Reclaiming Our History: Our New Mexico Jewish community has an incredible opportunity to purchase the old Montefiore Synagogue of Las Vegas, New Mexico. After 70 years of being used as a Catholic Church, our building can return to the Jewish community. With everyone's help.
And so, a little New Mexico Jewish history ans possibility, via GoFundMe.
In 1880, Las Vegas, New Mexico had one of the largest Jewish populations in the Southwest, many of them merchants who came west on the Santa Fe Trail.
They became prominent and involved members of the community, who established themselves and their businesses throughout northern New Mexico. They were integrated into and accepted by the local community.
Many of the original Jewish settlers of Las Vegas are buried in Montefiore Cemetery, the first Jewish cemetery west of the Mississippi, established in 1881.
In 1884 Congregation Montefiore, the first Jewish congregation in the New Mexico Territory, began a campaign to raise funds for a permanent synagogue in Las Vegas, NM.
According to records, over half the donations came from nonmembers, another example of the locals’ respect for the Jewish population.
Congregation Montefiore was dedicated on September 20, 1886 in downtown Las Vegas, and in 1922 moved four blocks uphill, to its current location at 901 8th Street.
Due to a declining Jewish population, the building was sold in the 1950’s to the Santa Fe Diocese and became the Newman Center.
The Jewish Community of Las Vegas regrouped in the 1990’s and included more Sephardic Jews, some of whom were “conversos” who were discovering their Jewish heritage.
The Jewish community has long wished to purchase it back and reclaim a very important piece of New Mexico Jewish history.
A long last, it has become available with an immediate deadline to purchase.
We are seeking generous donors from across the country who will help us save this part of New Mexico history and the legacy of those pioneer Jews who build the congregation.
In addition to being a permanent place for services, this building will provide a space for Jewish history, which will include the very old Sephardic Jewish history of the region. Las Vegas, NM has a tradition of acceptance of the Jewish people.
We believe that through education, diversity, inclusion, and community partnership, we can restore cooperation and combat antisemitism.
Tax-deductible donations will not only establish a permanent synagogue in Las Vegas, NM, they will make the history and contributions of Jews in New Mexico known worldwide.
This will help us reclaim, repair, and restore this important historic and symbolic building.
The Las Vegas Jewish Comunity, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.