The oldest Jewish community in Mississippi.
The story of Jewish life in Natchez, Mississippi, is a tale of matzoh balls and magnolias, the Civil War and synagogues, King Cotton and merchant life Under-The-Hill. It began in the early 1840s when the first Jewish immigrants were drawn by economic opportunity to the Mississippi frontier. It continues today with the Temple B’nai Israel congregation.
The temple, built in 1904, houses the oldest Jewish congregation in Mississippi. Its stained glass windows and Italian marble ark make this synagogue one of the loveliest and most historic in the region. Learn more about the Jewish community of Natchez in the Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities.
Temple B’nai Israel Restoration and Preservation Fund
The ISJL helps ensure the preservation of Temple B’nai Israel and Natchez’s Jewish legacy in perpetuity. The ISJL not only takes care of the building and makes it even more accessible to all, but also brings enriching cultural programs to town, ensuring that the entire Natchez community can continue to celebrate a shared southern history and legacy of fellowship. Although Temple B’nai Israel has always been valued and cared for, as the number of congregants has dwindled, it has fallen on fewer and fewer shoulders to address the naturally-occurring needs of an old structure. We need your help and financial support. Visit the temple's website to learn more about the campaign and to contribute to save Temple B’nai Israel today.
Visit Temple B’nai Israel
Temple B’nai Israel is open to the public with the support of local docents from the congregation. Visits include a guided tour of the historic building; Of Passover and Pilgrimage, an exhibit documenting the history and everyday life of Natchez’s Jewish families; and The Natchez Jewish Experience, an award-winning documentary film. Group tours of the Jewish cemetery and Jewish homes are available by special arrangement.
Temple B’nai Israel
213 S. Commerce Street
Natchez, MS 39120
To book a tour, support the preservation of the temple, or learn more, call 601.362.6357 or email Director of Heritage and Interpretation Nora Katz.