Sunday, July 9, 2017

Olympia’s Star of David Returns Home

Above: A newly restored Star of David is unveiled at a ceremony at Temple Beth Hatfiloh on Sunday afternoon. The 80 year old Star of David was removed several months ago from the Temple’s original building on Jefferson Street and returned home to the Temple at 201 Eighth Avenue in downtown Olympia.

By Janine Gates
Little Hollywood

An intimate, emotional dedication ceremony for a recently restored Star of David was held Sunday afternoon at the Temple Beth Hatfiloh in Olympia.

“Mah tovu,” began Rabbi Seth Goldstein of Temple Beth Hatfiloh.

Tovu, meaning fine, fair, or beauty in Hebrew, fit the restored Star of David, which Goldstein described as a simple yet striking piece of art that defines the Jewish community in Olympia and serves as a link between the past, present and future.

The Star's restoration was dedicated to Ben Bean, the son of one of Temple Beth Hatfiloh’s founders, Earl, who was instrumental in the 1938 construction of the original Temple on the corner of Jefferson Street and Eighth Avenue.

At the time of his death one year ago, Ben was one of the only original members of the congregation to have been present at the original building dedication, said Goldstein.

Saturday would have been Ben Bean’s 94th birthday, and Rabbi Goldstein and the Bean family dedicated Bean’s headstone early Sunday morning.

“Ben was our star, a beacon of light, and warmth, and joy,” said Goldstein. “Now, we dedicate the Star, for our entire community.”

About 35 Temple and community members were present, including the Bean and Goldberg families.

Dan Bean, son of Ben Bean, spoke with emotion to those gathered.

Knowing that this Star is back home...and that members of the Bean and Goldberg families are a testament to what this community means to all of us. Although Ben wasn't a particularly religious man, he was a fierce member of this Temple. He's looking down on us and he's really proud of what this community and this Temple has become, he said.

The restoration work was done by two local businesses, Eco Woodworks and Mansion Glass, who worked in tandem on the woodwork frame and glass pieces, said Goldstein. The funds for the restoration were raised through a brief GoFundMe effort.

The Star of David will stay in the Temple's interior alcove that also serves as a nook for the Temple’s historical items of significance, such as the Ner Tamid, the Eternal Light, which was saved from the original Temple.

In closing, Rabbi Goldstein offered a prayer of dedication, in part, saying:

“…May this Star continue to be our link to the past while serving as a guide to our future. May the spirit of those who created it inspire our lives. May their hopes and dreams of a vibrant Jewish home become our hopes and dreams. May their dedication to community and tradition become our dedication, and may their prayers for continuity and commitment become our prayers.

“May this beautiful Star inspire us to live into our lives to work for justice, to explore our heritage, to build community, to laugh and cry, to eat and drink, to sing and pray, to learn and teach, together, L’dor va dor, from generation to generation. Amen.”

Above: Three generations of the Bean Family in front of the restored Star of David at Temple Beth Hatfiloh on Sunday. Left to right: Steve Bean, Dan Bean, Alec Bean, Linda (Bean) Georges, Edie Bean, Tom Bean, and Susan (Bean) Poplack.

For more information about the history of Temple Beth Hatfiloh and the Star of David restoration effort, go to Little Hollywood’s March story, “Olympia Temple Saves Star of David,” at