Life Across the River
Beth El Hebrew Congregation
In the principal business street, I could easily identify half the firms as belonging to the well-known Jewish nomenclature; two kosher boarding-houses are already established there.
- A Jewish Soldier, “Alexandria, Virginia, and its Jewish Population,” The Jewish Messenger
Formed in 1859, Beth El Hebrew Congregation followed reform practices, conducted services in German and Hebrew, and used Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise’s prayer book Minhag America.
From the early 1860s until 1871, members held services in a rented room at the corner of King and Pitt Streets. In 1864, the congregation hired its first spiritual leader, Dr. L. Schlessinger.