SHREVEPORT: (Caddo Parish) Print

B'nai Zion Synagogue, a 1869 edifice at 320 Fannin St. Cornerstone laid July 27, 1869. Dr. Henry S. Jacobs of New Orleans' Temple Sinai, Rev. (sic) George Jacobs of New Orlean's Portugese Congregation Nefutzoth Yehudah (now Touro Synagogue), and Rev. Max Samfield of Shreveport presided. Masons officiating were led by S. M. Acker, Grand Master of Lodge 115, F & A M. Contents of cornerstone were coins: US 50c of 1854; US 25c of 1858; US 1c of 1854 (large cent); US 1/2 dime (date not noted); US 50c (date not noted), engraved "M. KAUFMAN" on one side; Spanish silver dollar of 1814. Also: several prayer books (which had rotted away by time cornerstone was opened in 1914), 3 Shreveport and 3 NYC newspapers of 1869, etc. The newspapers were "Shreveport News" July 23, 1869; "Caddo Gazette" July 2, 1869; "Southwestern" July 27, 1869; "NY Hebrew Leader" July 16, 1869; "NY Jewish Messenger" July 15, 1869; "NY American Israelite" July 16, 1869. All items from 1869 cornerstone were replaced in cornerstone when transferred to new (802 Cotton St.) Synagogue, April 22, 1914. (see TIMES Apr. 23, 1914 issue).

B'nai Zion (Hebrew Zion) Congregation membership in 1869 included the families of S. M. Acker; Marx Baer; G. Blum; I. Baer; J. A. Bergman; Isaac Barron; S. Bahr; F. Calm; Henry Dreyfuss; H. T. Dreyfuss; P. T. L. Frank; Simon Herold; Nathan Hirsch; Simon Kahn; Julius Kahn; Raphael Kahn; Moise Kahn; Aaron Kahn; Theophile Kahn; Mose Kaufmann, Sr.; Moses Kaufmann, Jr.; Marx Mayer Kaufmann; Henry Levy; Mose Levy; Sam Levy; Capt. Simon Levy, Jr - President; E. J. Leman; J. Langenbach; Max Moch; Charles Meyer; A. Moritz; Maj. Dave March; Aaron Rothschild; M. Rosenheim; M. Rosengarden; Abe Sour; Sol Simon; H. Simon; Leon Strauss; I. Strauss, Jr.; A. Teah; Abraham Winter; Asher Weinstock; M. Weinstock; and S. Weil.
Prior to the 1866 charter of B'nai Zion (Hebrew Zion) Temple, 25 Jewish families in Shreveport were affiliated with some communal organization (IOBB, HMBA, or Congregation Har El -- forerunner to B'nai Zion, etc.). By 1871, 210 families were associated with the Jewish Community of Shreveport. Dissention between Orthodox and Reform practitioners led to a split in B'nai Zion Congregation in 1875, which resulted in the creation of two congregations: the Reform Hebrew Zion and the Orthodox Emmanu-El (led by Rabbi Dr. Benson). The two eventually re-merged to re-form Congregation B'nai Zion (for which a new charter was adopted in 1915. A splinter group, Congregation Beth El, continued Orthodox practice through the 1920s. They were Ashkenazic in practice and unrelated to the Sephardic Orthodox Congregation Agudath Achim that formed as Congregation Beth Yosef in 1892 and re-chartered as Agudath Achim in 1902. Charter Members of Congregation B'nai Zion (Chartered April 2, 1866/17 Nisan 5626): Abraham Winter; Marx Baer; Felix Cahn; Henry Levy; Peter F. L. Frank; Edward Eberstadt; Isar (Asher) Weinstock; Capt. Simon Levy, Jr.; Abraham Sour. (None were still living in 1915).
Early records of the Congregation are said to have been destroyed in an 1882 fire, however there is no record of any fire ever having occurred at the Fannin St. Synagogue. Besides this fact, present cemetery records begin at August 1886, not 1882 as would be logical had a fire occurred then, destroying previous records. Also, records of Congregation Emmanu-El (which met in the same building as Hebrew Zion) exist intact from 1875 on. Hebrew Zion records, however, do not begin until 1898, with the exception of the cemetery records beginning in 1886. Jewish burials, however, began in 1853. The first Shreveport Jewish Cemetery was dedicated in July 1858. B'NAI ZION TEMPLE, 1914 - 1956 SYNAGOGUE 1914 edifice, 802 Cotton St., Shreveport, Louisiana Planning for new synagogue began in 1906, cornerstone laid May 6, 1914. Source: Eric J. Brock, Historic Preservation & Planning Consulting, P.O. Box 5877 Shreveport, LA 71135-5877 (318) 797-6765: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Contact him for more details on any of these.


Agudath Achim congregation history and photos. "Beth El members bought land for a cemetery on Walnut Street through their burial group, Chessed Shel Emeth.  Around the same time, Levi Groner was president of another small Orthodox congregation in Shreveport named Beth Joseph.  Realizing that they needed to band together to survive, the two congregations merged and adopted the name Agudath Achim (Society of Brothers) in 1902. The new combined congregation, which totaled 58 original members, assumed ownership of the Orthodox burial grounds, which became known as Agudath Achim Cemetery, or Orthodox Hebrew Rest." [January 2009]

Last Updated on Saturday, 17 April 2010 16:23