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Congregation B’nai B’rith Jacob (Savannah, Ga.) Records

 Collection
Identifier: Mss 343

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of Congregation B'nai B'rith Jacob records, including material related to the Savannah Hebrew School (now Hebrew Community School). Records include Board of Officers material, congregational histories, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and the original petition for incorporation dating 1879. There are also records pertaining to the current synagogue building at 5444 Abercorn Street, and the former building at the corner of Montgomery and State streets. Collection material dates from 1879 to1996.

Dates

  • 1879 - 1996

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on accessing material in this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Congregation B'nai B'rith Jacob (originally “Kahal Kadosh B’nai B’rith Jacob,” or “Congregation of the Children of the Divine Covenant of Jacob,” also known as “B.B.J.”), the orthodox synagogue in Savannah, Georgia, was established in 1861 by a group of eastern European Jews who desired to start their own synagogue patterned after the Ashkenazi tradition. At the time of its establishment, the only synagogue in Savannah was Temple Mickve Israel of the Spanish-Portuguese Sephardic tradition. The name for Congregation B.B.J. probably originated from the Independent Order of B'nai B'rith (I.O.B.B.), a Masonic-inspired fraternal organization for Jews.

Under the leadership of Rabbi Jacob Rosenfeld, the group initially met at Armory Hall, and then erected a small wood frame building at the corner of Montgomery and State streets that was dedicated in 1868. The congregation replaced this original structure with a large, brick synagogue designed by local architect Hyman Witcover in 1909. The synagogue was decommissioned in 1962 when the congregation moved to 5444 Abercorn Street. It was sold to Saint Andrew’s Independent Episcopal Church (now Saint Andrew’s Reformed Episcopal Church), who used it as its home until 2002. The historic building is still standing as Savannah College of Art and Design’s Student Center.

Several Jewish auxiliaries were formed by the congregation, including the Chevra Kadisha which provided last rites for the dead. Women's groups from the congregation, such as the Hebrew Women’s Aid Society, were responsible for building a chapel at Bonaventure Cemetery, as well as beautifying the synagogue. The Savannah Hebrew School (now the Hebrew Community School) established by the congregation enrolled as many as 200 children in the early 1900s.

Throughout the congregation’s history, many rabbis, including Jacob Rosenfeld, Hirsch Goldberg, Charles Blumenthal, L.M. Palitz, B.L. Rosenbloom, Mordecai Hirschsprung, Nathan N. Rosen, Morris Max, William Drazin, and Abraham I. Rosenberg have served Savannah’s orthodox community. As of 2015, the current Senior Rabbi of Congregation B.B.J. is Avigdor Slatus, who has served since 1981.

Extent

4.4 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

English

Yiddish

Abstract

Financial records, correspondence, marketing materials, and meeting minutes created by and relating to Congregation B’nai B’rith Jacob (B.B.J.), an orthodox synagogue in Savannah, Georgia.

Arrangement

The items in this collection are arranged alphabetically by subject.

Custodial History

The Congregation B’nai B’rith Jacob (Savannah, Ga.) Records are part of the Savannah Jewish Archives that were transferred from the Georgia Historical Society to the Breman Museum in 2015.

Related Materials

Mss 338, Abraham I. Rosenberg Papers Mss 363, Rambam Day School (Savannah, Ga.) Records
Title
Congregation B’nai B’rith Jacob (Savannah, Ga.) Records, Mss 343
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by N. Galler, L. Stoudt, and T. Jones (2006) and L. Resnick (2015).
Date
2006
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum Repository

Contact:
1440 Spring St. NW
Atlanta Georgia 30309 United States
678-222-3700