The ISJL Conquers Texas

At first, it seemed crazy: writing the histories of 55 different Texas Jewish communities for our Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities. The idea of creating an online resource with the histories of every southern Jewish congregation and community was ambitious enough when we were dealing with Georgia (19 communities) or Alabama (20 communities).

Tackling Texas, though? That was an intimidating task.

It’s … well. Texas. (Read: BIG.)

Jacob DeCordova, one of the many colorful characters in Texas Jewish History, built Waco, TX.

But after 21 months of traveling Texas with two different sets of summer interns, and countless visits to small town libraries, old synagogues, and cemeteries, Texas is done!

Funded with generous grants from the Texas Jewish Historical Society and Humanities Texas, the Texas section of the Encyclopedia is our largest, and we think, our best yet.

Since we finalized the Texas section, we have been hard at work on Oklahoma.  Stay tuned for an exciting announcement about our work in the Sooner state … and in the meantime, dive in to the histories and learn more about the Lone Star State!

The ISJL Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities is designed to present a history of every congregation and significant Jewish community in the South. Currently, we have completed eight states- and will add other states in the future. Click on the highlighted states above to explore each state’s rich Jewish heritage. The Encyclopedia is designed to be a continual work-in-progress. If you have additional information about any of the communities or congregations, please contact us at:

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