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Louisville Congregation


We have been requested by the President of the Louisville Congregation to spread the following before the public, in justice to the Rev. <<323>>Mr. Gotthelf, who has for the past two years given satisfaction to the people as their minister. Comment of ours is unnecessary.

To the Editor of The Occident

Dear Sir:—You will kindly excuse me for trespassing on your valuable time, and, in justice to the parties concerned, give insertion to the following remarks, with perfect liberty to abridge in words, on retaining the substance.

In the Occident of this month, which I have just received, you make an apology for an article published in some former number concerning the Rev. H. A. Henry, then of Cincinnati. No doubt, by doing so, you were guided by the noble desire to do a just duty to Mr. H. But now let us view the other side of the picture. Before beginning, I must declare firmly that I have no ill-feeling whatever against that gentleman, and that the love of truth, and the dislike of all unfair, underhanded actions only induces me to make the following statement.

About two years ago, when the Rev. H. A. Henry arrived from London, it was, as I believe, understood by that gentleman and the congregation of this city that he should fill the then vacant office of חזן, he being recommended as qualified for the same; but when he got to Cincinnati, he found that “there were two strings to his bow,” as an election for the non-vacant office of חזן in that city was also going on, and he remained there to await the result. In the mean time, the congregation here procured the services of the Rev. B. H. Gotthelf, then חזן in Philadelphia, and Mr. H. was elected in Cincinnati. About six months afterwards, Mr. H. visited this city; and, obtaining permission from S. Ullman Esq., our late Parnass, as also from our חזן, read the service, and delivered a lecture in the Synagogue, in consequence of which a private committee of some of our members presented him with a vote of thanks, which resolutions appeared both in the Asmonean and your valuable magazine. It is proper for me to remark here, that, in the lecture delivered by Mr. H. in the Synagogue on that occasion, he declared having not the slightest intention of ever becoming a candidate for the office then and yet held by Mr. Gotthelf, which remark was received by his audience with great satisfaction, as a good many entertained some doubts of his sincerity regarding this point. A few months afterwards, the gentleman made his appearance again in this city, canvassing to obtain a private school, and, I suppose, for a non-vacant office as lecturer. I say non-vacant office as lecturer, because there is not, and never was any office of such a denomination in existence in this congregation, as we engaged in the person of our חזן, our lecturer also; but respecting a school, I believe his services would have been very acceptable, in consequence of which his employers in this city waited most impatiently for his arrival at the appointed time; but Mr. H. did not come to attend to his school.

Since that time we did not hear anything farther of that gentleman concerning us, until last Monday, 4th inst, when Mr. H. made his appearance again in this city, and canvassed most vigorously among the majority of the members of this congregation, soliciting their support at the coming election for חזן, promising them, at the same time, that, if elected, he would commence a good school. Whether Mr. H. is dissatisfied with his congregation, or his congregation with him, is not for us just now to discuss; suffice it to say, that he has come here with the avowed purpose to commit that very wrong you, Mr. Editor, apologise for —; as, although an election for חזן every year is constitutional with us still the office of the same is not declared vacant; and, in justice to Mr. Gotthelf and his friends elsewhere, I may add, that a large majority of his congregation did never <<324>>entertain a thought of change in his office, and that he has the good-will and esteem of all his congregators.

Now, Mr. Editor, you may draw your own conclusions; and I will only repeat what I myself and a great many others told Mr. Henry openly, that we must utterly disapprove of such conduct, and that Mr. H. has no earthly chance to be elected.

Yours, respectfully,
President K. K. Adas Israel
Louisville, Ky, 10th August, 5611 (1851).