Our museums and archives are temporarily closed to support the effort to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

MS 43 Congregation Beth Israel Records

Summary Information

Repository
San Diego History Center Document Collection
Creator
Congregation Beth Israel (San Diego, Calif.).
Title
Congregation Beth Israel Records
ID
MS 43
Date [inclusive]
1921-1969
Extent
0.25 Linear feet (1 box)
Language
English
Abstract
This collection consists of documents from Congregation Beth Israel related to their land purchases and projects.

Preferred Citation

Congregation Beth Israel Records, MS 43, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

Return to Table of Contents »


Biographical / Historical Notes

Congregation Beth Israel, with roots in San Diego dating back to 1861, was officially incorporated in 1886. Since its inception, it has built and occupied three synagogues in San Diego, all of which are still standing. The Congregation’s first temple was completed in 1889 at 2nd Avenue and Beech Street (1502 2nd Avenue), largely due to the efforts of Samuel I. Fox and Adolph Levi. In this same time period, the Congregation established a Jewish burial ground called Home of Peace Cemetery as part of Mount Hope Cemetery.

In 1926, outgrowing its synagogue building, the Congregation purchased lots G, H and I on Block 286 of the “Horton’s Addition” area of San Diego, on 3rd and Laurel Streets. There they built a new synagogue, Temple Beth Israel, which was designed by noted San Diego architect William Henry Wheeler and built by M. Trepte & Son. The synagogue was mortgaged in 1931. The Congregation continued to purchase land on Block 286, and it soon owned the entire block, including an apartment complex and house that were demolished in 1968 to make way for a parking lot for the Temple. In 1967, Congregation Beth Israel merged with Temple Solel, whose five blocks of property located between Juan Street and Harney Court came under the care of the Congregation.

In 2001, the Congregation built a new temple and surrounding complex in University City, and sold Block 286 to Peter J. Block Companies, who agreed to preserve the building. It is currently occupied by Ohr Shalom Synagogue. The first and original temple, which had been owned and used by the Fraternal Spiritualist Church, was made a San Diego Historic Site in 1973. Congregation Beth Israel repurchased this building and donated it to the county in 1978; in that year it was moved to Heritage Park in Old Town, where it stands today and serves as a public meeting place and religious museum after a long period of restoration, funded in part by both the Congregation and the Save Our Heritage Organization.

This collection was donated by Richard C. Levi, grandson of one of the early leaders of Congregation Beth Israel, Adolph Levi. Adolph (1858-1943) immigrated to California from Bohemia in 1877 to join his brother Simon (1850-1918) in San Diego. Both became successful businessmen and prominent members of San Diego. Adolph was instrumental in building the first synagogue, and both Adolph and Simon served terms as president of Congregation Beth Israel. Richard Levi (1918 – ) was an active leader of the Congregation, serving as Treasurer for many years.

Return to Table of Contents »


Scope and Content

The collection contains documents relating to the administration, land purchases and building projects of Congregation Beth Israel, including its temple on 3rd and Laurel Streets. Highlights include administrative resolutions, court petitions, legal agreements and contracts, correspondence, maps and property deeds.

Return to Table of Contents »


Arrangement

Items in the collection are arranged by subject.

Return to Table of Contents »


Administrative Information

Publication Information

San Diego History Center Document Collection December 7, 2011

1649 El Prado, Suite 3
San Diego, CA, 92101
619-232-6203

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number 830729A.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Jennifer Ho on December 7, 2011.

Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

Return to Table of Contents »


Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Congregation Beth Israel (San Diego, Calif.).
  • F.E. Young Investment Co..
  • Home of Peace Cemetery.
  • Temple Beth Israel (San Diego, Calif.).
  • Trepte Construction Company.

Geographic Name(s)

  • San Diego (Calif.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Albert, David
  • Fox, Samuel I.
  • Levi, Adolph
  • Levi, Richard C.
  • Price, Alan
  • Rabin, Seymour
  • Samisch, E. H.
  • Stacy, Mary Duffy
  • Wheeler, William Henry

Subject(s)

  • Real property
  • Synagogues

Return to Table of Contents »


Collection Inventory

Box-folder
Administration, 1923 October 1–1969 May 28 and undated

Includes:

Correspondence relating to increase in number of directors

Resolution granting authority to officers in financial matters

1:1
Sale of Lots G and H (Block 207) and purchase of Lots G, H, and I (Block 286) to build temple on 3rd and Laurel Streets, 1923–1926 April 2 and undated

Includes:

Legal agreements

Court petitions

1:2
Temple Beth Israel on 3rd and Laurel: construction, 1925 August 22–September 12 and undated

Includes:

Correspondence from contractor, M. Trepte and Sons (Trepte Construction Company)

Contracts

Builder’s Bond to Owner

1:3
Temple Beth Israel on 3rd and Laurel: mortgage, 1931 July-August 26

Includes:

Notice of special meeting

Copy of proposed resolution

1:4
Temple Beth Israel on 3rd and Laurel: purchase of Lots D-F, Block 286, 1962 October 15 and undated

Includes:

Deed of Trust

Legal agreement

1:5
Temple Beth Israel on 3rd and Laurel: purchase of Lots A-F, Block 286, 1964 March 10–1967 October 12 and undated

Includes:

Correspondence from bank

Sale information with tax assessment values

Escrow documents

Corporation grant deed

1:6
Temple Beth Israel on 3rd and Laurel: loan to purchase Lots A-F, Block 286, 1967 August 29–1969 August 1 and undated

Includes:

Promissory note and correspondence regarding loan from Beth Israel Cemetery and Mausoleum Association, Inc.

1:7
Temple Beth Israel on 3rd and Laurel: parking lot (built on lots A-F, Block 286), 1968 July 30–December 24 and undated

Includes:

Proposed parking lot in Block 286-Horton’s Addition for Temple Beth Israel (diagram) (in Oversize Collections D3)

Handwritten notes

Proposals

Application for conditional use

Building demolition contract

1:8
Juan Street property and Temple Solel, 1964 June 4–1968 October 7 and undated

Includes:

Promissory note

Deed of Trust

Schedule of expenses

Notices of public hearing

Topographic maps

1:9
Property appraisals, 1968 June 10–1969 December 4 and undated

Includes:

Correspondence from appraisers

List of Real Estate Appraisers

1:10
Property maintenance and improvements, 1968 February 12–June 11 and undated

Includes:

Correspondence from architect

1:11
Miscellanea, 1921–1969 October 6 and undated

Includes:

New Temple Beth Israel Dedication Services program

Save Our Heritage Organization member letter

Comparable Land Costs chart – Pill Hill Area

Horton’s Addition maps

Grading plan for the proposed fill site in a portion of lot 35, Rancho Mission (diagram), 1969 (in Oversize Collections D3)

Agreement to allocate portion of Home of Peace Cemetery to Congregregation Tiffereth Israel

1:12

Return to Table of Contents »


Return to Archival Collections.