Congregation Rodeph Shalom
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Congregation Rodeph Shalom became the first Ashkenazic congregation (Jews from central or eastern Europe) in the Western Hemisphere when it was founded in Philadelphia in 1795. It was chartered by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in 1812 as the "Hebrew German Society."

Rodeph Shalom’s first building was a refurbished church. In 1871, the congregation built its own synagogue. Two years later, Rodeph Shalom became a charter member of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, now known as Reform Judaism, the most liberal of the three main branches of Judaism.

The synagogue was later razed and a new, larger facility was built. Designed in the Byzantine-Moorish style, the new building was fashioned after the Great Synagogue in Florence, Italy. Its ark houses several Torah scrolls, including one rescued from the Holocaust.
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Religious Minorities (Non-Christian)
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Religious Minorities (Non-Christian) in American History
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Rodeph Shalom synagogue- Wikimedia Commons- photo by Smallbones

Congregation Rodeph Shalom synagogue- Internet Archive- from Some New Philadelphia Churches, The Art Journal, vol 3 (1877)

Rodeph Shalom synagogue interior- Flickr- photo by Michelle Spomer (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Book/Journal Source(s)
Smith, Jonathan Z., and William Scott Green (Eds.), 1995. The HarperCollins Dictionary of Religion. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco.
Web Source(s)
Rodeph Shalom website
Web Page Contributor
Sandi Dolbee
Affliated with: Former Religion and Ethics Editor, The San Diego Union-Tribune

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