Savannah Stories and Tips

Rosh Hashana

As I was walking across Monterey Square, I saw many people going into what appeared to be a church and what I guessed was a funeral service since it appeared to be a church architecturally. Instead I discovered it was Congregation Mickve Isreal Synagogue, located on Bull Street at Gordon that was founded in 1733!

It does look like a Jewish house of worship (although there is no standard). The floor plan is actually laid out like a cross with the cross arm and architecturally appears like a church with a pointed spire. It is the oldest now practicing Reform Judaism Synagogue in the US founded by Spanish Portuguese Jews on July 11, 1733, five months after establishment of the colony of Georgia. There is a modest Jewish star above the entrance, which I didn’t notice. I walked over to read the historic plaque. (Everything in Savannah has a historic plaque in front of it!) I mentioned to someone at the entrance that I was Jewish and he invited me in.

I was wearing my plaid "sherbet" short sleeve shirt and my photographer’s vest and chino slacks! I was directed to a "seater" along the south wall who found a seat at the very front of the front row on a folding chair! I felt awkward since most everyone was very dressed up. The women wore elegant dresses and quite a few wore elegant stylish hats reminiscent of classic Coco Chanel of the classic fifties. One woman had a smashing black hat with a wide brim with a white rib around the rim. It reminded me of a classic Irving Penn photograph.

The interior glowed in a blaze of light filtered through tall stained glass windows upon crème walls.

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