Shalom y’all and welcome to the website of the third oldest Jewish Congregation in America!
Congregation Mickve Israel is an active synagogue affilitated with the Union for Reform Judaism, located in the Historic District of Savannah, Georgia.
Congregation Mickve Israel has a long and storied history, dating back to 1733, just a few months after the founding of the City of Savannah. 42 intrepid Jews set sail from England aboard The William and Sarah, with little more than their beloved Torah (which the Congregation still uses annually in our anniversary Shabbat service) and a special kit for circumcision. They arrived in Savannah, a border colony town with an innovative vision for religious tolerance, to start their lives anew in a land of freedom.
These brave settlers went on to found Kahal Kadosh Mickva Israel: Holy Congregation, the Hope of Israel. Through war, plagues, and struggles, the Congregation survived, even thrived. Today, we have over 400 member families, an active schedule of services and activities, and a place of involvement in our community and in the world at large. We like to think that our ancestors would be extremely proud of the remarkable legacy they started in Savannah over 280 years ago.
Our historic sanctuary was designed by New York architect Henry G. Harrison in pure neo-Gothic style, reflecting the fashionable architecture of the Victorian era. Construction began in 1876 and was completed in 1878. It is the only neo-Gothic synagogue in America. Our three-story Mordecai Sheftall Memorial Hall addition, opened in 2003, houses our world-class museum, library, Judaica shop, religious school and temple offices, as well as an impressive banquet room and full professional kitchen.
We are a welcoming and inclusive congregation, and we invite anyone who wishes to worship with us to our services. Visitors are also invited to tour our historic sanctuary and museum. We offer tours on weekdays, and hold worship services on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays.
In addition to religious services and holiday observances, we host cultural events significant to the greater Savannah community. Our Shalom Y’all Jewish Food Festival™, held annually on the last Sunday of October, has been a key part Savannah’s culinary scene for 30 years. Furthermore, we are proud to participate in the annual Super Museum Sunday, held every February, during which historic homes and museums open their doors for free to the public. Our sanctuary has also hosted concerts for the Savannah Children’s Choir and acted as a venue for many Savannah Music Festival concerts, as well as other musical events featuring our historic organ. Additionally, Mickve Israel has long been an active participant in Savannah’s Historic Houses of Worship events. Each year, we join together to celebrate our blessings through a community-wide ecumenical Thanksgiving Service. This interfaith service is held the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving.
You do not need to be a member of Congregation Mickve Israel to use our facility. Our sanctuary and/or social hall (the Mordecai Sheftall Memorial Hall) are available to rent based on availability. Our Executive Director, Jennifer Rich, can provide you with specifics. If our site does not answer your questions, please contact us.
We are a welcoming, supportive and inclusive historic Reform Jewish congregation founded in 1733, that practices both contemporary/mainstream and classical worship and honors our unique history. CMI strives to provide worship services and programing that are stimulating and engaging to our diverse membership. We are committed to serving the Jewish community and the community at large, while working for the greater good.