Jews settled in Rhenen during the second half of the 17th century. Between 1663 and 1782, Jews operated the local lending bank. The Jewish population of Rhenen grew over the course of the 18th century; however, it is no longer known whether there was an organized Jewish community or synagogue in the town at the time.
In 1821, the Jewish community at Rhenen was designated as a Bijkerk or local community within the district of the Ringsynagoge or regional Jewish community at Veenendaal. Beginning in 1847, the Jews of Rhenen gathered for prayer in a private home on the Grutterstraat. Shortly after 1847, a synagogue was consecrated on the very same street. According to an inscription on its façade, the building was restored in 1867. For most of the nineteenth century, the Jews of Rhenen did not have a cemetery of their own but buried their dead in the Jewish cemetery at Wageningen. In 1891, the Rhenen community established a cemetery on the Domineesberg near the present-day Korenbloemstraat. Jews living in nearby Lienden also buried their dead at the cemetery.
Due to its declining membership, the independent Jewish community at Rhenen was dissolved in 1916 and merged into the Jewish community at Wageningen. Under the German occupation of the Netherlands during the Second World War, most of the Jews still residing in Rhenen were deported and murdered.
The Jewish population of Rhenen and surroundings:
The size of the Jewish community over time