Filed Under Religion

Temple Emanu-El (current)

Opened in 1973, the synagogue serves a local congregation first established in 1921.

The original Temple Emanu-El (see separate entry) was located at 426 West Street, where it broke ground in 1921 and served Reno's Jewish community for nearly 50 years. After the condition of the building deteriorated, plans got underway to construct a new building on Manzanita Lane. During the three-year construction transition, services were conducted in the Musicians’ Union Hall at 124 West Taylor St. High Holiday services were held in the new Reno Centennial Coliseum.

An editorial in the Reno Evening Gazette on February 5, 1972 said, “It’s time to shed a sad tear or two for the old temple Emanu-El. The historical synagogue that has served the Reno Jewish community for more than a half a century is being put out to pasture. But the mourning won’t last for long, we’d guess. The old structure is not the most beautiful example of architecture in Reno. The new one, by contrast, will be a dazzling example of modern design, with its dramatic lines and swooping roof.”

Designed by well-known local architect Graham Erskine, the exterior is considerably more modern than that of the West Street synagogue, but many of the interior furnishings came from the original building. Groundbreaking at the new location took place in the fall of 1972 and the building was dedicated April 29, 1973. In a ceremony on May 8th, the corner stone box from the old building was placed into the new one. It was refilled with appropriate items and resealed through the courtesy of Ray Heating Company. Governor Mike O’Callaghan was present along with religious leaders.

Temple Emanu-El is the first synagogue to build a significant library of Judaica. On December 7, 1988, after six years of work and a cost of $120,000, the congregation dedicated the newly constructed Dr. Emanuel Berger Judaica Library, then the largest in Nevada. The library is dedicated to Berger, a Slovakian refugee who came to the United States before World War II. He had a sizable private collection that he contributed to the synagogue before the library project started. The library also includes the 10 stained glass windows that hung in the original synagogue.

The sacred scroll known as the Sefer Torah #1142 is on permanent loan from the Memorial Scroll Trust. It came from Bohemia- Moravia and is one of the 1,154 to have survived the Holocaust. Herb and Bea Brown provided the financial assistance to acquire and transport the scroll from the Trust to Reno in 1993.

The beautiful building at 1031 Manzanita Lane is the result of many years of community dedication. Today, there are an estimated 70,000 Jews in Nevada and for more than a century, Temple Emanu-El has served the Northern Nevada Jewish community.

Images

Temple Emanu-El on Manzanita Lane
Temple Emanu-El on Manzanita Lane The Temple Emanu-El exterior in 2023. The building was designed by local architect Graham Erskine and opened in 1973. Creator: Alicia Barber Date: 2023
Architectural rendering
Architectural rendering An architectural rendering of the new Temple Emanu-El. Architect Graham Erskine teamed with "Monk" Ferris to design many notable area buildings in the mid-century period including Reno and Hug High Schools, the Nevada Bell building, and the Nevada Legislative Building. Source: Reno Evening Gazette Date: February 2, 1972
Stained glass restoration
Stained glass restoration Volunteer Hy Kashenberg works to restore the then-67-year-old stained glass windows to be installed in the Berger Library, as photographed for the newspaper in 1988. Source: Reno Gazette-Journal Creator: Joe Gosen Date: July 2, 1988
Untitled Temple Emanu-El’s carved marker at corner of Manzanita Lane and Lakeside Drive. Source: Temple Emanu-El
Cornerstones
Cornerstones The two cornerstones, from the 1921 building and the current one on Manzanita Lane Source: Temple Emanu-El

Location

1031 Manzanita Lane, Reno, Nevada

Metadata

Sharon Honig-Bear, “Temple Emanu-El (current),” Reno Historical, accessed May 19, 2024, https://renohistorical.org/items/show/272.