From Arizona’s First Synagogue to the Jewish History Museum of Tucson, Arizona

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From Arizona’s First Synagogue to the Jewish History Museum of Tucson

Before 1910, the Jewish men in Tucson conducted High Holy Day services in halls, stores or homes.

The Women of the Tucson Hebrew Benevolent Society

The Women of the Tucson Hebrew Benevolent Society

The First Phase

Early in 1910, the Hebrew Benevolent Society was created to plan the new synagogue structure.

In June, the cornerstone was laid with ceremonies lead by the local Masonic Grand Lodge.

On Rosh Hashanah, 1910, the “Stone Avenue Synagogue,” became first Jewish house of worship in the Arizona Territory – Temple Emanu-El.

In the 1930s, congregants differed over Reform and Traditional practices.

The temple’s board tried for years to unite the two factions.

Unsuccessful, in 1936, Temple Emanu-El gave their nearby Community Center to the new Conservative congregation, Anshei Israel.

In 1947, property at East 9th Street and N. Country Club Road was purchased.

Construction of the new Temple Emanu-El began in late 1948, and the congregation moved from Stone Avenue in 1949.

 

Tucson's Stone Street Synagogue Post Card

Tucson’s Stone Street Synagogue Post Card

The Second Phase

From 1949 through 1982 the former Stone Avenue Synagogue building housed eleven different churches.

 

The Third Phase

Red, White & Blue Dress for Centennial, 1876 in Jewish History Museum.

Red, White & Blue Dress for Centennial, 1876 in Jewish History Museum.

In 1994 when it was learned that the property was to be sold and turned into a parking lot, an organization was formed called the Stone Avenue Temple Project and began to gather community support to save the historic synagogue building.

in 2006, the Jewish Historical Society and the Stone Avenue Temple Project merged to form the non-profit Jewish History Museum.

The Jewish History Museum now houses a permanent collection of Southwest Jewish artifacts and hosts a number of special exhibits and events throughout the year.

In 2013, the Jewish History Museum added new space dedicated to telling the story of Holocaust Survivors who make Southern Arizona their home.

 

Thus, Arizona’s first synagogue survives as a nationally recognized Jewish History Museum.

Jewish History Museum, 564 S. Stone Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85701

520-670-9073

www.jewishhistorymuseum.org

Masonic Lodge Badges & Ribbons worn at the Synagogues Groundbreaking Celebration, 1910.

Masonic Lodge Badges & Ribbons worn at the Synagogues Groundbreaking Celebration, 1910.

 

Shoes from Drachman's Store about time of Synagogue Dedication, 1910-1912.

Shoes from Drachman’s Store about time of Synagogue Dedication, 1910-1912.

 

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