A dynamite bomb crumbled walls and devastated parts of The Temple in Atlanta on Oct. 12, 1958.
“The bombing was in retaliation for the outspoken activism of The Temple’s senior rabbi Jacob Rothschild,” according to The Temple’s website. Rothschild was an advocate for racial equality and desegregation.
White supremacists, calling themselves the “Confederate Underground,” made the bomb of 50 sticks of dynamite. The Temple’s website says that although the bomb created an equivalent of $750,000 today, there were no resulting injuries or deaths.
While the bomb created much damage and stirred up many emotions in the Atlanta area and Jewish community, The Temple saw an overwhelming response of support, according to its website.
The Georgia Encyclopedia website mentions that Atlanta mayor William B. Hartsfield, Atlanta Constitution editor Ralph McGill, and even U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower reached out to the community with support and encouragement and condemned the bombing.
Rabbi Rothschild’s Friday evening sermon after the bombing was titled, “And None Shall Make Them Afraid.” To this day, social justice is a large part of The Temple’s community outreach, keeping with Rothschild’s spirit of activism.