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B'NAI ABRAHAM SYNAGOGUE. The B'nai Abraham congregation in Brenham was organized in 1885. Original Jewish settlers in the county included B. Levinson, who arrived in 1861, and the Alex Simon family, which arrived in 1866. These men became active in the business community of Brenham, and as other Jewish settlers arrived, the need for a synagogue grew. The first building, constructed in 1892, burned; a second was built in 1893. L. Fink served as first president, F. Susnitsky as vice president, L. Z. Harrison as treasurer, and J. Lewis and Abe Fink as secretaries. The twenty charter members were led by Rabbi Israel. In the 1990s the synagogue was believed to be the oldest Orthodox synagogue to have been in continuous use in Texas.


W. O. Dietrich, The Blazing Story of Washington County (Brenham, Texas: Banner Press, 1950; rev. ed., Wichita Falls: Nortex, 1973). Robert A. Hasskarl, Jr., Brenham, Texas, 1844–1958 (Brenham: Banner-Press, 1958). Charles F. Schmidt, History of Washington County (San Antonio: Naylor, 1949). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin (Washington County). Ruthe Winegarten and Cathy Schechter, Deep in the Heart: The Lives and Legends of Texas Jews (Austin: Eakin Press, 1990).

James L. Hailey

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James L. Hailey, "B'NAI ABRAHAM SYNAGOGUE," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed December 01, 2015. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.