South Side Jewish Chicago

Sunday, August 18
South Side Jewish Chicago

KAM ISAIAH ISRAEL, 1100 E Hyde Park Boulevard, 1923, Alfred S. Alschuler, Sr., Architect, bpliskow

Join the Chicago Jewish Historical Society on their South Side Jewish Chicago Tour, with professional tour guide Herb Eiseman and architect/preservationist Carey Wintergreen. We’ll begin on Lake Street where 50 years before the construction of the ‘L’ on Lake Street, many shops were owned by Jewish merchants. It was here that that the first synagogue in the Midwest, Kehilath Anshe Ma’ariv, was established in 1847, in a space above a dry goods store.

The 1871 ‘Great Chicago Fire’ prompted the Jewish community’s move from Downtown to the Near South Side. By the 1880s, major synagogue buildings and stately mansions owned by Jewish businessmen dotted South Michigan, Indiana and Prairie Avenues. The Jewish community was served by Michael Reese Hospital, founded in 1881 (demolished, 2012).

Smichael Reese Ssouth Side Hebrew
MICHAEL REESE HOSPITAL, MAIN BUILDING, 1907, S Cottage Grove Ave and 29th St, Schmidt, Garden & Martin, Architects, Demolished 2012 SOUTH SIDE HEBREW CONGREGATION (KEHILATH ANSHE DORUM), 3435 S Indiana Ave, 1890s, History of the Jews of Chicago, H.L. Meites, 2012, Carey Wintergreen

We will stop at the landmark Kehilath Anshe Ma’ariv synagogue, designed by acclaimed architects Adler and Sullivan in 1891, and gutted by fire in 2006. We’ll drive down the beautifully landscaped parkways on Grand (now, Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard) and Drexel Boulevards that provided a promenade south to Washington Park.


KEHILATH ANSHE MA'ARIV, 3301 S Indiana Ave, 1891, Adler and Sullivan, Architects, now, Pilgrim Baptist Church, HABS, HABS, Unknown

Around the beginning of the 20th century, Jews began moving further south along the Avenues and constructed a number of substantial synagogues between 43rd and 47th Streets.


SINAI TEMPLE, Southwest Corner of S Indiana Ave and 21st St, 1891, Adler and Sullivan, Architects, Demolished, Ryerson & Burnham Archives; SINAI TEMPLE, 4622 S Martin Luther King Jr Drive, 1912, Alfred S Alschuler, Sr, Architect, now Mt. Pisgah MB Church, Carey Wintergreen 

By the 1910s prominent Jewish families, among them, the Rosenwalds, Kuppenheimers, Adlers, Mandels, and the Leopolds and Loebs (and their infamous sons) were leaving the Near South Side and Douglas neighborhoods and relocating further south to Kenwood. They constructed substantial homes and grand synagogues, including KAM on South Drexel Boulevard (1924). We have arranged a special tour of the landmark KAM Isaiah Israel on East Hyde Park Boulevard (Architect Alfred S. Alschuler, Sr., 1923).

Then we’ll head to the west side of Washington Park where middle class Jews constructed their synagogues.

Smax Adler


Jews began moving into South Shore in the 1920s and by the 1950s, the South Shore neighborhood had become the center of the South Side Jewish community. Many of the synagogues were new homes for congregations leaving Douglas, Grand Boulevard and Washington Park. We’ll see where Jewish businesses thrived along 71st and 75th Streets and other organizations that served the community: Young Mens Jewish Council Youth Center, Hart JCC and Furth and Piser Funeral Homes.

We’ll discover the only Mikva built in South Shore.

By the 1970s, Jews began to flee South Shore and headed north. By 1980, South Shore had become almost exclusively African American and the Jewish community disappeared. On the South Side today, only Kenwood-Hyde Park still has a small, but viable, Jewish community.

Come join us in discovering or recalling the rich history of South Side Jewish Chicago.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

11:30a – 5:30p Bernard Horwich JCC, 3033 West Touhy Ave.

12:00p – 5:00p Marriott Hotel, 540 N. Michigan Ave. (Rush St. Entrance)

$40 Member / $45 Non-member

For more information: Leah Axelrod, 847-432-7003 or
 MAX ADLER MANSION, 4939 S Greenwood Ave, 1914, Arthur Heun, Architect, @properties
ADLER PLANETARIUM, 1300 S Lake Shore Drive, 1930, Ernest A. Grunsfeld, Jr., Architect,
Sbeth Hamidrash Hagodol Anshe Dorum
BETH HAMIDRASH HAGODOL (KEHILATH ANSHE DORUM), 5129 S Indian Avenue, 1912, Alexander L. Levy, Architect, Carey Wintergreen
Ssouth Shore High
SOUTH SHORE HIGH SCHOOL, 1940, 7627 S Constance Ave, Lee Bey Photography