TEMPLE EMANU-EL, DALLAS. Temple Emanu-El, founded in 1873 and
     chartered in 1875, is on the corner of Hillcrest Road and Northwest Highway in North
     Dallas. It was originally called the Jewish Congregation Emanu-El and subsequently
     Congregation Emanu-El; it was renamed Temple Emanu-El Congregation in 1974 and
     is referred to as Temple Emanu-El. The reform Jewish congregation, led by Rabbi
     Sheldon Zimmerman, Rabbi Gerald J. Klein, and Rabbi Elisabeth Weiss Stern in 1987,
     had a membership numbering 2,375 families. Temple Emanu-El (Emanu-El is Hebrew
     for "God with us") is an outgrowth of the first organized Jewish group in Dallas, the
     Hebrew Benevolent Association. Eleven men, including Moses Ulman, E. M. Tillman,
     Alexander Sanger,qv and A. J. Rosenfield, formed the association on July 1, 1872, in
     order to help the sick, to bury the dead, and to hold religious services for persons of
     the Jewish faith. Temple Emanu-El dates its inception from the efforts of these pioneers
     since the Benevolent Association became part of Temple Emanu-El. Because the small
     but growing Jewish community felt the need for a permanent religious structure as well
     as for a rabbi to conduct services and to offer religious education for children, several
     families formed Congregation Emanu-El. They elected David Goslin president; Philip
     Sangerqv vice president; Emanuel Tillman treasurer; H. Regensburger secretary; and
     Alexander Sanger, August Israelsky, and Henry Loeb trustees. The next year they built
     a small red brick temple in the Byzantine style at Commerce and Church (now Field)
     streets in downtown Dallas. Since Congregation Emanu-El was founded in the reform
     tradition, it adopted a modern prayer book with English translations of the Hebrew
     prayers. The congregation engaged its first rabbi, Aaron Suhler, in 1875 and joined the
     Union of American Hebrew Congregations in 1906. When the first temple proved too
     small for the congregation, Temple Emanu-El erected a slightly larger red brick and
     stone temple on St. Louis and Ervay streets in 1899. As the congregation expanded
     and the residential population of the city left the downtown area, the congregation
     moved in 1916 to South Boulevard and Harwood Street. Architects Hubbel and
     Greene designed this third temple building in a classic style. In 1957 the temple moved
     to its present location in north Dallas. Architects Howard R. Meyerqv 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 Gyorgy Kepes of the
     Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the work of local craftsmen John Szymak,
     Velma Dozier,qv Octavio Medellin, and Charles Williams,qv and international artists
     Anni Albers, Marc Chagall, and Ben Shawn. The building has been called Meyer's
     finest. Teak, tile, travertine, and Mexican brick were used on the temple, whose basic
     form is a cylinder for the sanctuary, surrounded by a rectangular structure that houses
     offices, meeting rooms, a chapel, and a school. Abstract stained-glass windows
     designed by Kepes accent the chapel and sanctuary; Medellin developed a technique
     for making gold and platinum-colored glass in order to execute Kepes's design. The
     curtain and doors of the ark were woven by Albers. Notable rabbis at the temple were
     David Lefkowitz (1920-49) and Levi A. Olanqv (1949-72). From 1874 to 1878
     Temple Emanu-El sponsored a nonsectarian day-school that enrolled sixty to seventy
     children. This school, which employed non-Jewish teachers and principals before the
     Dallas public schools were established, may have been the first interfaith endeavor in
     Dallas. Temple Emanu-El sponsored the Community Course from its inception in 1939
     until its demise in the late 1970s. The temple continues to offer cultural programs and
     lectures that are open to the public, such as book review series sponsored by the
     sisterhood of the temple's women. In its concern for social action the congregation
     founded and sponsored Rhoads Terrace Pre-School for Disadvantaged Children and a
     peace and world relations project begun by the sisterhood. The congregation is a
     member of North Dallas Shared Ministries Food Bank, East Dallas Health Coalition,
     and the Dallas Jewish Coalition. Temple Emanu-El publishes a newsletter, The
     Window, for its congregants. Since 1972 the Dorothy M. and Henry S. Jacobus
     Archives of Temple Emanu-El has housed all material pertaining to the congregation
     and its members, and these holdings are made available to interested congregants and

     BIBLIOGRAPHY: Dallas Morning News, April 2, 1922. David Dillon, Dallas
     Architecture, 1936-1986 (Austin: Texas Monthly Press, 1985). David Lefkowitz,
     History of Temple Emanu-El, Dallas (Dallas: Temple Emanu-El, n.d.). Howard
     Meyer Collection, Architecture and Planning Library, University of Texas at Austin.

     Gerry Cristol

     Recommended citation:
          "TEMPLE EMANU-EL, DALLAS." The Handbook of Texas Online.
          <http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/TT/ijt1.html> [Accessed Sat
          Feb 23 13:36:30 US/Central 2002 ].

     The Handbook of Texas Online is a joint project of The General Libraries at the University of
     Texas at Austin (http://www.lib.utexas.edu) and the Texas State Historical Association

     Copyright ©, The Texas State Historical Association, 1997-2001
     Last Updated: July 23, 2001
     Comments to: comments.tsha@lib.utexas.edu

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