A View of Central Texas Jewry, 1875

Central Texas Jewry, 1875

Compiled from an article in The American Israelite, Cincinnati, Ohio, written by “L” and published on November 2, 1875.


“After leaving Dallas, the towns are small, and although thriving, the Israelites are usually too few in number to form congregations. In most places they are even too few for B’nai B’rith lodges. But, as a rule, wherever six or eight families are gathered together a Benevolent Society exists.”


“[I]n Navasota and Waco, a teacher, schochet [ritual slaughterer] and mohel [circumciser] is wanted, and one unmarried might make a living, and a little besides, in that capacity. In Waco, Mr. Sam Sanger attempted to form a Sabbath School, but met with little encouragement.”


“In Hempstead there is an organization which appears to be a killa [community council] and a chevra [charitable brotherhood] in one, which seems to be an enterprising organization.


Brenham has a Jewish organization, and then none until Austin.”


Austin has about eighty male adults, who are nominally Israelites. There are about thirty families, and the same number of business houses. There is an I.O.B.B. [B’nai B’rith] lodge with more than twenty members, which, considering the kind of people the majority are, is a large proportion….On Rosh Hashanah and  Yom Kippur in this place, where there is no congregation, there were two minyanim [prayer quorums].”


“In the center of this district lies New Braunfels, a neat, clean little town, whose inhabitants are nearly all Germans….There is but one Israelite in this region, said to be very wealthy, a Mr. Landa.”


San Antonio, on the San Antonio River, is the oldest town in the United States next to St. Augustine, Florida….There are about twenty Jewish families here, and about the same number of business houses, and a number of young men. Here in a city having as fine a climate as any in the world there is a Congregation Beth El, with forty members or more members, with a temple erected at a cost of $13,000, which is all paid for, they offer a stipend of $1,800 in gold to a competent man which, I believe, would be increased if a suitable incumbent could be found, yet they will not obtain the man they want, for their demands are too great….The I.O.B.B. lodge is flourishing….There is also a Lady’s Benevolent Society…and a Hebrew Benevolent Society.”



  • “Central Texas Jewry in 1875,” Western States Jewish Historical Quarterly 13/4.