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Jewish Temples of Southwest Louisiana Records

Collection 207

Jewish Temples of Southwest Louisiana. Records, 1937–2019, n.d.

6 feet, 7½ inches

Jews began to immigrate to Vermilionville (present-day Lafayette, LA) in the early 1800s. Temple Rodeph Sholom was founded in 1869 as an orthodox congregation, meeting in members’ homes. In 1881, former Louisiana Governor Alexandre Mouton donated two lots on Lee Avenue in Lafayette to the congregation for the purpose of building a synagogue. The temple was built in 1889, and the congregation joined the Reform movement about the same time. The building, somewhat altered, remains in use today.

Yeshurun Synagogue was established in 1974 when younger congregants grew frustrated with Rodeph Shalom’s Classical Reform practices, which were considered too lax. Yeshurun was a smaller congregation, more closely aligned with the Reform movement of Judaism, paying more emphasis to the Hebrew language and traditional rituals in services. The congregation built a synagogue on Kaliste Saloom Road.

Rodeph Sholom and Yeshurun merged in 1992, and the new congregation took the name Temple Shalom.

The congregation formed several organizations within the Temple, including the Lafayette Temple Sisterhood. Also known as Rodeph Sholom Sisterhood, this organization comprised of women members of Temple Rodeph Sholom whose objectives were to “foster and further the highest ideals of Judaism, to promote closer fellowship among its members, to cooperate with the Congregation of Temple Rodeph Sholom in religious, social and educational activities, and to assist in civic endeavors for the advancement of humanitarian causes”. Among its many activities, the annual sale of spaghetti sauce was widely popular in Lafayette and beyond. Yeshurun Synagogue also had a Sisterhood. Both groups appear to have disbanded about the time the congregations merged, and their activities were assumed by Temple Shalom.

The records of the Jewish Temples contain constitutions and by-laws, minutes, financial records, correspondence, newsletters, photographs, clippings, programs, and miscellaneous materials. The bulk of the records are from Temple Rodeph Sholom and Temple Shalom, with a smaller group from Yeshurun Synagogue. There is also a large collection of records from the Rodeph Sholom Sisterhood and some from the Louisiana Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, later consolidated into District 15 of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods.

Much of the material in the collection was donated by Alan Kiesel of Lafayette and Peter Louviere of New Iberia. Sisterhood materials came from Mildred “Mitzi” Kiesel.

Note: Folder 2b-18 is RESTRICTED


A. Temple Rodeph Sholom
    1. Constitution and By-laws 1-01 through 1-02
    2. Minutes 1-03 through 1-16
    3. Membership Lists 1-17 through 1-21
    4. Financial Records 1-22 through 1-26
    5. Legal Records 1-27 through 1-28
    6. Schedules 1-29
    7. Correspondence 1-30 through 1-40
    8. Publications 1-41 through 1-51
    9. Miscellaneous 1-52 through 1-56
    10. Photographs 1-57
B. Yeshurun Synagogue  
    1. Articles of Incorporation 2-01
    2. Meetings 2-02
    3. Membership Lists 2-03
    4. Financial Records 2-03 through 2-04
    5. Calendars 2-06
    6. Correspondence 2-07
    7. Publications 2-08
    8. Miscellaneous 2-09
C. Merger  
    1. Draft Agreement, By-laws 2-10 through 2-11
    2. Minutes 2-12 through 2-14
    3. Membership List 2-15
    4. Financial Records 2-16
    5. Questionnaire 2-17
    6. Correspondence 2-18
    7. Publications 2-19
D. Temple Sholom  
    1. By-laws 2-20
    2. Policies and Procedures 2-21 through 2-23
    3. Minutes and Meetings 2-24 through 2-34
    4. Reports 2-35 through 2-36
    5. Membership Lists 2-37 through 2-38
    6. Financial Records 2a-01 through 2a-08
    7. Legal Records 2a-09 through 2a-10
    8. Calendars and Schedules 2a-11 through 2a-12
    9. Correspondence 2a-13
    10. Publications 2a-14 through 2a-36
    11. Miscellaneous 2b-01 through 2b-03
    12. Photographs 2b-04 through 2b-11
E. Other Temples 2b-12 through 2b-19
F. Union of American Hebrew Congregations 2b-20 through 2b-27
G. Miscellaneous 2b-28 through 2b-38
H. Lafayette Temple Sisterhood  
    1. Policies and Procedures 3-01 through 3-03
    2. Reports 3-04 through 3-05
    3. Minutes 3-06 through 3-07
    4. Membership 3-08
    5. Financial Records 3-09 through 3-23
    6. Legal Records 3-24
    7. Correspondence 3-25 through 3-28
    8. Miscellaneous 3-29 through 3-31
I. Yeshurun Synagogue Sisterhood 3-32 through 3-33
J. Louisiana Federation of Temple Sisterhoods  
    1. Constitution 3-34
    2. Meetings 3-35 through 3-40
    3. Financial Records 3-41 through 4-01
    4. Calendar 4-02
    5. Correspondence 4-03 through 4-04
    6. Newsletters 4-05
    7. Miscellaneous 4-06
K. Southern Federation of Temple Sisterhoods 4-07 through 4-10
L. National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods 4-11 through 5-05
M. Catalogs 5-06 through 5-09
N. Oversize  
    1. Bound Volumes Box 6
    2. Framed Items Box 7


Jewish Temples of Southwest Louisiana. Records, 1937-2019, n.d. (PDF)