Jewish families in Wharton began meeting together for worship services about 1899. The congregation received its official charter in 1913 and was registered as Shearith Israel Synagogue. A synagogue building was erected on S. Rusk Street in 1921, and J. Keilin was the first rabbi. A cemetery was established on N. Alabama Rd. in 1937. A new synagogue in the shape of the shield of David was built on Old Lane City Rd. in 1956. The congregation continues to draw members from numerous towns and is a leading force in area civic and religious activities.