Home page The Occident and American Jewish Advocate Jews in the Civil War Jews in the Wild West History of Palestine The Occident Virtual Library


News Items

Philadelphia.—We learn that at the late election, during Passover, Mr. Samuel Adler was elected President of the German Congregation Rodef Sholem, Mr. Joseph Einstein was chosen Vice-President, <<104>> and Mr. Benjamin Grünewald, Treasurer. The Synagogue of this congregation was filled to overflowing on the late holydays, and the attendance showed certainly evidences of a material increase, in great contrast with the state existing not ten years ago.

New Haven, Conn.—We see it stated in the papers, that the Israelites of this place are about building a Synagogue, to cost about ten thousand dollars. They have just elected the Rev. Leopold Sternheimer, Hazan and Teacher. We rejoice to chronicle this appointment, and have no doubt that Mr. S. will strive to do full justice to his constituents. He will enter on the discharge of his duties about the first of May.

New York.—We find an advertisement in the Asmonean, from which it appears that Dr. Simeon Abrahams, in connexion with Dr. M. Michaelis, Dr. M. Danziger, and Dr. S. Hirsch, aided by Mr. A. S. Van Praag, surgeon-dentist, and Mr. M. L. M. Peixotto as chemist and apothecary, will open a dispensary, for the gratuitous medical and surgical treatment of sick and destitute Israelites, in the month of May, at No. 31 Bleecker Street. Indigent married females, properly recommended, will be provided with physicians to attend them at their own residences. The dispensary will be open for relief on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday afternoons, from two till four o'clock. We are pleased to lay this act of charity before our readers, and we are sure that they will agree with us in thinking that the benevolent gentlemen who have started the project could not be engaged in a more laudable undertaking, which, if properly carried out, will go a great way toward rendering a general hospital almost superfluous. We shall be happy to publish, from time to time, the statistics of the Dispensary, if the above gentlemen will communicate them to us; since such “charity exalteth our nation.”

Boston, Mass.—The consecration took place agreeably to the announcement in our last. In lieu of a manuscript account of the proceedings, we received two newspapers, evidently intended for us to copy, and hence we comply with the understood request. The Boston Herald, of March 27th, has the following:

Consecration of the Jewish Synagogue, March 26th.—The new Synagogue on Warren Street was consecrated yesterday afternoon, with appropriate exercises, in accordance with the custom of the Jewish Church. The Synagogue is a modest edifice, and will seat from three to four hundred people. The altar contains the tent which holds the sacred scrolls of the law, a desk fronting the congregation, and one <<105>> fronting the tent. The folds of the tent are of beautiful crimson silk damask, tastefully fringed. The desks are covered with velvet. On either side were placed six candlesticks, with candles, each of which was brilliantly lighted.

“The body of the Synagogue was occupied by the male portion of the audience, who remained covered during the services. The galleries were filled with the fair daughters of Israel, presenting a splendid galaxy of beauty, and we must not omit to state that a variety of beautiful flowers ornamented the top of the tent, and were interspersed along the galleries.

“About half-past three the services commenced, as follows: Rev. Dr. M. J. Raphall, Moses Ehrlich, Alexander S. Saroni, L. Oudkerk, Charles Heineman, B. Fox, A. Prince, and J. Börnstein, Trustees, appeared in the vestibule of the Synagogue. They exclaimed:

“ ‘Open unto us the Gates of Righteousness, we will enter them and praise the Lord!’

“The door was then opened, and the bearers of the sacred scrolls entered, saying :

“ ‘How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob! thy tabernacles, O Israel!’ ” O Lord! I have ever loved the habitation of thine house, and the dwelling-place of thy glory!

“ ‘We will come into thy tabernacles, and worship at thy foot-stool.’ ” The reader in the altar, as the bearers of the sacred scrolls approached, said :

“ ‘Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, into His courts with praise. Come, let us worship and bow down; let us bend the knee before the Lord our Maker. Worship the Lord with gladness, come into his presence with exulting song.’

“The procession then proceeded and the choristers chanted:

“ ‘Blessed be he who cometh in the name of the Lord; we bless you from the house of the Lord.’

“The bearers of the scrolls then proceeded to pass around the Syna­gogue seven times, during which ceremony, the readers from the desk, the choristers, and the congregation, chanted the XCIst, XXXth, XXIVth, LXXXIVth, CXXIId, CXXXIId, and Cth Psalms. The chanting of the above was most harmonious and beautiful. After the seventh circuit the XXIXth Psalm was chanted, during which the sacred scrolls were placed in the ark.

“Rev. Dr. M. J. Raphall next preached the sermon of consecration in English;—all the previous ceremonies were in Hebrew. The first part of the discourse was devoted to the building of the Synagogue and its <<106>> uses, and the remainder to the duties of the Children of Israel. The eloquent speaker urged upon his hearers the importance of prayer and keeping their daily works in accordance with their religion, which was embodied in three short sentences—to love mercy, do justice, and walk humbly before God.

“The reverend gentleman, after the sermon, offered prayers for the President and all those in authority. The services were then closed by the chorus ‘Hallelujah.’

“The Synagogue, we understand, has been built by subscription, and some of our merchants have subscribed towards this object. Among the names on the list were those of Wilkinson, Stetson & Co., Newton, Eaton & Co., J. W. Blodget & Co., Henry Codman, and many other Christian gentlemen. We noticed among the audience, clergymen of many different denominations—Dr. Frothingham, Dr. Putnam, Dr. Gannett, Rev. Theo. Parker, Rev. H. M. Dexter, Rev. Mr. Skinner, also his Honour the Mayor and several of the aldermen—Dr. Z. B. Adams, Dr. Cummings, Solomon Wildes, and G. W. Lewis, Esqs., and many others well known for their devotion to all Christian and other churches. To-day being the Jewish Sabbath, there will be services in the Synagogue this morning at ten o’clock.”

A more particular description of the building is thus given, in the Daily Journal of the same date :

“Before speaking of the services, a word or two descriptive of the building itself may not be uninteresting to our readers. Its location, as we before remarked, is on Warren Street , about half way between Eliot and Tremont Streets. The lot upon which it stands is thirty-five feet front by seventy-five deep. The building itself is forty-six by thirty feet. It ranges east and west. In the rear of the place of worship is a room used as a school-room, in which every afternoon the children of the congregation are instructed in the Hebrew and German languages. Over this is another room, where the Trustees, who manage the affairs of the congregation, hold their meetings. There are about thirty children who attend this school regularly.”

And the same paper speaks thus of Dr. Raphall’s sermon:

“Rev. Dr. Raphall then took the desk in front of the Ark, and delivered the consecration sermon. His text, which he gave first in Hebrew and then in English, was the Passage in Psalms—‘How lovely are thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts,’ &c. After alluding to the pleasurable emotions excited in his own breast and in those of the congregation by the occasion which had brought them together, and dwelling at some length upon the point that they were the special <<107>> witnesses for God, and that to them, as the children of Abraham, was entrusted the keeping of the law, which he said they had done through evil as well as good repute, he asked, what is the meaning of the command, ‘They shall prepare me a sanctuary,’ and the promise, ‘I will dwell with them?’ Second: what is the duty of the Israelite while he is in the sacred building? And third: what are his duties before he enters and after he leaves the sanctuary? These three questions he considered at length. The answer to the first he found in the state of mind of the Israelites when they were led forth from bondage, as seen in their inquiries when obstacles met them, ‘Is God indeed in the midst of us?’ and in answer to which the command came to build the sanctuary, that they might know that He was with them. Upon this sanctuary the pillar of cloud rested by day and the pillar of fire by night. The Temple of Israel, he said, and the worship of that Temple are the only Temple and the only worship which have ever been sanctioned by the direct approval and blessing of Heaven.

“The duty of the Israelite in the Sanctuary was to reflect, meditate, and pray, to banish every unworthy thought from the heart, and to give it up entirely to the worship of God. His duty before coming into the Synagogue and after leaving it should be in conformity with his actions while there. He should ‘do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly before God;’ and should ‘have God continually before his eyes.’ He closed by imploring the Divine blessing upon the building, the congregation, and all assembled there, and also upon our country and its rulers.”

We likewise insert, as requested, the subjoined proceedings, which were sent us by the secretary, without a word of comment; they, however, speak for themselves:

“At a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Congregation ‘Ohabei Shalom,’ held at their room, on the 31st March, 1852, on motion of Mr. J. Bornstein, seconded by Mr. L. Oudkerk, the following resolutions were unanimously adopted:

“Resolved, That the grateful thanks of the Congregation are due, and are hereby tendered to the Trustees of the Congregation B’nai Jeshurun of New York, for their kindness, in allowing their clergy leave of absence to attend to the consecration of our new Synagogue, and thus depriving themselves, on the Sabbath, of their valuable services.

“Resolved, That we feel ourselves under great obligation to the Trustees of the Congregation B’nai Jeshurun of New York, for the loan of a Sepher Torah kindly sent to us for the same occasion.

“Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions, signed by the President and Secretary of this Board, be forwarded to the Trustees of the Con<<108>>gregation ‘B’nai Jeshurun,’ and published in the Asmonean and Occident.

M. Ehrlich, Pres. O. S.
B. Wurmser, Secretary.
Boston, March 31, 1852.”

ittsburg , PA.—We found here a considerable number of Jewish families; they have a congregational union, with a Hazan and Shochet; but we have not yet obtained the promised particulars of their affairs. Mr. C. D. Arnsthal is the Parnass of the regular Kahal, and Rev. Mr. Sulzbach is Hazan. We had no time to visit the place of worship, as we stayed only a little better than one day, and did not meet Mr. Sulzbach. We regretted to learn that a new body had lately organized, because the congregation has no control over the burying ground, which originally belonged to a charitable society, the first Jewish institution established at Pittsburg, and which still continues to hold the disposal of the same. We did not understand that the difficulty in the way of a union is insurmountable ; and we rather think that a little prudence would soon reconcile all, and the difficulties could thus be arranged. It seems, indeed, deplorable that in all congregations there is more or less spirit of discord prevailing, and this shows the necessity of our having a superior authority in a college of Rabbins and delegates, to whom all little disputes may be referred, before they degenerate into divisions or lawsuits.—We shall speak more at length on this topic hereafter.—Will our friends at Pittsburg favour us with the particulars of their Synagogue affairs ?

heeling, Va. —We were only a few hours in this place, during part of a very inclement day. The President of the congregation was , Mr. S. I. Block, but they had neither Hazan nor Shochet, if we understood correctly. We hope that before this, this defect has been supplied: We failed to obtain any extensive information, which we hope to be favoured with hereafter, by some of our friends.

Vicksburg, Natchez, Woodville, and Clinton, Mississippi, have all organized congregations; but we were not able to stop at any one of them, and have not succeeded in obtaining any reliable information of Jewish affairs in these places. Will not our friends in New Orleans favour us with such statistics as may be accessible to them? It is surely worth the trouble to prepare at once correct materials for a future history of American Israelites, which, if not. at once recorded, will probably be forgotten for ever; and no means than the pages of a work like ours, are better calculated to serve as a vehicle for future <<109>> reference. We hope that our correspondents will bear this in mind, and supply us with whatever details come to their knowledge.

New Orleans.—We arrived at this city before daylight, on the 10th of January. Jewish affairs have progressed somewhat since our first visit, two years ago. We attended, on Sabbath Vayechee, at Mr. Nathan’s Synagogue, and he took the opportunity of the weekly section's speaking of the death of the patriarch Jacob, of whom it is said, “he was gathered to his people,” to descant on the immortality of the soul, as departure from earthly life is termed “a being gathered to his people,” as it were the returning home after a long separation, to those who had been dear; and this term would surely not be employed by the sacred writers, if death were a final extinction of the vital spark. We found that both the Portuguese and German congregations had established Hebrew schools, for gratuitous instruction of all classes, under the general superintendence of the Rev. Messrs. Nathan and Gutheim. We think that instruction is imparted three times a week, at least in Mr. N.’s institution, on Sunday morning, and Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Mr. Nathan’s assistants are Rev. Dr. Kohlmeyer, Miss Hart and Mr. Jones, who we understand receive a salary. We did not learn the names of Mr. Gutheim's associates. We had the time but once of visiting Mr. N.’s school, (on the 18th of January), and were truly gratified at the rapid progress the scholars had made in Hebrew reading and religious knowledge. We deeply regret that our stay at New Orleans was too short to convince ourself, by a personal examination, of the good effected by the school of Mr. Gutheim, which we doubt not fully equals the other, if we may judge at all from the known character of this gentleman, and his capacity to impart information. We spoke, by invitation of the minister and Parnass (Mr. G. Kursheedt), in the Synagogue Nefuzote Yehudah, on the 17th, Sabbath Shemoth; we gave the address to our readers in our last number; and it was the only one we had the least opportunity of preparing during our late journey. We received an invitation, after having accepted Mr. Nathan’s, to speak in Mr. Gutheim’s Synagogue; but want of time, as we were compelled to leave before another Sabbath, forced us to decline; but we hope some future day to make use of this kind offer of the pulpit of the Congregation Shangaray Chassed. We are truly gratified to announce, in this connexion, that Mr. Gutheim was duly re-elected, for a period of two years, at the expiration of his past term; without any solicitation on his part; and this is the proper manner of treating a faithful public servant, to honour him with the appointment <<110>> which is his just due, without demanding of him that he should ask it as a suppliant. We trust that the progress of enlightenment will at last teach all public bodies, that the best method of securing the best talent, is to treat those that possess it in a manner that they will feel their dignity as men, and have cause to be attached through mutual kindness and good-will to their congregations. On the 1st of November, the following officers were also elected: ­John Marks, President; M. Goldsmith, Vice-President; L. Goldsmith, Treasurer; I. Hart, Secretary; G. G. Levi, B. Cahn, and Joseph Dreyfous, Trustees. We had hoped long before this to receive detailed reports of affairs in this city, but they have not yet come to hand. We visited, on Friday evening, the 16th of January, the new Syna­gogue Shangaray Chassed, in Rampart Street, and were truly delighted at the beauty and general neatness of all its appointments, and felt an inward sensation of gratitude that two of the best buildings in that city should be devoted to the worship of the God of Israel; and all we have to hope for in this respect is, that the religious conduct of the people may correspond with the beauty of their places of worship, and the talents of the ministers who officiate therein.

Lafayette, La.—The congregation of this place, now a part of New Orleans, has not increased as much as we hoped that it would. They have, however, a new and better location for a Synagogue, on the second floor of a building in Tchoupitoulas Street, corner of Seventh, near the Levee. We were present at the annual election, on the 18th of January, when the following officers were elected:—Abraham De Young, President; Theodore Danziger, Vice-President; M. Cauffman, Secretary; Henry Kauffman, Treasurer; B. Goldberg, D. Chan, and Jacob Salm, Trustees. The congregation is now two years old, and numbers thirty members. We would merely remark here, that if things are prudently managed, and in a spirit of conciliation, this little body will soon become an important congregation; but peace is the main thing needed.

Mobile, Alabama.—We arrived at Mobile on Friday morning, the 23d of January, and found that the congregation had considerably increased during the past two years. We were invited by the President to address the people on the next day, Sabbath Va-ayra, which we did from Exodus vi. 3-8, on the manner of the divine manifestation, as witnessed in the redemption from Egypt, and the consequent duty of Israelites to maintain their faith, which is based on the acknowledgment of the sole existence of the Lord Eternal, and the necessity to <<111>> maintain this standard of belief and action, in freedom no less than bondage, seeing that it was to a people liberated from earthly servitude, that the Lord made known his laws.—We have learned since our return that the congregation purchased, about the first of February, the Hall of the Musical Association, which they are about fitting up as a Synagogue. The building, we understand, was originally erected for a Unitarian church, and is roomy enough to accommodate a much larger population than is now in Mobile; but with the constantly growing importance of the place, there is no doubt that many more Israelites will make it their permanent residence. We invite attention to the advertisement for a minister and teacher in our Advertiser; the terms are decidedly liberal, and will, we trust, secure the people a worthy representative. We insert the subjoined by request of the congregation:

At a meeting of the congregation Shangarai Shamaim, at Mobile, the following resolution passed unanimously:

“Resolved, That the thanks of the congregation are due, and are hereby tendered to the Rev. Isaac Leeser, for hisinteresting and elo­quent lecture, delivered before the congregation on Sabbath, Shebat, 3d, 5612.

" Resolved, That the Secretary be instructed to forward a copy of the above resolution to the editors of the ‘Asmonean’ and ‘Occident,’ for publication."

By order of the President.
H. M. Cohen, Sec’ry.

Montgomery, Alabama.—There exist here two charitable societies and one congregation; but we regretted to find that they had not yet elected a Hazan and Shochet, though there was every prospect that they would seek to supply themselves during this spring; and we entreat our numerous readers in Montgomery, that they will not rest till they have secured holiness of the household, and a well-regulated stated public worship. They will, to a surety, soon find themselves amply compensated for any sacrifices they may have to make in the premises. We think that a competent individual; removing to the capital of Alabama, would be kindly received, if no person has yet been engaged.—The congregation at Claiborne, organized some years ago, is yet in existence; but we had no time to stop there. Many Israelites are also scattered in other parts of the State, at Selma, Wetumpka, Tuscumbia, and other minor points; and if once the railroad connexions are completed, we should not be surprised to find in ten years as many congregations established. This we should rejoice at, as it would tend to draw away many, now living with straitened means, <<112>> from the overcrowded cities of New York and Baltimore. Healthy country towns in the South and West afford a much better field for industrial pursuits of every kind, than old and populous cities, where it requires wealth to commence any respectable pursuit.

P. S. Since the above was written, we have learned that the Rev. E. Marcuson is now residing at Montgomery, no doubt in an official capacity.

Atlanta, Georgia.—The next place where we spent the Sabbath, was at Atlanta; there is, as yet, no congregational union in this place, although a few ladies and gentlemen assembled at the house of Mr. Brady, for prayers. If our advice would avail, we would recommend our friends of Griffin, Newnan, Athens, Marietta, and Atlanta, to form a union, to have at least a Shochet in common, and meet, at all events, on the holydays for public worship. A little exertion, we are confident, would render the execution of this project much easier than is generally considered possible.

Augusta, Georgia.—We arrived in Augusta on the morning of the 2d of February, and were received at the railroad station by Mr. Isaac Mayer, the President of the congregation, who took us hospitably to his house. About ten o’clock, a committee of the Kahal Benai Israel did us the honour to welcome us to their city. In consequence of the conversation which ensued, and our promise to the President last year to address the people, should we visit Augusta, we delivered a sermon on the evening of Tuesday, the 3d February, as we could not comply with the invitation to stay over the Sabbath. The Synagogue is on the corner of Green and Jackson Street, and is rented by the congregation; it was formerly a Unitarian church, if we understood correctly. The people deserve a great degree of credit for the zeal they have manifested since their organization, about four years ago; and they cannot fail of succeeding in their laudable efforts to plant religion firmly among them, if they can obtain a suitable person to be their minister. The text of our address was from Exodus xiv. 31, and we treated the general idea of our religion as based on a belief in one sole God and Saviour, and the duties which we owe to Him as our Sovereign and Legislator. We have been requested to write out our remarks, but have, as yet, not had the time to do so; but we shall comply with the wishes of our friends to recall as far as possible what we spoke, without any preparation. We will in our next give place to the proceedings, sent us since our return home, as our room does not permit us to do so now.