About Temple Emanuel
The Greensboro Jewish community had its first permanent settlers in the
middle 1890’s. At this time, the earliest Greensboro members of the Cone
and Schiffman families arrived and were soon joined by relatives and
in-laws. The decade of the 1890’s was a period of rapid growth for Greensboro.
The population grew from 3,317 in 1890 to 10,035 in 1900. Growth
continued for both the general and Jewish populations. It was in an
atmosphere of optimism and rebirth that the foundation of modern
Greensboro, with its Jewish community, was built.
The religious group that was to become Temple Emanuel was organized in
1907. The first documented formal worship services were for the High
Holy Days. The early services were held in the rented second floor of a
grocery store on South Elm Street.
records began with minutes of the Trustees on February 8, 1908. The
first meeting in 1908 was held to discuss arrangements for the purchase
of the first Temple, a former Friends Church in the first block of East
Lee Street. On April 9, 1909, the organization became more formal with
the official name being Reform Hebrew Congregation, Inc., but was called
the Greensboro Hebrew Congregation because of participation by both
Reform and Orthodox Jews. The building was called Temple Emanuel. The
Congregation was officially named Temple Emanuel in 1949 in recognition
of the recently formed Conservative congregation at Beth David
October 1919, the decision was made to plan for a new Temple and the
location on North Greene Street “overlooking Fisher Park” was selected.
In 1920, the famous architect, Hobart Upjohn, was engaged and in the
fall of 1922, construction began. The cornerstone was laid in 1923, and
the building was in use in 1924. Formal dedication was in June 1925. The
Temple admitted women into full membership in 1923, which represented
an early break with tradition.
The Congregation continued to grow, and in the 1940s it needed to expand
the Religious School. In 1949, architect and Temple member, Edward
Loewenstein, drew the plans and later that year the Sunday School wing
was in use.
The Congregation was again outgrowing its facilities by the late '50s.
This led to the construction of the Rypins Building (named for Rabbi
Frederick Rypins and his wife, Ruth Rypins). This educational and
meeting center was formally dedicated in 1979.
In 1995, Fred Guttman
became the Rabbi of Temple Emanuel and ushered in a new era. The
Congregation was once again outgrowing its facilities, so construction
was begun on a second campus on Jefferson Road in Northwest Greensboro.
This facility was completed in time for the High Holy Day Services in
The Jefferson Road Campus is the heart of Temple Emanuel’s religious and
educational facilities. Though the Rypins Building was sold in late
2003, services and special functions are still periodically held at the
Greene Street location.
Today, Temple Emanuel is a congregation of approximately 600 families, and a proud member of the Union for Reform Judaism. Our 100-year anniversary was in 2007. We celebrated all year and the culmination was the publication of our Centennial Book.