The Augusta Jewish Museum

The "Since 1802 Jewish people have been a part of Augusta, GA. They have lived, worked, and worshiped in the community. They have played an active role in commerce and industry in Augusta and the CSRA. The Augusta Jewish Museum is about preserving that history and educating all people about how that history.

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The Building

The "Old Synagogue" located on Telfair Street in Augusta, GA was laid in 1869. Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, the father of Reform Judaism in America, gave the keynote address. The synagogue had family pews for mixed-gender seating, a space for a choir, and an organ, clear evidence of its embrace of religious reform. When Rabbi Wise founded the Union of American Hebrew Congregations in 1873, Children of Israel was one of its first members.

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The Congregation

By the time of the dedication in 1869, the largely immigrant membership of the congregation was well established in Augusta. Of the 44 members of Children of Israel, only 6% were native born. 75% were from Prussia while less than 10% were from Poland or Russia. Their average age was 41 years. The vast majority, 87%, were merchants, mostly in dry goods or clothing. Only one, a shoemaker, was a skilled laborer.

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The Community

Since 1802 Jewish people have been a part of Augusta, GA. They have lived, worked, and worshiped in the community. They have played an active role in commerce and industry in Augusta and the CSRA. The Augusta Jewish Museum is about preserving that history and educating all people about how that history.

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Our Mission

The mission of the Augusta Jewish Museum is to reclaim and restore the original Congregation Children of Israel synagogue, which was built in 1869 and destined for demolition, and repurpose it as a museum. The new museum will collect, preserve and interpret the rich rich evidence of the Jewish experioence in Augusta and will educate, challenge and inspire audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

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Recent News

Early in 2016, the County Commissioners of Augusta, in planning for the expansion of the County Administration building, decided to demolish the Temple built in 1869 that sits next to the County Administration building and the Court House building built in 1840 as a fireproof building to hold county records which also sits next to the Administration building. Members of the Jewish Community and the members of the Richmond County Historical Society banned together to ask the County Commission not to demolish the two buildings. After many meetings the Commission agreed not to demolish the two buildings and to give the group five years to turn the buildings into the Jewish Museum. If the buildings are restored and turned into the museum within the five years, they will be deeded to either the historical society or the Jewish Museum or both. A campaign will be started soon for $2,500,000 for the reconstruction of the two buildings and to run the museum for a couple of years.

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