History or comments

An impressive architectural design on a site overlooking the Great Miami River.

Temple Israel was originally formed in 1850, incorporated with the name Kehillah Kodesh Yeshurun. At first the congregation met in rented quarters, purchasing its first synagogue building, a former Baptist church, in 1863. In 1873 the synagogue was a founding member of the Union for Reform Judaism.

In 1893 the congregation sold its existing building and constructed a larger one at First and Jefferson streets. That building was severely damaged by the Great Dayton Flood of 1913. Fourteen years later the congregation moved to still larger multi-purpose quarters outside downtown Dayton and began to use the name Temple Israel. A new sanctuary was added in 1953.

Growing steadily over the years Temple Israel engaged the New York architectural firm of Hardy, Holzman and Pfeiffer to design its current premises which were dedicated May 5, 1995. The Temple’s spectacular 12 acre site alongside the Great Miami River is shared with the Korean War Veterans Memorial. According to the architect the building was designed to “reflect, in built form, the 3,000 years of Judaic tradition in a structure that looked to the future.” Clay tile sheathing on the exterior is intended to mimic Jerusalem stone while the majestic curving wall reflects the river. The pyramidal form of the sanctuary is reminiscent of ancient tents.