4. Nisan 5783
(26. March 2023)
The first Jewish settlement in our area flourished in La Porte County between 1850 and 1870. In those days Jewish people living in Michigan City worshiped in the city of La Porte. Jewish settlers came to Michigan City from Germany during the Civil War period. Through the influx of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe after 1890, the first congregation to flourish was Adath Israel which built a synagogue on Seventh Street in 1907. (In 1900 a cemetery association was founded in Greenwood Cemetery and re-dedicated 1947.)
The first reform Jewish services in Michigan City were held in a rented hall during the High Holy Days of 1904. Under the leadership of Moses Moritz, a congregation was organized in 1912 or 1913 which adopted the name “Sinai Congregation.”
The post-war period initiated the most rapid growth of membership. In the fall of 1945, Sinai Congregation affiliated with the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and passed a resolution to engage a resident rabbi.
The increase in membership made the need for a new building imperative. In 1947, a lot for a new temple and religious school was acquired on Franklin Street. On May 4,1952 the official groundbreaking ceremony took place at the site of the new Temple. The building was completed in May of 1953.
After 26 years as rabbi, Rabbi Karl Richter retired in 1976. He became rabbi emeritus, considered the spark of inspiration for Sinai Temple and an active leader in our community for decades.
Sinai Temple has had the blessing of a line of distinguished rabbis, who have brought its congregants to reflect and act on our shared values with pride and dedication.
The years ahead will hold many challenges for Sinai Temple, given the ongoing changes in the demographics of our community. With continued faith, dedication, commitment, and participation, there will be many more years in the life of our congregation to be added to our rich history.