Saturday, February 7, 2009
Mickve Israel Synagogue-Savannah, Georgia
I'm digging through my Shutterfly account finding photos. I just haven't been anywhere lately and feel uninspired with winter subjects to photograph although I do have to say that our temps are warming up this weekend and getting into the 60's. For my friend >Peter in Paris who is always trying to get me to convert to celcius,lol, that would be about 15.6+!
A couple of years back we took a trip down to Savannah. So much great architecture and history there.
In 1876 the cornerstone for this synagogue was laid and is the third oldest Jewish congregation in America, and is the only Gothic synagogue in the U.S.
The following is taken from the synagogue's web site:
Forty-two brave pioneering Jews, the “largest group of Jews to land in North America in Colonial days” arrived in Savannah on July 11, 1733, just five months after General James Edward Oglethorpe established the colony of Georgia.
These founders of Mickve Israel brought with them a “Safertoro” [sic] made of deerskin, with two “cloaks,” and a “circumcision box,” which was donated by a London merchant. This Torah is still used on commemorative occasions at Mickve Israel.
The name “Mickva Israel” is a phrase in the Haftara (Jeremiah 17:13) and also reflected the influence of Mickve Israel, a book of messianic hope written in 1648 by the famous Amsterdam Rabbi Manashe ben Israel.
On March 1, 1876, the cornerstone was laid for the present building, and the Monterey Square sanctuary was consecrated on April 11, 1878. The neo-Gothic synagogue was designed by famous New York Architect Henry G. Harrison.
On November 20, 1790, Governor Edward Telfair granted the congregation a perpetual charter as “a body incorporate by the name and style of the ‘Parnas and Adjuntas of Mickve Israel at Savannah,’” the same charter under which the congregation operates today. (A photocopy of the original charter can be seen in the archival museum of the congregation.)
Today in Mickve Israel’s Archival Museum ten presidential letters are on display, including ones from George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, as well as the more recent ones from George Bush and Bill Clinton.
You can visit the website