Submitted by admin on Wed, 2014-11-12 11:04
The Sinai Congregation is Chicago’s third oldest synagogue, founded in 1861. Bernard Felsenthal was the first rabbi. It first met at a space on Monroe just west of Clark.
Old Monroe Street by Edwin Mack (1914) contains a description of the first Sinai synagogue:
Their first temple was a one story frame building about 50 feet wide and 80 feet deep on the north side of Monroe Street just east of where LaSalle Street was later opened through. This building was originally erected for Trinity Episcopal Church on Madison Street.… The testimony of the early settlers consulted differs as to whether the first frame temple after LaSalle Street was opened through was located on the northwest or on the northeast corner of Monroe Streets.
In 1866, the congregation constructed a new building at Van Buren and Third Street (now Plymouth Ct.)
A book entitled The Beginnings of the Chicago Sinai Congregation by Bernard Felsenthal was published in Chicago 1898 and is available at the Newberry (Call # F 6187 .29) or through Google Books.
There is a collection of 526 marriages from Sinai Congregation, 1861-1905, posted on Jewishgen at:
The American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati, Ohio holds records of this congregation and has placed a finding aid online.
The congregation's current website offers a history of the synagogue.