On March 15, 1890, Congregation Tiferet Israel was formed to accommodate the settlement of Jewish people in North Dallas. Ten prominent Dallas men formed the Congregation. They were Frank Byers, who also served as President of the Congregation from 1893 to 1927, Joe Ablon, Wm. Dombrowsky, Jacob Donosky, Israel I. Donosky, A. J. Herman, I. Meyer Lynn, Sam Tobolowsky, Moses B. Tobolowsky, Rueben Robinson and Adolph Rubenstein. For the first three years, services were held at the home of Jacob Donosky, 163 Caroline Street. In 1893, property was purchased at 145 Highland (later changed to Akard Street). A one and a half story home already on the lot was used for services until 1902. The Dallas City Directory, 1902, shows a listing of Congregation Tiferet Israel, 145 Highland. After 1902, the home was torn down and rebuilt. That new building became the home of Tiferet Israel’s first families until 1937.
As the City of Dallas grew, so did the Jewish population of the city. The demographics changed and it was necessary to not only provide a house of worship for the next generation, but a Sunday School and a final resting place for the Congregation’s deceased. In the past, the members of the Congregation were buried at what was called “White Rock Cemetery”, which we now know is the Agudas Achim/Tiferet Israel Cemetery on Scyene Road. In 1920, Congregation Tiferet Israel purchased one acre of burial ground from Congregation Shearith Israrel at their Cemetery on Dolphin Road. It was consecrated as Tiferet Israel Congregation Cemetery. The City of Dallas moved forward again and today there are also burial grounds for Tiferet Israel at Sparkman-Hillcrest on Northwest Highway.
In 1937, Max Katz, a prominent Dallas Real Estate developer donated land on Grand Avenue and Edgewood Street in South Dallas. The new building, designed by Howard R. Meyer, was a modern design, with stone trim. The main Sanctuary seated 350 people and the finished building, costing $30,000.00, included a chapel for daily prayer, a social hall seating 125, kitchen, pantry, offices and restrooms. Memorial stained glass windows were featured in the auditorium, chapel and main entrance, which was of brick and Roman travertine. The pulpit and Ark of the Covenant formed a recess at the end of the auditorium, which was finished in plaster and walnut, with a ceiling of acoustic tiles. A Sunday School Building was built later. Sol Katz of Tyler, son of Max Katz, laid the cornerstone in memory of his mother, Ester Katz, who was tragically killed by a motorcyclist while trying to cross South Boulevard in 1930. A scroll containing the names of the contributors to the building fund was placed in the cornerstone on July 4, 1938, where it remains to this day.
Congregation Tiferet Israel and its families grew and as it grew, Dallas moved farther North. Feeling the need to move out of South Dallas, land was purchased at 10909 Hillcrest Road in 1957. On March 3, 1958, ground was broken and dedicated by Rabbi Pierce Annes, who was also celebrating his fifteenth anniversary with Congregation Tiferet Israel. Rabbi J. Abramowitz and Rabbi Hillel E. Silverman of Congregation Shearith Israel also took part in the ceremonies. Ground for the main Sanctuary was broken by Issie Wyll and A. B. Tobolowsky, and for the social hall by Mrs. Max Katz and Sol Katz, in memory of husband and father, Max Katz. Rabbi Levi Olan of Temple EmanuEl was guest speaker at the Purim dinner that followed the groundbreaking ceremony.
Today, as Tiferet Israel celebrates over 130 years, we have come a long way from Caroline Street to Hillcrest Road, from the first President, Frank Byers, to our current President, Ed Jerome and current Rabbi Meir Sabo and his wonderful wife, Sarit. We can now look forward to the next 130 years with confidence.
FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION.
Bravo Tiferet Israel as we look to the future!