The lineup of cornerstones depicts the continuous history of
this community from early in the century to the present. With
the exception of the 1921 structure which was located elsewhere
and demolished (see below) the birdseye view shows a historically
composite configuration of elements.
In 1940 the structure at the upper right was constructed as
a social hall on property located on the outskirts of town and
some miles from the original shul. A school wing (upper left)
was constructed in 1960 but was severely damaged in a storm and
was torn down. The Magen-David shaped synagogue (cap>350) designed
by Leonard Gabbert (also Baytown) and
built in 1957 now serves a radically diminished congregation (<20).
Most important is the BBQ pit seen in the middle right and shown
For many years the congregation has held an annual BBQ attended
by many from the town, surrounding region, and returning families
of present and former congregants. Its reunion function is as
important as its fund-raising.
The original Shearith Israel at Rusk and Burleson and the rabbi's
house across the street would probably provoke radically opposite
views in the middle '50's and now. With the benefit of hindsight
one wonders why this lovely old shul was replaced by its modern
successor. There was tremendous optimism then, pre-war models
were passe, and no one expected the Malka-Mauvet to
arrive and all the children to leave.
The last of the Jewish-owned and operated stores in town, the
(Hollywood S)hop, represents what was once a large and active
presence in a trading area which encompassed agriculture, sulphur,