It was another great meeting at RCSE on Friday, January 25th!  We had four visitors as well as many members in attendance.  President Cindy Kelley reminded everyone of the upcoming RCSE Oyster Roast on Saturday, February 9th from 2:00 - 5:00 PM at Gordon Matthews home on Tybee.  Please RSVP to Kerri at rotarysavannaheast@gmail.com if you would like to attend.  Once all announcements were made, Laura Lane introduced our speaker for the day, Rabbi Robert Haas.  
 
Rabbi Robert Haas is the rabbi at Congregation Mickve Israel and talked to the club about the history of Mickve Israel as well as the history of Jews in Savannah.  Five months after General Oglethorpe landed in Savannah in 1733, a boat of 41 Jewish people arrived.  Oglethorpe invited them to stay and they were given full rights as other Georgia settlers (land, fire arms, opportunity to compete with everyone else).  Therefore, they have been a member of the Savannah community from the beginning.  
 
Congregation Mickve Israel is the 3rd oldest synagogue in the United States and the 2nd oldest house of worship in Georgia.  Up until 1820, services were held in people's homes.  At that time, they build the first building and then built a second one in 1835.  After the civil war in 1878, construction on the current synagogue began in the neo-Gothic style which was popular in United States at that time.  Mickve Israel is the only synagogue still standing that was built in that style.  They have the 1st circumcision kit brought to the USA as well as two Torah scrolls that were written in the 15th century which are the oldest in the USA.  In 1904, Mickve Israel became Reform Judaism.  
 
Congregation Mickve Israel had 11,000 official tours last year.  The synagogue hosts numerous events each year.  Jewish people believe you should help others which is a driving force as to why they are so active in the Savannah community.  
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