Congregation Beth Israel 
Archival Materials

“Bris Book” and documents concerning the “Basic Principles” history of Beth Israel: Now viewable online are images of documents of two significant historical events in the history of Beth Israel. The “Bris Book” is the handwritten bound volume chronicling the circumcisions performed by Rabbi Emmich, the first spiritual leader of Beth Israel, dating from the mid 19th century. In German, Hebrew and English this book, currently on display in a case in the history corridor of the current temple, can be viewed online in its entirety.

“Basic Principles” documents: Over 500 pages of letters, minutes, clippings and commentary is contained in this collection, describing this significant chapter of Beth Israel’s history. The issue of whether to support Israel, from the early 1940’s, was a divisive and impassioned issue for the congregation.

A translation and transcription of the names listed in the Bris book is now posted with the scanned images of the Bris book. Also the names have been listed with more information of the individuals.

  The Bris Book Circa 1860’s

The Basic Principles

Basic Principles Two

Transcription and history of names in Bris book

Names in Bris book

Documents from the earliest years of Beth Israel- from 1861- early 1920’s. Now held at the Houston Metropolitan Research Center at the Houston Public Library, these valuable documents have not been available to view at our temple since the collection was released in the early 1980’s. We now have the ability to view online these papers, ledgers, minutes, birth, death and marriage records and other papers by the digitization process.

To open the following files Adobe Acrobat Reader is required. Click here to download and install the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

The digitization of the materials was made possible by a generous grant to the Schachtel Library from the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life, whose mission is to document and preserve the rich history of the Southern Jewish Experience.

The Hurricane Harvey Flood Fund

Hurricane Harvey left Houston and surrounding areas in a shambles, but the great people of Houston are banding together to help and heal. Your help is welcome and needed. You may send Gift Cards (Kroger, Target, HEB, Lowe’s, or Visa/Mastercard, etc.) to Congregation Beth Israel. They will be immediately distributed to area neighbors to assist in replacing essential items and children’s school supplies.

You may also Donate directly to Congregation Beth Israel by clicking here. All funds will go directly to aid those who need immediate help. These funds will NOT be held to be allocated later. On behalf of our clergy (Rabbi David Lyon, Rabbi Adrienne Scott, Rabbi Joshua Herman, Rabbi Chase Foster, and Cantor Trompeter), David Scott, Executive Director, and Bruce Levy, Temple President, we are very grateful for your kindness, generosity, and help.

Hurt has no shame and no label; we just need to heal one another.

Rabbi David Lyon

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