Founded in 1861, Temple Emanuel is the oldest, continuously active Jewish congregation in Iowa. A Reform congregation, Temple Emanuel operates a religious school, offers adult classes in topics such as Hebrew and Judaism, and is actively involved social justice work in the community. Around 150 families currently belong to the temple.
The first Jews (from Germany) arrived in Davenport in the 1830s and 1840s. More arrived in the coming years which allowed them to form the congregation in 1861. Those that were there had already purchased land for a cemetery, which the congregation still owns. The congregation officially became a Reform temple in 1879. The congregation first met on the third floor of a building downtown for a few years before building the first temple in 1885. The second one, on 11th and Brady, was built in 1906. This one served the congregation until the current one was built in 1953.