Oldest Jewish house of worship in Texas chartered
On this day in 1859, Congregation Beth Israel, the oldest Jewish house of worship in Texas, was chartered as the Hebrew Congregation of the City of Houston. The congregation, which consisted of twenty-two members, many of western European origin, had been organized as an orthodox synagogue five years earlier. The institution started a religious school in 1864 and incorporated as the Hebrew Congregation Beth Israel in 1873. By 1943 it had completed the transformation from an Orthodox to an American Reform Jewish congregation. The Franklin Avenue Temple Beth Israel was completed in 1874, and funds donated in memory of Abraham M. Levy helped pay for a new temple at Austin Street and Holman Avenue in 1925. Among the congregation's chief rabbis was Hyman Judah Schachtel, who arrived in 1943. The Hebrew Congregation Beth Israel was renamed Congregation Beth Israel in 1945.