The cornerstone of Temple B'nai Israel is a compact immigration
history of the community. The first "Levi" family came
from Alsace-Lorraine before the Civil War, establishing an iinfluential
banking company in the region. The second "Levy" family
came from Eastern europe after the turn of the century and became
The pre-Civil War community of Victoria grew up on the coastal plain as an agricultural, later oil, transhipment point equally distant from San Antonio, Houston, and Austin.
Despite the presence of both Reform and Orthodox elements,
one institution served everyone without much apparent friction.
The building shown above was constructed in 1923 in the local
commercial/institutional vernacular of the time. It was renovated
and enlarged in 1986 (addition not shown) and certain essential
repairs to the original structure were also made.
The entry is screened by a short wall from the fixed (pew)
seating area terminated by a bimah and ark built into the wall.
In the room beyond are service facilities, restroom, and kitchen.
The bimah and ark as well as some of the furnishings and fittings
are original. The congregation maintains a display of early confirmation
photos, inivitations, certificates and other memorabilia in the
new addition to the building.
(left) Mr. Dave Lack, resident since 1941, conducts a tour of the Jewish cemetery. (right) WWII brought prosperity for many. Abandoned airfield buildings are all that remains from the extensive pilot, navigation, and bombadier training facilties established in Victoria because of its geographical resemblance to certain theaters of combat.