xt7kkw57h62f https://nyx.uky.edu/dips/xt7kkw57h62f/data/mets.xml Tennessee Tennessee Historical Records Survey 1941 Prepared by the Tennessee Historical Records Survey, Division of Community Service Programs, Work Projects Administration; Tennessee State Planning Commission, Sponsor; Other contributors include: United States Work Projects Administration, Division of Community Service Programs; iv, 55 leaves, 28 cm; Reproduced from type-written copy; Includes bibliography; UK holds archival copy for ASERL Collaborative Federal Depository Program libraries; Call number FW 4.14:T 256c/3 books English Nashville, Tennessee: Tennessee Historical Records Survey Project Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Tennessee Works Progress Administration Publications Inventory of the Church and Synagogue Archives of Tennessee, Jewish Congregations text Inventory of the Church and Synagogue Archives of Tennessee, Jewish Congregations 1941 2015 true xt7kkw57h62f section xt7kkw57h62f     I l `
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I 1941

   INVENTORY OF THE CHURCH AND SYNAGOGUE ARCHIVES
  OF TENNESSEE
F ·
I
JEWISH CONGREGATIONS
Prepared by
y The Tennessee Historical Records Survey
Division of Community Service Programs
Work Projects Administration
Sponsored by
Tennessee State Planning Commission
The Tennessee Historical Records Survey
Nashville, Tennessee
l July 1941
UBRARY
Y
UNWERSITY OF KENTUCK

 i
1
1
Q The Historical. Records Survey Program II
l Sargent B. Child, Director P:
Madison Bratton, State Supervisor
cv
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p a
b
o
w
  Ebsearch and Records Programs C
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_ 0
{ Harvey E. Beoknell, Director C
  Milton W. Blar.ton, Regional Supervisor C
5 T. Marshall Jones, State Supervisor ·]
4
Z E
  {
i i
2
Q J
  Division of Community Service Programs  
  Florence Kerr, Assistant Commissioner `
  Blanche M. Ralston, Chief Regional Supervisor
  Betty Hunt Luck, State Director
1
i
1
<
Q A
  WORK PROJECTS ADMINISTRATION
6
{ Howard O. Hunterg Commissioner
j RQ L, MacDouga.ll, Regional Director
  S, Tate Pease, State Administrator
Q
5
i

 \¤
Q FOREWORD
Q To the student of the history of religious life in America, the ·
1 Inventories of Church and Synagogue Archives that are being prepared by the
Historical Records Survey Projects of the various States of the Union will
prove invaluable.
The forces of religion have played a distinguished role in the
; creation and preservation of democratic institutions of America. That many
Y of the early records of the American religious bodies have been lost or
i are fragmentary is exceedingly unfortunate, If a survey such as this had
been made a hundred years ago or even fifty years ago the dramatic story
of religion's contributions to the spiritual and material growth of America
would have been immeasurably enriched.
Few Americans realize that the history of Jewish life in America
commenced as early as 1654. In September of that year, twenty-three Jewish
men, women and children entered the harbor of New York--then New Amsterdam--
on the bark St. Charles, They had fled from Brazil to escape the perse-
cutions of the Inquisition, In July 1655 they asked the governor of the
colony, Peter Stuyvesant, for the right to establish a Jewish cemetery,
This privilege was granted them the following year, They were not, however,
permitted to erect a Synagogue because, so Stuyvesant declared, it would ·
lead to Catholics and Lutherans also wishing to build churches, It was not
until 1682, after New Amsterdam had become New York under the English, that
they were allowed to rent a house which they used as a Synagogue, ·
The records of Jewish life in the State of Tennessee are so scanty
that there is not even a trace of a Congregation established before 1850.
Yet, there was a Jewish settlement along the Holston Edver as long ago as
1778. Even in a Congregation such as that of the Vine Street Temple, in
Nashville, all records prior to 1898 have been lost with the exception of
marriage and death records which date back to 1888, Yet, the Congregation
was founded in 1868 and was the result of a merger of two other Congre-
gations that had been established many years before,
In spite of the scantiness of material and many other difficulties,
the Inventory of Jewish Congregations in the State of Tennessee has been
excellently prepared, The Federal and State governments responsible for
this Survey deserve the commendation of those who are interested in adding
to their knowledge of a frequently misunderstood minority religious group;
Dr, Julius Mark
Rabbi, Vine Street Temple ‘
Khal Kodesh Ohavai Sholom
I Nashville, Tennessee

 .. j_V ...
PREFACE
The Inventogy gf_phg Church.ggd Synagogge Archives gf Tennessee:
Jewish Congregations, is one of a nation—wide series of inventories of de-
nominational archives being compiled and published by the Historical Records
Survey Program of the Work Projects Administration. These inventories are
intended to serve as handbooks for the clergy and other religious leaders
y and to form a basis for study by students and research specialists in the .
T field of church history and in sociological and genealogical investigation.
j Besides inventories of church archives, the Tennessee Survey is engaged in
the preparation of inventories of county and municipal records, guides to
depositories and collections of manuscripts, inventories of early American
imprints, directories of churches and religious institutions, and tran-
scriptions of selected county court minutes. A list of publications of the
Tennessee Survey follows the indexes to this volume.
The historical information contained in this book is based partially
upon statements made by congregational officials in personal interviews.
These sections were thoroughly checked and were supplemented by an exami-
nation of the manuscript minutes of the congregations and by reference to
available printed sources and public archives. The arrangement of entries
is strictly chronological under the two divisions of local organizations,
and national organizations and State publications.
The work of the church records unit of the Tennessee Historical
Records Survey and the preparation of this book for publication were under
the supervision of Robert Cassell, Church Archives Editor of the Survey.
Checking of field work was done by Milford R. Wheeler, Reginald B. Martin,
and Arthur E. Lackey. The original field work was conducted under the
supervision of James E. Davis and Arch Faidley, Jr. Typing of the final
draft and cutting of stencils was done by Helen P. Allen and Edna Evans.
This volume was prepared by workers of the Tennessee Historical
Records Survey in accordance with the instructions from the Washington
office of the Survey Program; detailed editorial comments and criticisms of
the book have been made by Donald A. Thompson, Assistant Archivist in
charge of the Church Archives lnventony.
Rabbi Julius Mark, of Congregation Khal Kodesh Ohavai Sholom, rendered
valuable assistance in reading and criticising the manuscript of this vol—
une. The help and cooperation of many other congregational officials who
in varying measures, great and small, contributed to the compilation of this
volume are acknowledged.
Madison Bratton, State Supervisor
· The Tennessee Historical Records Survey
Nashville
July 29, 1941

 - 1 - A
I TABLE OF CONTENTS
‘ Explanatory Notes, Abbreviations, and Symbols ..........•....•.•.• 2
Historical Introduction ........................................•. 5
S National Organizations and Publications ••·............•.........• ll
A Jewish Congregations ............................................. 14
. Bibliography •••••••cc••••••••••••••••••••••|¢••••••|••••••••••OOO 41
Chronological Index .......................................··•·.•• 44
; Community Index ...,,...•.......................................,• 47
in Alphabetical Index ............................................... 48
List of Publications of the Tennessee Historical Records Survey .. 54

 - 2 -
EXPLANATORY NOTES
The individual entries on the congregations and institutions are
indicated by Arabic numerals, while the entries for the national bodies _
and State publications are lettered, The two groups are arranged in
chronological order, See references indicate where additional or more
detailed information mayfbe found, Gaps in the records listed for many
congregations are due either to the fact that the records were not kept,
or were lost or misplaced, In some cases, the records were destroyed
by fire, ‘
Citations to sources for the history of a congregation or institution
are given before the listing of the records, All printed sources are
underlined; those not underlined are manuscript, Citations to deeds and
charters of the congregations and institutions are given in the entries,
All records cited are in the custody of the register of the county where
the congregation is located, Ibid, refers only to the last of a series of
sources cited immediately above,
The full names of persons mentioned in this Invcntogy are given
wherever the information is available, The exact location of each organi-
zation is given according to the latest available information, Similarly,
membership and property valuation, where ascertainable, are the most recent
given by congregational officials,
The bibliography is arranged to show the location of sources and the
symbols used are those of the Union Catalog of the Library of Congress.
Following the bibliography are a chronological index, a community index,
and an alphabetical index,
ABBREVIATIONS
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cited}
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cited;
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S€c•; S€CS• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• section, Sections
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 E
- 5 -
(First entry p. ll)
HISTORICAL INTE DUCTION
Y The first settlements of Jews in Tennessee are shrouded in the past
of history. Permanent individual settlements were probably made in the
eighteen thirties and forties, for shortly after the middle of the nine-
teenth century, members of the Jewish faith in Memphis and Nashville
were nu erous enough to establish religious organizations. There were,
however, no Jewish Congregations in Tennessee in 1850.1
The migration of the Jews to America came in rather well-defined
waves. The first and earliest migration was made to Dutch and English
settlements along the Atlantic coast in the late seventeenth and early
eighteenth centuries, In this period, the Jews who came to America were
chiefly of Spanish extraction; most of them had gone first to Holland or
Dutch Guiana and other West Indies possessions. These "Sephardic" Jews
settled in the Atlantic seacoast towns of New York, Charleston, Savannah,
and Newport.2 The nu ber of this group was small, and it is estimated
that there were only 2,000 Sephardic Jews in the United States at the
time of the American Eevolution.$
The migration of Jews from Europe gradually came from the Northern
European countries. The unsettled conditions brought about by the "Lib-
eral Eevolutions" between 1820 and 1848 spurred the wave of emigration
from the Germanies and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. There was also a
sprinkling of Jews from England.4 Basically, however, the Jewish immi-
grants of this period were part of the general German im igration movement
between the eighteen thirties and seventies.5 It is estimated that about
200,000 German Jews arrived in this group.6 Being chiefly tradesmen and
middlemen of the professional and commercial class, they spread inland
through the country, settling in the commercial centers.? This group of
Jews was probably the first to permanently settle in Tennessee.
Prior to 1880, the Jewish population of the United States consisted
almost exclusively of Spanish, English, and German Jews, and their des-
cendants,8 and by this date the second wave of im igration had run its v
course.9 The third and largest wave of Jewish im igration drew its source
 
1. The American Jewish Yearbook, 5699, vol. 40, p. 68.
I 2. Peter Wiernik, Histopy pf_the JEwE'in_America, pp. 41-79.
5. Burton T. Hendrick, Thi Jews in America, p. 18. One congregation,
in Memphis, perpetuates the Sephardic ritual in its name, Anshei
Sphard, entry 19.
4. Wiernik, gp. git], pp. 137, 140.
5. Hendrick, pp, git}, pp. l9, 20.
6. Ibid., p. 22.
7. Ibid., p. 24; Wiernik, pp, git., p. 150.
8. Hendrick, pp, git,, p. 27.
9. Wiernik, gp-. Sgt-., pp. 242, 245.

 - 4 -
Historical Introduction (First entry p. 11)
from Poland and Russia. Chiefly political considerations, i.e,, the
Jewish pogroms in the Polish area, were stimulant enough, without other
attendant causes, to change the tide and stream of im igration to the
New World. The Jews that now came from Europe were of orthodox back-
ground, chiefly unskilled proletarian and some tradesmen.lO Because of
their need of industry and machines to earn a livelihood, they congrogatod
in manufacturing centers,1l particularly New York City, and other large
inland industrial centers, bringing their orthodox religion with them.
Among the earliest recorded Jewish settlements in Tennessee were
some made along the Holston Edver about 1778 in present Hawkins County.12
Outside of a few settlers in this region, no trace of Jewish settlements
is to be found until the nineteenth century, Apparently the first estab-
lished Jewish settlements were made in the Memphis region in the early
eighteen forties.l5 Joseph J, Andrews, formerly of Charleston and Phila-
delphia, one of the earliest Jewish citizens of Memphis, was performing
burial services for the faith in 1847.14 In 1850 a Hebrew Benevolent
Society was organized in Memphis15 and in 1855 the first congregation was
organized, and incorporated as "The Congregation of the Children of
Israel" on March 2, 1854, by the Tennessee General Assembly.16 "Besides
Andrews, the act named Moses Simons, John Walker, D. levy, Julius Sandec,
D. Folz, M. Bornborger, M. Bloom, Joseph Strous, and H,  einach as trus-
t99S•17 MOSGS Simons was president of the Congregation,18 Subsequently,
Congregation Beth El Emeth was organized by the Orthodox members of Con-
gregation B'nai Israel in 1862, but it became defunct in 1882 and the
members rejoined Congregation Children of Israe1.19 Congregation Beth E1
Eneth was revived by the Orthodox members in 1916.20 Meanwhile, Baron
Hirsch Synagogue, the firstzpermanent Orthodox congregation in Memphis,
had been organized in 1891 and in 1898 Anshei Sphard, another Orthodox
congregation, was formed.2é Other congregations in Memphis are Anshei
10. Hendrick, gp? egjb, 89; Wiernik, op: git}, 272.
11. Ibid.
12, The Jewish Encyclopedia, XII, 104.
13. Ibid., VIII, 463.
14. Ibid.
15. Ibid,
16. Acts pf the General Assembly_2£ Tennessee gf 1855-54, ch, 281,
sec. 10; see entry 2.
· 17. Acts 2f_the General Assembly of Tennessee 2f_l855-54, ch. 281,
sec. 10. By the same act, Congregation Khal Kodesh Magen David in
Nashville was incorporated.
18. EQ2 Jewish Encyclopedia, VIII, 464.
19. Ibid.; see entry 2.
20. See entry 51.
21. See entry 17.
22. See entry 19.

 1
E
.. 5 -
Historical Introduction. (First entry p. 11)
Mischne, organized in 1900,25 and Anshei Galicia, organized in 1912,24 A
A _ both of yérpich are Orthodox. There are in Memphis the B'nai B'rith Home
. for Aged and a Jewish Neighborhood House.26
The development of Jewish communities in Nashville and Knoxville par-
allels that in Memphis. Although both Knoxville and Nashville had been
settled earlier than Memphis, the Jewish citizens were unable to muster
enough strength to maintain organizations until the. eighteen fifties.
Several Jewish families were settled in Nashville about 184527 and in 1854
by the same act incorporating the first congregation in Memphis, the Con-
_ gregation of the Shield of David, "Kaal a Kodish Mogen David"28 was chart-
ered. Named as trustees by the act were Isaac Garrison, Henry Harris, M.
1 Sulzbacker, Lewis Hanf, Marx Elsbach, A. B. Oppenheimer, E. Wolf, A. Lande
L. Sohn, S. Nathan, and H. Jessel.29 Abraham Schwab was first president.56
The preamble to the act stated that "Whereas, By the constitution of this
State, 'a11‘men..have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty
God according to the dictates of their own conscience;’ and whereas the
Jews of Davidson County desire to purchase a burial ground- for their dead,
and to erect a synagogue in said county in order that they may the more
` quietly, securely and fully enjoy the inestimable blessing of such right
...," the congregation was thereby incorporated.51 The congregation was
` empowered to purchase burial grounds and temple grounds, and to erect and
furnish temples and synagogues .52 The mode of worship was to follow that
of the Polish Jews.35 This charter was substantially reenacted. in 1855.54
A Youn‘g'Men's Hebrew Benevolent Society had been organited in Nash-
ville in 1855.55 The society was incorporated on March 5, 1860, with
Benjamin Lyons, S, Morgolins, D. Aaron, J. Fleishman, S. Lecberman, L.
Soloman, and J. Emanuel as trustees.$6 This organization lasted until
1882.37 Congregation B'nai Yeshurun was organized in Nashville in 1862 by
the Reform element,58 but it united with Congregation Khal Kodosh Magen
David in 1868 to form Congregation Khal Kodesh Ohavai Sholom, Lovers of
 
25. See entry 20.
24. See entry 29.
25. See entry 55.
26. See entry 28. .
A 27. _'I_'h_e_ Jewish Encyclopedia, XII, 104.
_ ;8. Acts _o_iLth_e_ General Assemblypil Tennessee _o_f_ 1855-54, ·ch. 281, sec. 1.
9. Ibid. s
50. 213 Jewish Encyclopedia, XII, 104.
51. Acts of the General Assembly of Tennessee of 1855-54, ch. 281.
32. _1p;d.TST£Ts ' " "' ‘
es.- gig., See. 4. —
54. Acts pfphg General Assembly gi; Tennessee of 1855-56, ch. 45.
$5. See entry 1. _.-
56. Private Acts of the General Assembly of Tennessee of 1859-60, ch. 95.
57. See entry 1. ——_-_ —— ——
58, Clayton, Histog _Q Davidson County, Tennessee, p. 542; see entry 4.

 - 5 -
Historical Introduction (First entry p. 11) _
Peace,59 the oldest existing Nashville Congregation. The congregation A
I was incorporated as "Khal Kodesh Ohavath Sholam" on February 21, 1868.40
This was a Ibform congregation from which orthodox members separated to
organize Congregation Khal Kodesh Adath Israel in 1879.41 Another ortho-
dox congregation in Nashville, Shereth Israel, was organized in 1895 by
.4 Hungarian Jews.42
The first congregation organized in Knoxville was Congregation Beth
E1, formed in 1866 as the Hebrew Benevolent Society,45 and incorporated
on March 5, 1868.44 Trustees named in the act included M. Stearn, Jacob
Daniel, Louis David, Frank Hart, N. Stearn, Julius Ochs and M. Spiro,45
This congregation was a Refomn one. The orthodox Jews of Knoxville form-
ed a short-lived organization, B'nai Yeshurun,46 before the present or-
thodox congregation, Heska Amuna,47 was erected in 1890. Other congre-
gations organized in Knoxville inc1uded.Anshei Sholom in 190748 and Beth
Israel in 1929.49 Knoxville also has a Jewish Community Center and a
Federation of Jewish Charities.5O
In Chattanooga, while Jewish settlementsiwere made as early as 1858,5]
- the first congregation, Mizpah, was organizgg by a Reform group on May 20,
1866, as the Hebrew Benevolent Association. The Association, chartered
as “Chebra Gamilas Chaced," had as trustees Joseph B. Spitzer, Barney
Feibleman, Jacob Harris, David Friedman, Michael Loeffler, G, A, Colberg,
S, Simpson, Adolph Deutch, Charles B. Feibleman, Daniel Deutch, R. Leophold
Feibleman, Jacob Bach, Jacob Seckelson, Morris Bradt, William Friedman,
Simon Horwitz, Aaron Simpson, H. Gutman, Henry Deutch, Jacob Iewinsky, and
 
59. See entries 5, 4, 9.
40. Private_Acts e£_the General Assembly gg Tennessee o£_1867-68, ch. 61.
· Funds of the congregation were to be used to purchase burial grou ds,
_ grounds for the erection of temples and synagogues, to build temples
- and synagogues and furnish them, for instruction and teaching, and to
relieve unfortunates.
41. See entry lO.
42, Sec entry 18.
45. William Rule, Standard Histopy o£_Knoxvi11e, Tennessee, pp. 464, 465;
see entry 6.
44. Private Acts o£_the General Assembly ££_Tennessee e£_l867-68, ch. 75,
· sec. l.
45vO  
4s, s'»§§'enm·y 11-.
47. See entry 16. A
- 48._ Ibid,
. · 49. See entry 54,
- 50. See entries 56, 57. A
' 51. The Jewish Encyclopedia, XII, 104.
P 52. Rrivate Acts o£_the General Assembly og Tennessee e£_l866-67, 2nd ad.
ses., oh. 46, sec. 8; see entry 7.

 • 7 -
Historical Introduction (First entry p. ll)
Elias Bowsky.53 The orthodox grougs in Chattanooga organized B'nai Zion p
in ieaef?4 and sham zion in 1904,5
Other active congregations in Tennessee include one each in the
medium-sized cities of Jackson and Clarksgille.56 There is also one con-
gregation in Brownsville founded in 1867. 7 Congregations also formerly
existed in Clarksville, Colu bia, and Bristol, Tennessee.58
There are two Jewish publications in Tennessee, Thi Hebrew Watchman,
founded in 1925 in Memphiss and The Observer, founded in 1954 in Nash-
v111¤.6° ""‘ """""'”
All Jewish Congregations maintain full autonomy in deciding local
problems even though they may be affiliated with a national organization.
The national organizations serve as coordinating bodies, regulating and
directing intercongregational activities. In localities where no organ-
ized Jewish congregation is maintained, services are generally held on
the Sabbath and holidays. Particularly on the High Holidays are special
services conducted, even in some communities where established congrega-
tions are located,
Child education is an important factor in Jewish religious life.
After the formation of a congregation, classes are usually organized for
children, either as Sunday Schools or Sabbath Schools, Other cultural or
scholastic activities are fostered by Com unity Centers and Young Men's
and Young Women's Hebrew Associations, designed to serve as community as
well as religious centers, drawing the younger Jewish generation closer
to Jewish com unal life,
In the field of philanthropy and charity, several organizations
serve to take care of the indigent portions of the Jewish population.
Local groups such as Jewish Welfare Federations, B'nai B'rith Lodges, and
other organizations perform such functions.i There is a Jewish Neighbor-
hood House61 and B'nai B'rith Home for Aged62 in Memphis. In most
instances, Jewish congregations maintain their own cemeteries. These
 
53. See entry 7.
54, See entry 15,
‘ 55. See entry 22,
» 56, See entries 14, 55.
57, See entry 8,
58. See entries 23, 52, A congregation organized about 1929 in Bristol,
Tennessee, is now located in Bristol, Virginia, see forthcoming
_ Inventory 2f_th2 Church and_Synagogue Archives 2f_Virginia: Jewish
Bodies,
59. See entry E,
60, See entry F.
61. See entry 28,
62. See entry 35,

 \
- 8 -
?* Historical Introduction (First entry p. 11)
’ have been indicated in the entries, but the cemeteries have not been _
7 inventoried.
The 1956 Census of religious bodies showed a total of 4,641,184 Jews
; in the United States members of 5,g28 congregations with 25,275 in Tennes-
see belonging to 18 congregations. 3 In 1818 there were an estimated
5,000 Jews in the Uhited“States,64 and in 1907 there were an estimated
1,776,885 in the nation.65 In 1877, there were only 5,751 Jews counted in
the State of Tennessee, which nu ber advanced to 15,000 in 1897, dropped
to 10,000 in 1907, and rose to 14,054 in 1917, and 22,552 in 1927.66 The
proportion of gain of the nu ber of Jews in the South has been insignifi-
cant, representing 0.27 percent of the total population of the United
States in 1877 and 0.65 percent in 1927.67 The distribution of Jews
throughout the country has shifted to the North, but a reverse trend appears
to have set in since 1927, and the proportion of Jews in the South has in-
creased slightly. 68
In 1927, the South had more congregations per Jewish residents than
other sections, but Tennessee was the extreme in the section, with one
congregation to each 1,525 Jews compared to 525 in West Virginia,69
The value of congregational buildings in Tennessee in 1956 was set at
$788,500 of the 12 congregations reporting on this item•7O Of Congrega-
tions reporting expenditures, a total of 14 expended $121,054.71
The congregation is the most important single Jewish organization in
the countqy. The congregations promote facilities for worship, and
through the Pabbis engage in matters pertaining to marriage and divorce,
the observance of the Sabbath and various rituals. They also engage in
educational and cultural activities and philanthropic work. According to
one authority, "No Jewish activity is foreign to these organizations,"72
The E bbi is the chief com unal functionary: he ministers to the religious
 
65. Census pf_Religious Bodies: 1956, Bulletin Ep, Z2, Jewish Congrega-
tions, 1, 5. Ibvised figures for 1957 by Harry Linfield set the
total Jewish population of the United States at 4,770,647, and of Ten-
nessee at 25,811. (The American Jewish Yearbook, 5701, vol. 42, pp,
227, 22a). ""
64. Harry S. Linfield, The Jews in_the United States, 1927, p. 66.
65. Ibid. `""
, GSO   PQ 90.
67. Ibid., p. 67.
68. Ibid., p. 68.
69. Harry S. Linfield, The Communal Organization of the Jews in the United `
_ States, 1927, pp. 55:—54. ---—_- —-I--
70. Census gf  eligious Bodies; 1956, Bulletin Hg._Z2, Jewish Congrega-
tions, p. 5.
7]—• It-)j—d•, Pe Go
72. Linfield, The Communal Organization p£_the Jews ip_the United States,
1927, p. 51. ,

 H
if
- 9 -
_g, A Historical Introduction (First entry p. ll)
.. . ;,;4 needs:i‘$%e congregation, solemnizes marriages, and supervises ritual A
_g; matters.
The Jewish religion is a way of life and has no formulated creed.
,; Its fundamental doctrine is that God is One. It holds that the world is
lll A a cosmic unit and it is good; there is no cosmic force for evil, no prin-
I ciple of evil in creation: the crown and acme of God’s creation is man.
`, Another of its doctrines is the perfection of humanity through the u fold-
QJ ing of the divine powers in man; there is to be a divine kingdom of truth
‘ and righteousness on earth. Basic among its dogmas is the injunction to
" fear God and keep his com andments - the whole duty of man•74
`Y` The polity of the congregations is characterized by independence of
_; the individual organizations. There is no organization which controls
pl ritual and synagogal customs. Synagogal customs vary according to the
Q. country of origin from which the members came. All congregations use He-
°· brew in their prayers, but numerous congregations, chiefly Reform, make
extensive use of English, while others use little or none at all. Some
v_ R bbis preach in English only, others in English and Yiddish, and still
_ others in Yiddish alone or other vernacular understood by the congregants.
" Some congregations abstain from the use of instrumental music, others main-
s` tain choirs, some with women. In Orthodox congregations the worshippers
T_ pray with covered heads and the women are apart in a separate section of
V the synagogue; in Reform congregations the members pray with uncovered
heads and the women sit with the men.75
it There are three national congregational organizations: the Union of
: American Hebrew Congregations (Reform), the United Synagogue of America
V (Conservative), and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations. The Reform
”` Jews are members of congregations which have departed substantially from
I traditional orthodox service; the Conservatives are the "middle—of-the-
road" group, and the Orthodox adhere strictly to traditional faith and
forms of observance.76 In 1956, however, only approximately QOO congre-
»- gations out of a total of 5,728 in the nation affiliated with the three
p groups.77
The Jewish xsrsrm movement in America had its inception in Germany,78
as the Americans were influenced by the religious agitation stirring the
p » 73. Linfield, The Communal Organization pf_the Jews in the_United States,
l927, p. 44.
._ 74. Census pf Religious Bodies: 1956, Bulletin H2, Z2! Jewish Conerega-
tions, pp. 8, 9. -
75. Ibid., pp, ll, l2.
76. ‘Maurice J. Karpf, Jewish Com unity Organization in the_United States,
pp. 51, 52.
. 77. Census gf Religious Bodies; 1956, Bulletin H2. Z2, Jewish Congrega-
s tions, p. 12.
‘ 78. David Philipson, The ssrorm Movement in_JudaiSm. p. $29. '

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l
Y - l0 -
  Historical Introduction (First entry p, ll)
;—_ I Jews of Germany, and German preachers, in most instances, helped shape
the course of Reform, The inception of the Reform movement in American ‘
Q Judaism dates from 1824 when a Ibform congregation was organized in
- A Charleston, South Carolina.79 The movement, however, did not spread un-
- ~ til after 1840 when other Reform societies were founded. Indicative of
` . the struggle over Reform in Tennessee were the schisms in the first con-
~ · · gregations in Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville, in two instances of which
_, the Orthodox elements separated to form its own organization, and in the
‘ third the Reform element split off.8O Among the outstanding le-aders in
I the Reform movement was Isaac M. Wise destined to be the chief proponent
~ in the development of lkform Judaism,é]· and considered the foremost figure
I in Jewish religious life.82 The culmination of the Reform movement occurr-
· ed in the organization of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations by 34
congregations in 1875.83 Composed of some BOO congregations represented
by delegates, the Union meets in council biennially, It was originally in-
· · tended to include congregations of all shades of opinion, but has become
· the union of Reform congregations ,84 One of its outstanding achievements
‘ was the establishment of the Hebrew Union College in l8'75 in Cincinnati for
theological training of Reform Rabbis.85 The first conference of Reform
lhbbis was held in Philadelphia in l869 and in l889 the Central Conference
l of American Ihbbis was organized•86
V Among the tenets of Reform Judaism are the belief that distinction
must be made between the universal precepts of religion and morality and
enactments arising from circumstances and conditions of special times and
places. Customs and ceremonies change with the varying needs of different
generations .87 The conception of Judaism as an universal faith rather than
a national faith, and the belief that Jews are citizens of the land of their
birth and adoption, i.e., they are a religious community, not a nation, `
is also basic in Refgrml thinking.88 Connected with these tenets is the at-
titude on the Messianic question: Reform Judaism rejects the coming of a
personal Messiah and preaches the coming of the Messianic age of universal
peace and good will among men.89
 
79. David Philipson, The Reform Movement in Judaism, p. 2531.
BO, See entries 2-4, -8:-11. `-'
81. Philipson, gp. iii., p. 535.
82. Dictionary g£American Biography, XX, p. 426.
, 85, Philipson, op, cit., p. 578; see entry A.
84. Philipson, op, _c_i_t_., pp. 378, 379.
’ 85, Ibid., p. 579.
86. Ibid., pp. 555, 357; see entry B.
87. Philipson, op. _c_i_t_., p. 5. `
89. Ibid., pp. 5, 6,
I

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2 - 11 e- _
F NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND PUBLICATIONS
j A, UNION OF AMERICAN HEBREW CONGREG TIONS, 1875--. 34 West Sixth Street,
i Cincinnati, Ohio. _
Organized on July 8, 1875, in Cincinnati, Ohio, by a Convention rep-
resenting 54 congregations numbering eighteen hundred members. The U ion
_ was designed to encourage and aid in the organization and development of
' congregations and promote religious instruction and study of Jewish his-
_ tory and literature. Two other purposes of the Union are the maintenance
I of the Hebrew Union College at Cincinnati, Ohio, and the fostering of other
A activities for the promotion of Judaism, Four departments, Synagogue
Extension, Tract Commission, Jewish Educat