In May, 2012, Congregation Children of Israel celebrated its 140th anniversary – its charter was signed on June 28, 1872. A Jewish presence in Athens, Georgia dates back to 1858 when Moses Myers opened a dry goods business at 13 College Avenue and Gabriel Jacobs began making military caps for the Confederate forces. Shortly after the war, Myers and Jacobs were joined by Casper Morris, David Michael and Myer Stern. By 1872, other Jewish businesses opened in Athens and surrounding cities, prompting community leaders to create a house of worship. The charter was granted to Kol Kadosh Beni Yisroele and Congregation Children of Israel. The community set out to establish its presence by purchasing parcels of land for a cemetery (1873) adjacent to Oconee Hills Cemetery and built its first Synagogue at the corner of Hancock Avenue and Jackson Street. In 1884, the original synagogue opened its doors, and it housed CCI for the next 84 years. In 1968, a new building was dedicated on Dudley Drive, and this location continues to be our spiritual home.
In 1974, CCI became a registered,non-profit corporation in the Office of the Secretary of State in Georgia as “Kol Kadosh B’nei Israel, Inc.”
In 1996, a new education center was added to the current temple and was dedicated as the “Carol Bush Education Center”. The religious school now has comfortable classrooms for children as young as 3 and up to 16 years of age.
Gabriel Jacobs served the community as lay-rabbi and religious educator in 1872. Twenty different Rabbis led CCI during the 84 years that the Congregation worshiped in the original Synagogue. Since moving into the Dudley Drive Synagogue in 1968, CCI had six Rabbis (Deutsch, Raskind, Saperstein, Derby, Tuchman and Gerson) before Rabbi Linder joined us in July, 2012.