Waller County Churches
Photo from the book ?Jewish Stars in Texas: Rabbis and Their Work,? TAMU Press, 1999. The synagogue was constructed in 1880 and used for Jewish worship services until 1939. It was named the Hempstead Hebrew Congregation, although many called it Heychal Chayim, a Hebrew name with dual meaning--Temple of Life or Heinrich's Tent. Rabbi Heinrich Schwarz, a German immigrant, was the synagogue's rabbi. The white clapboard building was constructed by the rabbi's brother, Sam Schwarz, and his son, Benno Schwarz. It was located in the large backyard behind Benno's home. Weekly worship continued until 1939. The synagogue was converted to rental housing, and its altar chairs presented to the Catholic parish church. Eventually, the building was moved or torn down; no one knows for certain. The Hempstead Torah, the parchment scrolls containing the Five Books of Moses, was brought from Germany by the rabbi. Today it is at Houston's Congregation Emanu El.