Congregation Gates of Prayer records
Scope and Contents
The Congregation Gates of Prayer was organized in the "Old Lafayette" area of New Orleans in 1849 and incorporated in 1850. The Congregation later moved to Jefferson Parish and established a new synagogue in Metairie. It followed the Orthodox tradition and services were conducted by a cantor for many years. At the turn of the century, the influence of the Reform movement was felt, and in 1906 the first rabbi was engaged. The collection consists of the Congregation Gates of Prayer's by-laws, constitutions, financial and property records, correspondence, pamphlets, charter amendments, congregation history, minute books, programs, telegrams, bulletins, newspaper clippings, and scrapbooks. The scrapbooks were created by Daniel B. Alexander of New Orleans, Louisiana, during his service as Secretary of the Congregation. They include information about the history of the congregation and include newspaper clippings, congregation bulletins, programs, photographs, and other items. They also contain materials concerning Alexander's personal interests, American-Israeli relations and Jewish history in particular.
- Creation: 1850-2009
- Congregation Gates of Prayer (Metairie, La.) (Organization)
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open to the public. No known restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use
Physical rights are retained by the Louisiana Research Collection. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.
Biographical / Historical
Congregation Gates of Prayer was organized in the "Old Lafayette" area of New Orleans on 1849 May 1 and incorporated in 1850 March. Charter members included Abraham de Young, Henry Ascher, Benjamin Goldberg, Frank Bacharach, N. Greensberger, Emmannuel Lazar, and L. Leopold. A chevra or benevolent society had been in existence in the Lafayette area from the 1830s. About forty families came together as early as 1848, adopting the German ritual, and set about founding a synagogue. Early gathering places were those used by the chevra, at Washington and Constance streets and later at Fifth and Chippewa streets.
By 1852 worship was held at Seventh and Tchoupitoulas streets. After this period, a small school located at Fulton and St. Mary streets served as a meeting place until 1856. A synagogue was built in 1860, called the Lafayette Schule, on Jackson Avenue near Chippewa Street. The Congregation moved to 1139 Napoleon Avenue in 1920. This building was restored and reopened in 1953. In the early 1970s a survey was made of the membership, which revealed that the majority resided in Jefferson Parish. The decision was made to move the Congregation to Jefferson Parish and establish a new synagogue at 4000 West Esplanade in Metairie. For many years the Congregation followed the Orthodox tradition and services were conducted by a cantor. At the turn of the century, the influence of the Reform movement was felt, and in 1906 the first rabbi was engaged. He was Rabbi Moise Bergman, a native of New Orleans and a graduate of Hebrew Union College. He was followed by Dr. Mendel Silber, Rabbi Nathaniel S. Share, Rabbi Kenneth I. Siegel, and Rabbi Robert H. Loewy.
Language of Materials
The collection is arranged by topic as follows: congregation by-laws, constitutions, financial, and property records; history, programs, minutes, and other records; correspondence, programs, photographs, and clippings; nursery school and bulletins; printed material, including loose items from scrapbooks 1980-1995; choral material; printed material 1996-1997; printed material 2000s; minute books; and scrapbooks. The collection is made up of eight boxes and fifty volumes.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of the Congregation Gates of Prayer. Date acquired: 11/30/1982.
Collection processed in 1983.
- Archon Finding Aid Title
- LAC Group
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description