Monthly Archives: December 2012

Happy New Year!

From all of us at the ISJL to all of y’all …

Posted on December 31, 2012

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Scenes Around the South

As 2012 draws to a close, we thought we’d share some recent images from our staff’s travels around the South …

Harry Potter Hanukkah in Fayetteville, Arkansas!

Meanwhile in Macon, GA, students at Temple Beth Israel had a great time with a Revolutionary War themed Hanukkah program based on the book "Hanukkah at Valley Forge"!

Also in Arkansas: Razorback Holiday Lights!

"Jewish Books Cooking" rocked Baton Rouge (and Jackson, Memphis & New Orleans!)

Havdallah with Maya in Plano, TX - "Shavua tov!"

Shavua tov, y’all – may you have a good week, may you find your happiness increase!

Posted on December 28, 2012

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“An enduring monument to the Enterprise and Liberality of Our Israelitish Citizens”: A Beautiful Kentucky Synagogue

Recently, I have started my research into the Jewish communities of Kentucky for our Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities. A few weeks ago I was all over western Kentucky.  In Owensboro, I found one of the oldest synagogues in the United States. Adath Israel, dedicated in 1877, is the 12th oldest synagogue in the country still in use today. In the South, only Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim in Charleston, South Carolina (built in 1840), and Temple of Israel in Wilmington, North Carolina (built in 1876) are older.

I visited with two members of the congregation, Stuart Spindel and Sandy Bugay, who gave me a tour of the small, but lovely building.  When the synagogue was dedicated in 1877, the local newspaper ran a large account of the ceremony, calling the building “an enduring monument to the Enterprise and Liberality of Our Israelitish Citizens.” Though a social hall was added on much later, the Moorish Revival building is still remarkably intact.

The congregation has always been tiny. One of the reasons Adath Israel is still in the synagogue is because they never outgrew it. Owensboro never had more than one hundred Jews during the 20th century. In recent years, the congregation has dwindled, but the remaining members are dedicated to maintaining it for as long as they can.

You can read much more about the history of Adath Israel and Owensboro Jewish community when the Kentucky section of the Encyclopedia is completed (early next year), but in the meantime I just wanted to share some of my photographs of this remarkable jewel of a synagogue:

Posted on December 26, 2012

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

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