A Historic House of Worship for Christians and Jews

Stand for Israel  |  November 7, 2019

Allen Temple AME, 1874
Allen Temple AME, 1874

When we here at Stand for Israel happened upon the above engraving from 1874, little did we know it held historic meaning for people of both the Christian and Jewish faiths. The building, long-since demolished, housed Cincinnati congregations of both Christians and Jews, both of which are important to American history.

The building first housed the Jewish temple, Kahal Kadosh Benai Israel. This synagogue was founded in Cincinnati, then an early frontier town, in 1824. It was the first Jewish congregation west of the Allegheny Mountains, the first in Ohio, only the second American Ashkenazi congregation, and one of the oldest synagogues in the entire U.S.

The above building was built in 1852 and housed the congregation until it was sold in 1874 to the Allen Temple AME Church. Before moving into the building, Allen Temple AME was an important waystation on the Underground Railroad, helping slaves reach freedom in the North.

Who’d have known that finding an engraving that’s nearly a century-and-a-half old would teach us something about these two great faiths?

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