Rabbi Jimmy Kessler

Rabbi Jimmy Kessler is the founder of the Texas Jewish Historical Society, is the first native Texan to serve as rabbi of Congregation B’nai Israel in Galveston, Texas. Kessler first served as director of the Texas Hillel, which serves the students attending the University of Texas. While there, Kessler taught very popular courses in the Religious Studies programs at UT and served on several committees at the request of the University president. Based on his long interest in Texas Jewish history, Kessler founded the Texas Jewish Historical Society in 1980. Today the society has grown to more 750 members and has sponsored and supported research for scholars and students of Texas Jewish history. In 1976, he was called as rabbi of Congregation B’nai Israel in Galveston, Texas, serving them for five years. He returned as rabbi in 1989, and has led the congregation since then. Kessler’s strong dedication to education and youth has continued: he serves as campus minister to Jewish students at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB), and teaches philosophy at Galveston College. He also serves as Jewish chaplain for patients at UTMB’s hospitals.