Temple Israel (Memphis, Tennessee)

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Temple Israel (Memphis, Tennessee)

Post  tungduong_9102 on 29th January 2011, 10:48

Temple Israel is a Reform Jewish congregation in Memphis, Tennessee. It is the only Reform synagogue in Memphis, the oldest and largest Jewish congregation in Tennessee, and one of the largest Reform congregations in the United States. It was founded in 1853 by mostly German Jews as Congregation B'nai Israel (Hebrew for "Children of Israel"). Led initially by cantors, in 1858 it hired its first rabbi, Jacob Peres, and leased its first building, which it renovated and eventually purchased.

Peres was fired in 1860 because he opened a store that conducted business on Saturdays, the Jewish Sabbath. He was replaced by Simon Tuska, who moved the congregation from Orthodox to Reform practices. Tuska died in 1871, and was succeeded by Max Samfield; under his leadership, the synagogue was one of the founding members of the Union for Reform Judaism. In 1884, Children of Israel completed a new building, and membership grew rapidly. Samfield died in 1915, and was succeeded by Bill Fineshriber, an outspoken supporter of women's suffrage and equal rights for African Americans. The following year the congregation moved to a new building, where membership continued to grow. Fineshriber left in 1924, and was succeeded by Harry Ettelson.

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