Early Beaumont Jewish Community 9
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Other Jews settled in Beaumont during the 1890’s, but the writer often cannot furnish the exact arrival year. Among them were Louis Mayer, merchant;30 Bernard Deutser, who operated the Lone Star Furniture Company;31 A. Flaxman, merchant; Joe and Leon Rosenthal, merchants;32 E. Szafir, stationer;33 and Gus Well and L. Perl, racket store owners. Mayer also became vice-president of the Neches Oil Company. Others were Jake J. Nathan, department store owner, who arrived in 1896, and H. and S. Nathan, the city’s first pawn brokers, who came from Galveston in 1899.34

Other early arrivals, dates unknown by the writer, were Jake and Sol Gordon as well as Alex Feigelson, each of whom was to contribute substantially to Beaumont’s cultural and economic progress.

In September, 1895, the Jewish citizens organized Congregation Emanu-el, now Temple Emanuel, with officers as follows: S. Lederer, president; L. Schwartz, vice-president; H. A. Peristein, secretary; M. Hecht, treasurer; M, Alschwang, Jan. (?); and L. R. Levy, H. Hirsch, L. Schwartz, S. Feinberg, and R. M. Mothner, trustees.35 They immediately engaged Dr. Aaron Levy as the town’s first resident rabbi.36 By 1895, temporary quarters were occupied variously in the Goodhue Opera House, Deutser’s store, and the Harmony Club until the first synagogue was erected in 1901 at Broadway and Willow streets.37

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30See photo and ad of L. Mayer, Standard Blue Book of Texas, 1908-1909, pp. 99, 187, 189.

31Biography of Bernard Deutser, Sabine Pass News, May 5, 1900; see also “Emerald of the Neches,” p. 544; biography of B. Deutser, B. C. C., Souvenir, Beaumont, Texas, 1903, p. 12; photo and ad, Standard Blue Book of Texas, 1908-1909, pp. 108, 205; and photo of Deutser Fur­niture Company, Beaumont: The City Awake, 1906, p. 6.

32Before moving to Beaumont, A. Flaxman was one of the earliest Jewish merchants in Orange. See Orange Tribune, Sept. 12, 1879. See also Blum et al., “Founders and Builders,” p. 4; B. C. C. Statistical Review of the Progress of Beaumont for 1925, p. 73; photo, J. Rosenthal, and ad, Rosenthal-Deutser Dry Goods Company, Standard Blue Book of Texas, 1908-1909, pp. 99, 194.

33Photo, Szafir’s Stationers, Souvenir, Beaumont, Texas, 1983, p. 8; also photo and ad of E. Szafir, Standard Blue Book of Texas, 1908-1909, pp. 100, 206.

345ee biographies of Jake J. Nathan and H. and S. Nathan, Sabine Pass News, May 5, 1900. See also “Emerald of the Neches,” pp. 411, 527, 538-539, 542; biography and photos, J. J. Nathan, self and store, Oil Exchange, Advantages and Conditions of Beaumont and Port Arthur Today, 1902, p. 80.

35”Organization of Temple Emanuel,” Galveston Daily News, Sept. 22, 29, 1895; photo, A. Feigelson Wagon Works, B. C. C., Beaumont, The Twentieth Century City, 1912, p. 46. For a history of the Gordon families, see also F. Weinbaum, Shalom, America.

36Biography and photo of Dr. Aaron Levy in Oil Exchange, Advantages and Conditions of Beaumont and Port Arthur Today, 1902, p. 72; Blum et a!., “Founders and Builders,” p. 9.

37Blum “Founders and Builders,” p. 9. A photo of the first Temple Emanuel synagogue, built in 1901, appears in B. C. C., Beaumont: The City Awake, 1906, p. 16; B. C. C., Beaumont: The Twentieth Century City, 1912, p. 2.

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