Happy Hanukkah Y’all! 2012

Hanukkah begins tomorrow at sun down.  In celebration of the festival of lights I’ve gathered some photos from the MDAH Historic Resources Database of some of Mississippi’s cultural sites associated with the Jewish faith.

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Along with the places of worship featured above, a few Jewish architects built several of the prominent structures in our state.

The firm of Weiss, Dreyfous, & Seiferth designed or remodeled several houses in Natchez.  They also designed the Eola Hotel in Natchez and the Henry Clay Hotel in West Point.

While I do not know if H.A. Overbeck was Jewish, he is known for his temple designs in Greenville, Lexington, and Natchez, as well as in other southern states.

Emile Weil’s 1945 obituary referred to him as “one of the South’s leading architects.”  Mississippians would know him best for his theater designs in Hattiesburg, Laurel, and Meridian.

So if you happen by any of these buildings take a snap shot and upload it to the Preservation in Mississippi Flickr page, or if you go to services at any of these synagogues this season let us know!

Categories: Clarksdale, Cleveland, Cool Old Places, Greenville, Hattiesburg, Historic Preservation, Laurel, Meridian, Natchez, Port Gibson, West Point

22 replies

  1. Great post! Is that an onion dome on the Port Gibson temple?


  2. There is a beautiful golden onion dome atop Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in Clinton. Orthodox Christian, not Jewish. http://www.holyres.net/


  3. The dome was installed in 2007, shortly after HROC bought the church:


  4. The Temple Theater picture is not loading for me.


  5. I have been intrigued by the apparent disappearance of Jewish communities from the Vicksburg/Jackson area. That temple you show from Port Gibson is now a messianic Jewish (meaning Judaism-identified Christian) temple. A lot of Jews used to live in Vicksburg, too, but are now mostly gone.

    What do you know about why they left?


    • Thanks for the info on the current use of the Temple Gemiluth Chassed in Port Gibson. I’m not really sure about why the Jewish population has dwindled in the state. The Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life might have some information on their site. You can click on this link or we have a link to the ISJL on the front page of the MissPres website under “Research Resources”. I think Jackson still has the largest Jewish population in Mississippi.


    • Stuart Rockoff with the ISJL does good talks around the state and the region that touch on the movement of Jewish communities out of the small towns and into the larger urban areas, mirroring the larger population. Jackson’s temple is thriving, while meanwhile many very old congregations in smaller towns like Vicksburg, Lexington, Natchez, and Greenville slip away leaving their wonderful buildings with uncertain futures.


  6. I was just in the Hebrew Union Temple (Greenville) yesterday. It was once the largest congregation in MS.


    The earlier temple in Greenville can be seen on their website’s history page:


  7. In Clarksdale, when the Jewish Congregation grew out of its Temple, builit in 1913, a second Synagogue was built in 1929, described as in the Byzantine-style though both are no longer in service. Both still stand, 69 Delta Ave. and 401 Catapala. The Jewish Cemetary is quite large and well kept, Friars Point Road and Lee Drive.


    • That’s good news that the cemetery is well kept especially considering the fact that the population is dwindling in that community. You can see a photo of the 1929 synagogue in the slide show above, in this post. Both Clarksdale synagogues have had some not so sensitive remodelings over the years. I would love to see how they looked in their prime. Especially the tower tops of the 1929 synagogue.


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