Congregation Montefiore: The First Synagogue in the New Mexico Territory

Congregation Montefiore, the first synagogue in New Mexico, located in the city of Las Vegas, Northwest of Santa Fe.

 

In 1881, before Congregation Montefiore was formed, the Montefiore Jewish Cemetery was established next to the Masonic cemetery.

 

Congregation Montefiore was established in 1884 for the approximately 36 families in Las Vegas, New Mexico.

The synagogue was named for Sir Moses Montefiore, the English philanthropist who celebrated his 100th birthday in 1884.

 

Rabbi Joseph Glueck, the first and only rabbi in the New Mexico Territory.

Rabbi Glueck served Congregation Montefiore from 1884-1887.

 

In 1885, Congregation Montefiore was housed in a hall of the American Order of United Workmen.

 

 

The Synagogue’s First Building – 1886

 

The first building was dedicated in 1886, just before Rosh Hashanah.  It was located at Ninth and Douglas.

 

The Hebrew Ladies Benevolent Society was formed in 1887.

 

B’nai Brith Chapter, Lodge number 545, was created in 1902.

 

The second rabbi of Congregation Montefiore was Rabbi E. R. Schellitzer.  He served from 1887-1889.

 

Rabbi Sigmund Frey was the third rabbi of Congregation Montefiore, serving from 1889-1891.

 

Rabbi Benjamin A Bonnheim served Congregation Montefiore from 1897-1902.

Temple Montefiore, Vas Vegas, New Mexico, circa 1890.

Temple Montefiore, Vas Vegas, New Mexico, circa 1890.

 

The Synagogue’s Second Building – 1922

The second building of Congregation Montefiore was completeded in 1922 at Eighth and Columbia.

 

Due to dwindling population, services ceased in 1950.

The congregation sold the building to the Catholic Newman Center, which remains to this day, with a plaque identifying its historical significance as the former home of Congregation Montefiore.

 

Congregation Montefiore in background, circa 1912. #WS0399

Congregation Montefiore in background, circa 1912.
#WS0399

 

 

 

 

 

Samantha Silver is the Curator for this Congregation Montefiore Exhibit.