The first Jewish congregation of Texas Beth Israel has a long and rich history in Texas.

In fact, the first roots of Texas Jewry began right here when a small pioneering group of Houston Jews established a cemetery in 1844 and 10 years later organized Hebrew Congregation Beth Israel. Beth Israel members were some of the early builders of Houston. Our history is a rich tapestry of people and events that helped shape the history of this great city, state and Jewish Texans over the last 160 years. A timeline of Beth Israel’s history can be found along our Temple walls, but here’s a chance to learn more about our Temple and members and have fun doing it!

Did you know:

  • A Beth Israel member went down with the Titanic?
  • We have a mezuzah on our walls that flew to the moon?
  • Westheimer Road, which courses across Houston, was named for one of our members?
  • One of our Senior Rabbis read the invocation at the inauguration of our 36th U.S. President?
  • The first cash-and-carry, self-service grocery store and one of the first neighborhood shopping centers in the country were introduced in Houston by Beth Israel members?

Check back here each week to learn even more fun facts and test your Beth Israel knowledge. Clues can be found throughout the facilities, so go explore and discover. There will be something fun for every age! And from time to time, we’ll have a contest to see who knows their CBI stuff.