The History of Jewish Richmond
Jews were doing business in the Virginia Territory as early as 1650, and by the 1760s they began to settle in Richmond. In 1789, when Jewish residents numbered about 100 of the city’s 3,700 residents, Kahal Kadosh Beth Shalome (The Holy Congregation, House of Peace) was organized in the Sephardic tradition. Beth Ahabah’s predecessor congregation was the first in Richmond and the sixth and westernmost in the United States, founded just three years after the Virginia General Assembly enacted the Statute for Religious Freedom.
Read more about Congregation Beth Ahabah History.
The early Richmond Jews integrated easily into the city’s life, holding a number of elective and civic positions, and played a vital role in reviving the city’s economy after the Civil War left the capital of the Confederacy in shambles.
Read more about Congregation Beth Ahabah Civic Leaders.