Oldest Jewish house of worship in Texas chartered

December 28th, 1859

On this day in 1859, Congregation Beth Israel, the oldest Jewish house of worship in Texas, was chartered as the Hebrew Congregation of the City of Houston. The congregation, which consisted of twenty-two members, many of western European origin, had been organized as an orthodox synagogue five years earlier. The institution started a religious school in 1864 and incorporated as the Hebrew Congregation Beth Israel in 1873. By 1943 it had completed the transformation from an Orthodox to an American Reform Jewish congregation. The Franklin Avenue Temple Beth Israel was completed in 1874, and funds donated in memory of Abraham M. Levy helped pay for a new temple at Austin Street and Holman Avenue in 1925. Among the congregation's chief rabbis was Hyman Judah Schachtel, who arrived in 1943. The Hebrew Congregation Beth Israel was renamed Congregation Beth Israel in 1945.

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Oldest Jewish house of worship in Texas chartered

December 28th, 1859

On this day in 1859, Congregation Beth Israel, the oldest Jewish house of worship in Texas, was chartered as the Hebrew Congregation of the City of Houston. The congregation, which consisted of twenty-two members, many of western European origin, had been organized as an orthodox synagogue five years earlier. The institution started a religious school in 1864 and incorporated as the Hebrew Congregation Beth Israel in 1873. By 1943 it had completed the transformation from an Orthodox to an American Reform Jewish congregation. The Franklin Avenue Temple Beth Israel was completed in 1874, and funds donated in memory of Abraham M. Levy helped pay for a new temple at Austin Street and Holman Avenue in 1925. Among the congregation's chief rabbis was Hyman Judah Schachtel, who arrived in 1943. The Hebrew Congregation Beth Israel was renamed Congregation Beth Israel in 1945.

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Related Handbook of Texas Articles

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With more than 27,000 articles about Texas history, the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas is the largest online encyclopedia about all things Texas. Now you can celebrate the history of Texas every day by activating your free subscription to Texas Day by Day. Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles. It's one of the best ways to learn more about Texas history — in only 15 minutes a day!

Activate your free subscription to Texas Day by Day and you can:

  • Explore Texas history each day in bite-sized pieces conveniently delivered to your inbox each morning
  • Astound your friends with your Texas history prowess
  • Get in-depth looks at some of the overlooked events and landmarks in Texas history
  • Discover new places to explore in the Lone Star State
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