- By Shelia Poole
The imposing building has kept watch over Peachtree Street for decades.
It’is considered a must-see site for visitors to the city and stands as a testament to Atlanta’s strong Jewish community.
Now the Temple, known as the first official Jewish institution in Atlanta and the site of a devastating Civil Rights-era bombing is getting more recognition.
The Georgia Historical Society will dedicate a new historical marker at 4 p.m. Friday at 1589 Peachtree St. NE. The marker is the most recent addition to the Georgia Civil Rights Trail, an initiative focusing on history of the Civil Rights Movement.
The Temple was founded in 1867.
Here is the text of the Marker: “The Temple, originally founded as the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation in 1867, was Atlanta’s first official Jewish institution. It grew out of the Hebrew Benevolent Society, organized in 1860 to help Atlanta’s Jewish poor. In 1875, the Congregation built its first permanent worship hall in downtown Atlanta. The Temple of 1931, the third home for its congregation, was designed by renowned Atlanta architect Philip Shutze. Rabbi Jacob Rothschild, an outspoken supporter of social justice during the Civil Rights era, served the congregation for 27 years (1946-1973). On October 12, 1958, white supremacists bombed the northern side of the Temple in response to the Rabbi’s support of the Civil Rights movement. Home to the city’s oldest Jewish congregation, The Temple continues to serve as a center for Atlanta’s Jewish spiritual, educational, and social life. Erected by the Georgia Historical Society and The Temple.” (Source: Georgia Historical Society)
According to its web site, its membership includes more than 1,500 families as members.
“The Temple is honored that the Georgia Historical Society has selected our congregation to be part of their Georgia Civil Rights Trail program.
This designation could not be more timely as we are celebrating our 150th anniversary,” Executive Director Mark Jacobson said in a release.
Speakers will include Dr. W. Todd Groce, president and CEO of the Georgia Historical Society; Rabbi Peter S. Berg, senior rabbi of the Temple, and Rabbi Emeritus Alvin M. Sugarman.