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The congregation was founded in 1882 as an Orthodox congregation, B’nai Jacob, and merged with another orthodox congregation, Beth HaMedrash HaGadol in 1927 to create congregation Keneseth Israel. It moved to its current home in 1964.
The earliest building was a former church. In 1901, the congregation, then B'nai Israel, dedicated a new building on the site of the former church building at 432 E. Jefferson Street. The building has twin towers with pyramid-form roofs and was strongly stripped in red-and-white in the Moorish Revival style then fashionable for synagogues.