Originally known as Congregation B'nai Israel-Children of Israel, Temple Israel was formed by 36 German Jewish families in 1853 and chartered by the state of Tennessee on March 2, 1854.
Its first synagogue, dedicated in 1858 by Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, the founder of American Reform Judaism, was the first permanent Jewish house of worship in Tennessee.
Today, Temple Israel is one of the largest Reform congregations in the United States. Its storied history is masterfully told by Judy G. Ringel in Children of Israel, a beautiful hardback book marking the congregation's 150th anniversary. The book is available in Temple's Judaica Shop.
Temple Israel has had only 8 senior rabbis in its entire 150+ year history. Click the photos for bios.