B'nai Israel Temple

1703 20th St
Parkersburg WV 26101
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Below you will find some of the history of TEMPLE B'NAI ISRAEL in Parkersburg, WV. If you have other information to add, please email the webmaster: During the Spanish-American War, Maurice Rauch and Joseph Keller were in the 150th Infantry. They trained atChickamauga but did not reach the war zone. Members of the Parkersburg Jewish community were very active in the community. Henry Keller's famous "Clothing House Band" often played on Ft. Boreman Hill. Louis Mansbach was a member of the old Gun Club, from which the Parkersburg Country Club evolved. In 1899 when Wood County celebrated a three-day centennial of the founding of Wood County, Virginia in 1799, Leon Epstein served as a marshal and was on the Decorating Committee. Around 1900, Joseph Keller was the founder of the Wood County Bank. In 1903, Joseph Stern was one of the founders of the Business Men's League of Parkersburg. Jewish life changed in Parkersburg around the beginning of the 20th century. Up until then a small group of German Jews formed the nucleus of the Jewish community. Then Jews from Eastern Europe, Russia, Poland, Austria and Hungry came in great numbers, fleeing discrimination and lack of opportunity. Parkersburg received a number of these immigrants who saw the USA as the land of opportunity. On October 25, 2009, we can look forward to the centennial of Temple B'nai Israel. A meeting was called on October 25, 1909 at Hersch's United Woolen Mills building to form a Jewish congregation. Some of the members who were present were the Hersch, Lasky, Berens, Goldstein, Salinger, Engleman, Kirstein, Kahn, Stern, Epstein, Barrett, Cohen, Setron, Reitzenberg, Oppenheimer, Levison, and Broida families. W.A. Hersch was elected the first president of Temple B'nai Isarel. Rabbi Morris Lesserauz was employed full time. A month after Temple B'nai Israel was founded by the existing Jewish community on October 25, 1909, the Hebrew Ladies Auxiliary Ladies Association was formed with 28 members. In 1920, the Auxiliary became associated with National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods In 1912, Temple B'nai Israel moved to a suite of rooms at 13th and Market Streets. B'nai Brith Lodge 767 was formed on February 28, 1915 with 35 members. This men's organization met in a room over the old Wood County Bank on Market Street for the next 25 years.