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Jews began to immigrate to Vermilionville (the original name of Lafayette) in the early 1800s. They found an atmosphere there that spoke of opportunity for their skills, products, and services. Temple Rodeph Shalom was founded in 1869 as an Orthodox synagogue. That same year Governor Alexandre Mouton donated land to be used as a cemetery for the Jews of southwest Louisiana. The coming of the railroad contributed to the increase of the Jewish community. In 1881, Governor Mouton again gave two lots for the purpose of building a synagogue at the Lee Avenue location. The temple was built there in 1889. At that time, the congregation joined the Reform movement. In 1953, the social hall and kitchen were added to the building, and in 1960 religious school rooms, a rabbi's study, and a library were built. Temple Shalom is also privileged to be the custodian of a historic Torah scroll saved from the Holocaust and dating from the mid-1800s. 


For a more detailed history of Temple Shalom, visit the Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities - Lafayette, Louisiana.

Mon, May 27 2024 19 Iyar 5784