History of the Jews in Dallas

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Dallas is one of the largest cities in Texas and has one of the largest Jewish communities in the state.[1]

Early history[edit]

German Jews arrived in Dallas as part of the mid-nineteenth century immigration to Texas from the German principalities following their revolutions. They established the city's first Jewish cemetery in 1854.[2] The small but growing Jewish community wanted a permanent religious structure as well as a rabbi to conduct services and to offer religious education for children. In 1873, several families founded the first congregation in the Dallas area, Jewish Congregation Emanu-El (now Temple Emanu-El), a Reform congregation.[3] The Temple was chartered in 1875. The next year they built a small red brick temple in the Byzantine style at Commerce and Church (now Field) streets in downtown Dallas. The congregation engaged its first rabbi, Aaron Suhler, in 1875 and joined the Union of American Hebrew Congregations in 1906, an association of Reform congregations.

Modern history[edit]

In 1947, a member of the Jewish community in Dallas began printing the Texas Jewish Post.[4] In 1957 the temple moved to its present location in North Dallas. Architects Howard R. Meyer and Max M. Sandfield, with noted California architect William W. Wurster as consultant, received an Award of Merit from the American Institute of Architects for the design of the present structure, which was enhanced by art coordinator György Kepes of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Handbook of Texas states that, "The formal preservation of the history of Texas Jewry goes back to Rabbi Henry Cohen of Galveston and Rabbi David Lefkowitz of Dallas, who set out to interview as many early settlers and their families as possible. They produced a historical account for the Texas Centennial in 1936."[2]

Early Merchant Community[edit]

Many Jewish merchants contributed to the growth of Dallas, often working together for the betterment of the city. Because Jewish merchants were often the prime supporters of the community's cultural institutions and charities, their economic health often dictated the economic health of the city. Local newspapers received most of their income from advertising from Jewish merchants, enabling them to remain independent and impartial in their reporting unlike European newspapers which were often funded by a particular political party. Jewish merchants were often among the largest bank depositors and frequently sat on the boards of local banks.[5]

Notable Jews of Dallas[edit]

Other community members[edit]


  1. ^ Jewish population small in number, large in influence in Texas by Glenn Dromgoole. Abilene Reporter-News, 11 Mar 2007. Retrieved 2012-04-27. In this article, which is a review of Lone Stars of David: The Jews of Texas, ed. Hollace Ava Weiner and Rabbi Kenneth D. Roseman (Brandeis University Press), it is stated that Dallas' Jewish population of approximately 45,000 is the largest of any Texas city.
  2. ^ a b Jews from the Handbook of Texas Online
  3. ^ Temple Emanu-El, Dallas from the Handbook of Texas Online
  4. ^ Texas Jewish Post from the Handbook of Texas Online
  5. ^ a b "Titche--Goettinger Department Store," Texas Historical Commission Atlas. Retrieved 2011-08-22.
  6. ^ Emanuel Meyer Kahn from the Handbook of Texas Online
  7. ^ Minnie Lichtenstein Marcus from the Handbook of Texas Online
  8. ^ Sanger-Harris Collection, Texas Archival Resources Online, from the University of Texas at Austin. Retrieved 2011-08-22.
  9. ^ Dallas Independent School District information page for Edward Titche Elementary
  10. ^ George E. Kessler from the Handbook of Texas Online

Further reading[edit]