The caption in the photo reads: The above photograph was taken by the staff artist of the Jewish Floridian immediately after the ring had been placed on the bride's finger by the groom. One of the dramatic episodes is shown in the lower left-hand corner when Miss Dora Rosenhouse, one of the bridesmaids, collapses due to the intense excitement, into the arms of the ushers.
In the years immediately preceding and following 1968, Temple Israel's congregation was so large that High Holy Days services had to be held in the Miami Beach Convention Center and the Dade County Auditorium. We today might look back on this as the "glory days" though not everyone did at the time. Community leader and former Temple Israel President Max Orovitz touched on this subject when he sat down for a 1969 interview that occurred the year after this photograph was taken.
"...it has become an institution, that any time a Temple has 1500, 1800 families as members of its congregation, that it has lost its personal touch. I've accepted the High Holy Day services in an auditorium but inwardly I feel that it should be in the Sanctuary. It was built for the service I want to have rather than it be in a big auditorium. But I realize that's a selfish attitude because then I would be limiting back to the same 200 or 250 families that we have 35 years ago (early 1930s)...I'm concerned in terms of the loss of the personal contact because of its size. That a rabbi, the spiritual leader just doesn't have enough time to give guidance and leadership and all of these other things to the congregation. He's got a team but I guess everyone wants the first man." - Max Orovitz, April 15, 1968, Miami, FL.
Helen Jacobus Apte was the wife of Day Apte, President of Temple Israel from 1928-1934. She wrote the following in her diary after moving from Atlanta to Miami:
March 3, 1925: We have been here in “America’s playground" since February 5 and expect to remain until May. Day is trying his luck, and I hope he will get his share of the general boom and prosperity. Miami is indeed “The Magic City.” People talk in millions, fortunes are made overnight, hotels spring up like mushrooms…It is really fascinating in the height of the season–the crowds and the music. I don’t know how I’d like it to live here–too much sameness, I am afraid, too glary and artificial.
Aug. 29, 1925: Miami is not the pleasant place to live it was last winter–it is like a madhouse, dangerous to cross the street, dangerous to drive a car, almost impossible to get a bite to eat without standing in a line. Men rush madly about, with the lust for money in their eyes. Everyone seems to be snooping around, trying to listen , and I’m so tired of learning real estate I could scream!
March 20, 1926: Tonight we are going to the Biltmore for dinner. So many lovely places to go up here, and we go out to dinner quite often. We had a very cold spell last week, but now it is beautiful. I don’t believe I’d ever go back to Atlanta if I could.
Apte, Helen Jacobus. Heart of a Wife: The Diary of a Southern Jewish Woman. Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, Inc., 1998. Print.