 31. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Union Leader Correspondent)

DOVER — Temple Israel of Dover is closing due to declining membership, according to congregational leaders.

President Ken Litvack said they have 60 Jewish families who worship at the temple. They will now become part of the Temple Israel of Portsmouth congregation, Litvack said.

Litvack explained that 80 years ago members of the Dover community worshipped in Portsmouth, but a group decided to break off and create a new congregation.

With a lack of religious commitment from younger generations, the temple has been operating in the red for a number of years despite efforts to increase membership and offer new programming, Litvack said.

Litvack said making the decision was not easy.

“Although I have been president for less than a year, my wish, when I took office, was to try to save the temple. We have the most amazing board of directors and we all did the best we could to keep the temple operating,” Litvack said.

Rabbi Sam Seicol will be retiring from regular weekly congregation work June 30. He said he started in Dover seven years ago.

Seicol also plans to remain involved with the Jewish community as a member of the advisory board of the Vilna Shul in Boston.

Members of the congregation plan to celebrate Seicol’s years of service June 29 during a Shabbat at Wagon Hill Park on Route 4 in Durham.

The Honey Tree Learning Center will take over the Dover building. They have been renting space at the temple, located just off Sixth Street.

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