05 October 2010

Arizona: Jewish centenary, time capsule contest

The Tucson Jewish community will hold its centennial celebration and time-capsule opening on October 24.

The Centennial Exhibit opened in mid-August and will run through December 23. Below see a 1914 postcard of the first synagogue in Arizona, termed by the card's publisher (Kressge) the "Jewish Church." The synagogue is now the Jewish History Museum, the only one in Arizona.


In conjunction with the celebration is the Jewish History Museum's "Be a Part of History" contest.
On exhibit: The history of the Southwest Jewish Pioneers ~ 1860 to present day • Photos taken by Jewish Pioneer Leo Goldschmidt ~ 1870-1890 • Photos and historic newsletter from early Temple Emanu-El • Red White and Blue Dress worn on July 4, 1876 • Statehood Dress worn February 14, 1912 • The Life Cycle Journal of Rabbi Marcus Breger, Anshei Israel • Holocaust Surviving Torah • Southern Arizona Holocaust Survivors Memorial Quilt.
Readers can enter to win their own personal time capsule and to participate in the removal of the original century-old capsule from the building's cornerstone.

The day starts at noon with a live music street festival from Klezmer and everything else!

At 2pm, the cornerstone placed by Jewish pioneers in the foundation of Arizona's historic first synagogue building will be opened.

Following the opening of the old capsule, the new 2010 capsule will be placed and sealed until the 2110 bicentennial event. Five winners will have a chance to win a personal time capsule and help remove the old one. The new capsule will be returned to the winner's descendants in 2110.

Readers can also become a part of the first synagogue and the only Jewish History Museum in Arizona. by having your name and message engraved on a 12-inch x 12-inch granite stone to be permanently installed in the Centennial Courtyard of the museum.

They'd also like you to tell them what should be placed in the new capsule. All suggested items will be submitted to the Museum Board for consideration.

The Jewish History Museum is housed in the oldest synagogue building in Arizona. Built in 1910 it was the home of Temple Emanu-El from 1910 to 1949. Saved from the wrecking ball in 1999, the historic structure has been completely restored and today is the home of the only Jewish History Museum in the Southwest.

For more information on the event and exhibit, click the museum link above.
The Jews of southern Arizona began gathering in the 1880s. In 1884, the Hebrew Ladies Benevolent Society was formed. Twenty years later, they took up the challenge to aise funds for a permanent synagogue. Jewish settlers in other communities, such as Globe, Bisbee and Nogales also contributed.

On June 20, 1910, the grand lodge of Arizona Masons laid the Temple’s cornerstone. The first services were held on Rosh HaShanah, October 3, 1910. Built before Arizona achieved statehood, the synagogue served as an important center of Jewish community for the entire Southwest US. Temple Emanu-El grew significantly and moved from Stone Avenue in September 1949. Over the years, the original building was used for other purposes.

In 1982, the Temple reclaimed its roots at a ceremony sponsored by the Tucson-Pima County Historical Commission, the Arizona Heritage Center, and the southern Arizona chapter of the Arizona Jewish Historical Society.

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