A Rural Synagogue’s Last Caretakers


There once were 45 families worshipping at the B'Nai Abraham Synagogue in Brenham, Texas. Now there's one. The synagogue was built in 1893 and for years held three services daily. But in a story common to many small Texas towns — the synagogue in Corsicana is now a community center — Brenham's Jews moved off to Houston or Dallas and now there are no regular services and only Leon Toubin (above) and his wife are left to care for the beautiful building.

Corrie MacLaggan of the Austin (TX) American-Statesman tells the wonderful and sad story of one of the state's oldest synagogues. It's amazing to see how, in a lifetime, the faith and structure of rural communities have changed. Brenham was built, in part, by the Jewish merchants who sold shows and clothes. Toubin's great-uncle repaired umbrellas (a dubious occupation in often drought-plagued Texas). Now they are gone, although the building and the Toubins remain.

It's a story worth reading .