The Baron Hirsch Synagogue, founded more than one hundred-fifty years ago in Memphis, Tennessee, is a flagship of American Orthodox Judaism. From humble beginnings, with services held at private homes and on the second floor of a modest hotel, Baron Hirsch moved into its first edifice on Washington and Fourth in downtown Memphis in 1912. The congregation continued to grow and in 1950 built North America’s largest synagogue on Vollintine and Evergreen and emerged as the largest Orthodox congregation in the United States.
The new synagogue witnessed a doubling of membership, and its family members exceeded one thousand. Neighborhood transitions and American mobility necessitated finding an additional location in which the membership could be served as ever-growing numbers were moving to beautiful East Memphis. A satellite synagogue was established as Baron Hirsch acquired the Isaac Hayes estate and converted the mansion for its use. By the mid-1980’s it became clear that almost all Baron Hirsch members were in this area. The congregation accepted the challenge, and in 1988 dedicated a new and magnificent synagogue and campus contiguous to the property it already owned.
Today, Baron Hirsch continues to flourish as its members enjoy a vast array of services and activities. Meeting the challenges offered by contemporary need, Baron Hirsch has rightfully earned a world-wide reputation as a flagship synagogue. This large but very warm body of people represent a vast array of Jews in the broad spectrum of American Jewry. Baron Hirsch serves individual needs and demonstrates sincere concern for all of its members. The congregation has never been overwhelmed by its size. This open and welcoming institution has successfully proven that diverse ages and views can simultaneously experience profound spirituality, Torah learning and sheer delight within a singular synagogue home.
Services at Baron Hirsch resonate with song and inspiration, with the sounds of children’s laughter and the smiles of senior members. Varied programs attest to an ongoing dynamism.