Congregation Emanu-El (San Francisco)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Temple Emanu-El
Congregation Emanu-El.jpg
AffiliationReform Judaism
Location2 Lake Street, San Francisco,
California, United States
Geographic coordinates37°47′14″N 122°27′35″W / 37.7872°N 122.4597°W / 37.7872; -122.4597Coordinates: 37°47′14″N 122°27′35″W / 37.7872°N 122.4597°W / 37.7872; -122.4597
Architect(s)Arthur Brown Jr.
StyleByzantine Revival
Dome height (outer)150 feet

Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco, California, is one of the two oldest Jewish congregations in California.

During the Gold Rush in 1849, a small group of Jews held the first High Holy Days services on the west coast of the United States in San Francisco. This group of traders and merchants founded Congregation Emanu-El sometime in 1850, and its charter was issued in April, 1851. The 16 signatories were mostly German Jews from Bavaria.

In 1884 Julie Rosewald became America's first female cantor when she began serving in Emanu-El, although she was not ordained.[1][1][2] She served as a cantor there until 1893.[1][1][2]

As the Reform Movement in Judaism spread in the United States during the early twentieth century, the synagogue became affiliated with this framework. Among its major programs today, the synagogue includes strong support for Israel, with a number of trips and related activities. As with many Reform congregations, there is also a major emphasis on social justice with the congregation's Tzedek Council (social justice council), such as the 2016 Tikkun Tikvah effort to reform California's criminal justice system, and ongoing work to advocate for the rights of refugees and immigrants.[3]

Early Temple Emanu-El. Sutter Street, San Francisco, from Robert N. Dennis collection of stereoscopic views


  • Rabbi Julius Eckman (1854–1855)
  • Rabbi Elkan Cohn (1860–1889)
  • Rabbi Jacob Voorsanger (1889–1908)
  • Rabbi Martin Meyer (1910–1923)
  • Rabbi Louis Newman (1924–1930)
  • Rabbi Irving Reichert (1930–1948)
  • Rabbi Alvin Fine (1948–1964)
  • Rabbi Meyer Heller (1950–1963)
  • Rabbi Irving Hausman (1964–1967)
  • Rabbi Joseph Asher (1967–1986)[4]
  • Rabbi Robert Kirschner (1981–1992)
  • Rabbi Mark Schiftan (1987–1994)
  • Rabbi Peretz Wolf-Prusan (1990–2010)
  • Rabbi Stephen Pearce, D.D. Ph.D. (1992–2013) (Senior Rabbi Emeritus, –present)
  • Rabbi Helen Cohn (1993–2005)
  • Rabbi Lawrence Kushner (Scholar in Residence since 2002)
  • Rabbi Sydney Mintz (1997–present)
  • Cantor Marsha Attie (1998–present)
  • Rabbi Ryan Bauer (2005–present)
  • Rabbi Jonathan Jaffe (2005–2014)
  • Rabbi Carla Fenves (2011–present)
  • Senior Rabbi Beth Singer (2013–present)
  • Senior Rabbi Jonathan Singer (2013–present)
  • Rabbi Jason Rodich (2015–present)
  • Cantor Roslyn Barak (Senior Cantor Emerita) (Ck date)

Notable members[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Julie Rosewald: America's first woman cantor".
  2. ^ a b "The Forgotten Woman Cantor: Julie Rosewald Now Getting Her Due - The Jewish Week". The Jewish Week.
  3. ^ "Tikkun Tikvah - Working to Reform California's Criminal Justice System - Congregation Emanu-El". Congregation Emanu-El. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  4. ^ Kirschner, Robert (1991). "A Singular Elegance". In Rischin, Moses; Asher, Raphael (eds.). The Jewish legacy and the German conscience. Berkeley, CA: The Judah L. Magnes Museum. p. 47.

Further reading[edit]

  • Rosenbaum, Fred, Visions of Reform : Congregation Emanu-El and the Jews of San Francisco 1849–1999, Judah L. Magnes Museum, 2000, ISBN 0-943376-69-6 ISBN 978-0-943376-69-1
  • Rosenbaum, Fred, Architects of reform: congregational and community leadership Emanu-El of San Francisco, 1849–1980, Western Jewish History Center, Judah L. Magnes Memorial Museum, 1980
  • Voorsanger, Jacob, The Chronicles of Emanu-El, Spaulding Press, 1900.

External links[edit]