175 Years as a Congregation

150 Years of Plum Street Temple

Learn More About the Journey

History of K.K. B'nai Yeshurun - Isaac M. Wise Temple

  • 1860

    Along with K. K. Bene Israel, a joint cemetery in Walnut Hills is organized (which will become known as the United Jewish Cemetery). Today this joint enterprise is responsible for numerous cemeteries in the Cincinnati area.

  • 1865

    The laying of Plum Street Temple's cornerstone takes place on May 12, 1865. The congregation had needed a larger building for years, but their plans were postponed due to the Civil War.

  • 1866

    The Plum Street Temple is dedicated on Friday, August 24, 1866. As a daily paper writes at the time, "Cincinnati never before had seen so much grandeur pressed into so small a space." Although originally budgeted at a cost of $35,000 for the land, and $55,000 for the building, the total cost of the enterprise exceeded $300,000, largely due to post Civil War inflation.

  • 1873

    Rabbi Wise founds the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the umbrella body of the Reform Movement in North America.

  • 1875

    Rabbi Wise founds the Hebrew Union College, what is now the oldest rabbinical school in the Western Hemisphere.

  • 1889

    Rabbi Wise founds the Central Conference of Reform Rabbis, the professional union of the Reform rabbinate in America

  • 1892

    A celebration of the fiftieth year of the congregation is held on February 26, 1892. An impressive procession and banquet is held.

  • 1899

    The congregation celebrates Rabbi Wise's eightieth birthday along with the Central Conference of Reform Rabbis.

  • 1900

    Rabbi Wise dies on March 26, 1900. His pulpit chair at Plum Street Temple is draped in black and kept vacant for a year. Rabbi Louis Grossman is elected Senior Rabbi until 1926.

  • 1903

    What will later be known as The Wise Center is opened on September 25, 1903 on Reading Road as an additional building for the congregation.

  • 1913

    The Wise Temple Sisterhood is formed at this time and becomes a charter member of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods.

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