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Reform Judaism:
America's Oldest Reform Synagogue


Reform Judaism: Table of Contents | History & Overview | Tenets of Reform


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The oldest Congregation now practicing Reform Judaism in the United States, Mickve Israel was founded by a group of Jews, mainly of Spanish-Portuguese extraction, which landed at Savannah, July 11, 1733, five months after the establishment of the colony of Georgia.

The Congregation was incorporated in perpetuity by a special Act of the Georgia Legislature on November 20, 1790. After having worshiped in various temporary quarters for almost a century, in 1820 the Congregation built its own synagogue — the first in Georgia — at the Northeast corner of Liberty and Whitaker Streets. The present Synagogue was consecrated on April 11, 1878.

In 1789, the Congregation received a letter from President George Washington which stated in part: “May the same wonder-working Deity who long since delivering the Hebrews from their Egyptian oppressors, planted them in the promised land — whose providential agency has lately been conspicuous in establishing these United States as an independent nation — still continue to water them with the dews of Heaven and to make the inhabitants of every denomination participate in the temporal and spiritual blessing of that people whose God is Jehovah.”


Sources: Georgia Historical Commission plaque outside Congregation Mickve Israel in Savannah.

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