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Galveston rabbi officiates at founding of historic Texas Jewish congregation


On this day in 1870, a Mr. Tuck, the grand master of the Masonic Lodge of Texas, laid the cornerstone for Temple B'nai Israel at Galveston. Rabbi Jacobs of the New Orleans Portuguese Synagogue officiated. It is believed that this was the first time an ordained rabbi functioned in Texas, though a Jewish congregation was meeting in Galveston as early as 1856. Temple B'nai Israel is the oldest Reform Jewish congregation in Texas. Under the leadership of Rabbi Henry Cohen, the temple played a role in welcoming Jewish immigrants to Texas during the Galveston Movement in the early twentieth century.

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