Gemiluth Chessed Synagogue, Port Gibson

Gemiluth Chessed Synagogue, Port Gibson, August 2008 (Wikipedia: Infrogmation of New Orleans, photographer)

Gemiluth Chessed Synagogue, Port Gibson – (1892) Also sometimes spelled Gemiluth Chassed. Although not a large building, Gemiluth Chessed Synagogue is, depending on how strict one is with architectural styles, the finest and most purely articulated Moorish Revival building in Mississippi (Longwood in Natchez and the Hamasa Shrine Temple Theater in Meridian are classified by some as Moorish Revival; neither are purely Moorish in style or massing). The cornerstone for Gemiluth Chessed was laid on January 3, 1892 and the synagogue served Port Gibson’s Jewish community until 1986, when the congregation dwindled down to two individuals and closed. The Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities at the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life has a page which more fully details the history of Congregation Gemiluth Chassed. The exterior of Gemiluth Chessed features a Moorish keyhole doorway below the prominent squared onion dome. The windows in the turret supporting the dome are also Moorish keyhole windows. The windows on the brick main floor of the building appear from the exterior as simple arched windows; however, the stained glass windows are in the form of Moorish keyhole windows set into an arched, masonry window openings, a device that gives the effect of Moorish windows without the expense of intricate brickwork. Gemiluth Chessed Synagogue, despite its architectural and historical significance, was almost demolished for a gas station parking lot in 1987, until an eleventh-hour save by Bill and Martha Lum spared the building from the landfill.

6 replies

  1. Are the Lum’s going to renovate this building?


  2. Thanks to Mr. & Mrs. Lum for saving this wonderful historic building!! This synagogue is very similar to my grandparents’ former synagogue in Philadelphia, which was built in 1888. I wish there was a way to post a photo of my grandparents’ synagogue. It is still there, but is now a church.



  1. What happens to synagogues when no one is left? | On Jewish Matters
  2. Our old Synagogues: What happens to synagogues when no one is left? - On Jewish Matters | On Jewish Matters

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