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Texas' Oldest Synagogue Becomes Austin's Newest

Veronica Zaragovia/KUT
The B'nai Abraham Brenham Historic Synagogue, built in 1893, is the oldest synagogue built in Texas, but the newest in Austin.

Austin has a new synagogue — well, it's new to Austin. It’s actually the oldest synagogue built in Texas.

Orthodox Jews who emigrated from Lithuania to Brenham gathered in this synagogue built in 1893. Over the decades that followed, the Jewish community in that area dwindled. 

But several years ago, a descendant of the original founders, Leon Toubin, started the process of relocating the building to Austin. 

"It seems like an example of a Biblical miracle," says Jay Rubin, the chief executive officer of the Jewish Community Association of Austin.

He says it took three years of studies and planning for this to happen. "There are many places where this could’ve been derailed."

After getting to Austin in three pieces, though, it’s been reassembled, renovated and ready to get used for everything from the Jewish book festival to religious ceremonies.

Its new life officially begins this Sunday with a public dedication in the morning that will include, of course, Klezmer music and a hanging of the mezuzah by the door. 

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