DEMOPOLIS: Marengo County
History and photographs of the Jewish Community: including the close of B'nai Jeushurum in 1989, the deed for the B’nai Jeshurun’s temple was signed over for $10 to the Trinity Episcopal Church, which preserved the temple until 2007, when the sanctuary artifacts were donated to the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience. [January 2009]
Temple B'nai Jeshurun, 406 North Main Avenue. Reform congregation established in 1858. 1893 Colonial Revival/Functional building closed in 1989 and was maintained by Trinity Episcopal Church across the street. See photos [January 2009]
- Congregation B'nai Jeshurun Cemetery: East Jefferson Street, Demopolis, Alabama.
- Directions: travel into Demopolis on Highway 80. Turn north onto East Cedar Street. At Jefferson Street, turn right. The cemetery is just past the railroad tracks on the left side of the road. The former small brick synagogue of Congregation B'nai Jeshurun is located near the center of town at 406 North Main Street in a residential area. Through an agreement with Trinity Episcopal Church across the street from the synagogue, the 1956 temple building is now owned and maintained by the church. The previous 1893 temple on the same site was torn down after the new and much smaller building was built right inside. Visitors are shown the synagogue interior that remained when the congregation was functioning.
- This small and peaceful cemetery is on land donated by Captain and Mrs. John C. Webb, Jr. in 1878. A wrought iron fence surrounds the well-maintained property still used by the remaining Jewish families in Demopolis. In the center of the burial ground is a stone obelisk with a "Mogen David". The obelisk bears the following two inscriptions "Families of Congregation B'nai Jeshurun; Established 1858" and "Land Donated By Capt. & Mrs. John C. Webb, Sr. 1878". There are many family plots in this cemetery, many of which are from once large and prominent Jewish families from the town. The Robertson Banking Company in Demopolis maintains the cemetery records, as well as the perpetual care funds.
- The Jewish Community of Demopolis dates to the early 1800's when an itinerant Jewish peddler came to town. His name was Isaac Marx and he encouraged other Jewish families from back East to settle in Demopolis. There are long-range plans to install a museum exhibit in the synagogue to showcase the many contributions Jews in Demopolis made to the civic, business and social life of the town. Some records of the congregation are kept at the Trinity Episcopal Church. Others are stored at the homes of private individuals. The remaining members of the Jewish community contacted the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience in Utica, Mississippi regarding preservation of the congregation's records and Torah scrolls, which are believed to be over three-hundred years old. A number of the remaining Jews in Demopolis are part of the 'Temple Committee' of the church and help to administer the building and cemetery. The tombstones in the B'nai Jeshurun Cemetery were recorded in August 1996. Source: Julian H. Preisler
- UPDATE: Marengo County Genealogical Society, Demopolis Public Library, 211 East Washington Street, Demopolis, Alabama 36732. See burials listings. [January 2001]
- UPDATE: B'nai Jeshurun closed in 1989. I have not visited the cemetery yet. There is one Jewish family remaining -- Bert Rosenbush. It looks like there are plenty of info and leads on the web site. Source: Larry Brook, Deep South Jewish Voice, Birmingham, AL; Deep South Jewish Voice. [June 2001]
- UPDATE: Kidd-Robbins Funeral Directors. Jewish Cemetery Trust Fund, c/o Robertson Banking Company, P.O. Box 493, Demopolis, Ala. 36732 or Temple Emanuel Memorial Fund, c/o Doris Cohen, 1232 37th Avenue East, Tuscaloosa, Ala. 35404. Obits: Demopolis Times [January 2003]
- UPDATE: We have visited it. East Jefferson Street Take East Jefferson away from downtown, cemetery will be on the left, just past the railroad tracks. Source: Larry Brook, editor/publisher Deep South Jewish Voice, Birmingham 
- UPDATE: Burial list [January 2009]
Last Updated on Friday, 16 April 2010 11:36