Congregation Keneseth Israel was founded as an orthodox synagogue by mostly Russian and Lithuanian Jews in the year 5663, which corresponds to the year 1903 on the civil calendar. In those days the Jewish section of San Francisco was in the South-Of-Market area where the synagogue was originally located.

If you have or can find an old encyclopedia (Funk & Wagnalls) from the year 1905, you will find the synagogue listed as the only orthodox shul in town, along with two other synagogues still existing, temples Emanuel and Shearith Israel.

After the great quake of 1906 Jewish families moved out of the SOMA area into the "Western Addition", more popularly referred to as the "Fillmore" or "MacAllister Street area". Keneseth Israel found its home on Webster Street, just around the corner from McAllister, and called by everyone simply "the Webster street shul". By the late 1950's the area began to lose its Jewish character, and in 1972 Keneseth Israel had to move away from there into rented quarters.

And Now
The synagogue now is at 873 Sutter Street in downtown San Francisco. You will find almost all of the major hotels here and it's close to the old south-of-market area where it all began. The synagogue continues in the
orthodox tradition.

It is the only synagogue in downtown, and has become the Jewish house of worship for professionals, business travelers and tourists in San Francisco.

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