Local Jewish history worth preserving
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Much of what Natchez visitors view as our historic downtown’s charm is largely thanks for the influence of the Jewish merchant class who rose to prominence after the Civil War.
Many of downtown Natchez’s buildings date to that time period. The Jewish families who came to Natchez and settled, not only thrived, but they made significant investment in Natchez as well.
Today, the Jewish population has dwindled significantly, but their mark on Natchez remains impressive and important.
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One of their most important buildings was not a warehouse or a mercantile building, but instead a house of worship.
Temple B’nai Israel, Natchez’s only Jewish synagogue is significant, but not only as the place where so many important Natchez families came to worship. The Commerce Street temple is also an important piece of Natchez’s architectural history as well.
Efforts are being made to raise the funds necessary to provide a much-needed renovation to the building.
Some $3 million is needed to restore the building and provide upkeep for the foreseeable future.
We applaud the fundraising effort and offer appreciation to early contributors including Natchez businessman Jerry Krouse, who committed to providing a $100,000 donation to the cause.
The history encapsulated in both the temple building as well as the story of those who worshiped there and helped shape Natchez is worth preserving and protecting for generations to come.