Temple-Tifereth Israel (Tifereth Israel)

From Ohio History Central

The Temple-Tifereth Israel, which is also known as Tifereth Israel, is Cleveland, Ohio's second oldest Jewish congregation.

Temple-Tifereth Israel was founded on May 26, 1850. A dispute between members of Cleveland's first Jewish congregation, Anshe Chesed, prompted the establishment of Temple-Tifereth Israel. Anshe Chesed members preferred Orthodox Judaism, while Temple-Tifereth Israel's members favored the Reformed-Jewish tradition. The new congregation built a synagogue, which was completed on December 14, 1855, on the corner of Huron Street and Miami Street in Cleveland. In succeeding years, Temple-Tifereth Israel's rabbis permitted women and men to worship together, adopted a Reformed-Judaism hymnbook, and also installed an organ.

Temple-Tifereth Israel's dedication to reforming Judaism continued into the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Rabbi Moses J. Gries oversaw the completion of a new synagogue for the temple's growing congregation in 1894. The new synagogue was located on East 55th Street in Cleveland. Gries also ended the teaching of Hebrew and the use of Hebrew in religious services, moved services from Saturday to Sunday, and also oversaw the addition of a gymnasium, a library, and an orchestra at Temple-Tifereth Israel.

In 1917, Abba Hillel Silver became Temple-Tifereth Israel's rabbi. While Silver still followed Reform Judaism, he did reestablish several more orthodox practices. Hebrew again was taught. He also ended the non-religious and non-cultural activities that Gries had established. Under Silver's leadership, Temple-Tifereth Israel grew dramatically. In 1924, a new synagogue opened on East 105th Street. This new synagogue could seat two thousand members. By 1927, this temple boasted the largest Reform Jewish congregation in the United States.

Silver remained as Temple-Tifereth Israel's rabbi until his death in 1963, when his son, Daniel Silver, assumed this position. Daniel Silver continued his father's policies, and Temple-Tifereth Israel continued to flourish. In 1969, Temple-Tifereth Israel established a branch temple in Beachwood, Ohio. Daniel Silver died in 1989. As of 1995, more than 1,600 families belonged to Temple-Tifereth Israel.

See Also


  1. Gartner, Lloyd P. History of the Jews of Cleveland. Cleveland, OH: Western Reserve Historical Society, 1978.  
  2. Van Tassel, David D., and John J. Grabowski, eds. The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.