|Vol. V, No. 7
Tishry 5608, October 1847
Philadelphia. Consecration or the Synagogue Rodef Sholum.—On Wednesday, the 8th of September, the 27th of Elul, the interesting ceremony which we announced in our last, took place, with all the solemnity which is usually observed on such occasions. The crowd in attendance was very large, and nearly every seat, and many temporary ones had been prepared for the day, was occupied; and we observed several clergymen and other respectable Christian citizens among those present. The usual ceremonies have been so often described by us, that there is no need for our going into particulars of opening the door, the circuits, &c.; enough that with some slight variation, which is always the case, the service was nearly identical with the one at the consecration of the new Synagogue in New York, The officiating ministers, besides ourself, were the Rev. Naphthali Kahn, the Hazan of the congregation; and the Rev. Gabriel Pappé, of the Congregation Beth Israel. The music for the occasion was composed, or where not original, arranged by Mr. Samuel Ehrlich, a talented Jewish musician, a Bavarian by birth, and we only express the general opinion when we say that parts of it were really beautiful. Mr. Ehrlich had a difficult task to train the choir, and he deserves the thanks of the congregation for the manner in which he performed the duty thus devolving upon him. We do not like to find fault; but as it will not do to praise every thing, we must express our regret that. some of the instrumental pieces, for instance that performed during the collection, were too little of a devotional character, entirely too loud. We must at the same time state that particularly one of the choruses, the לך יי הגדולה, was beautifully composed and elegantly executed, and it deserves to be published as a fine specimen of Hebrew devotional music. We are but little acquainted with the art of sweet sounds, and have therefore to ask the <<369>>pardon of Mr. E. for pretending to criticise a subject in which he is so fine a master, and we so ignorant. The collection was made during an interval of the service; but the sums, written upon the subscription papers handed round before the commencement of the service were not read out aloud, a procedure which we highly approved of. We have received no official statement of the amount received, but understand that it was quite considerable. After the Sepharim had been returned to the Hechal, the Rev. Mr. Kahn read the prayers for the congregation, and the various branches of the government; after which he delivered a spirited address in the German language, on the subject of the consecration, and enforced in a powerful appeal the necessity of self-consecration, by a pursuit of the duties which the Almighty has given us, through which we can be sanctified and justified in his presence. After the learned divine had concluded, a portion of Psalm 111 was sung with much effect. This piece is also the work of Mr. Ehrlich; and when this last portion of the consecration service was finished, we delivered an address in English, in compliance with a request of the committee of arrangement. Mr. Pappé then chaunted Yigdal, after which he read the evening service, when the assembly dispersed, highly gratified with a ceremony which lasted full three hours, from four to seven, P.M. The Synagogue is the largest in the city, and will contain in the main body at least five hundred persons, though the seats up now are only for about half of this number. The gallery, which extends on three sides, will hold about two hundred and fifty, with ease. There is a fine basement room, extending under the whole building, which will probably be used hereafter by the congregation as a school-room, a purpose for which it is now employed by the directors of the public schools, who have not yet vacated it, which is much to be regretted, as it has prevented the congregation from making all the alterations they at first contemplated.
Elections at Philadelphia.—The officers of the Congregation Mikveh Israel, elected for the current year, are, Abraham Hart, Parnass; J. A. Phillips, Mayer Arnold, Abm. S. Wolf, and Isaac J. Phillips, Adjuntas; Hyman Gratz, Gabay, and Elias P. Levy, Secretary.—The United Hebrew Beneficent Society held its annual meeting on Sunday, the 19th of September, and elected as officers for the current year: A. L. Hart, President; J. A. Phillips, Vice President; Jos. L. Moss, Treasurer; A. Davis, Secretary; and H. Van Beil, A. Hart, Isaac Leeser, A. S. Wolf, Samuel Hart, Marcus Cauffman, Mayer Arnold, and Julius Jacobs, Managers.—On the same day, David Pesoa was elected by the Board of the Fuel Society, President for the unexpired term of A. Davis, who resigned his post in consequence of expected absence <<370>>from the city during a great part of the winter, when the operations of the society are most required, to relieve many cases of distress. Mr. Davis has presided over this society from its commencement, now more than seven years, to the general satisfaction of the members; and after his resignation had been accepted, the Board passed a unanimous vote of thanks to him for the efficient services rendered both to the society and the poor, during so long a period. The vote was not merely a matter of course resolution; but one which responded to the feelings of Mr. Davis’s colleagues, who are well acquainted with his merits in the government of the interesting charity in question.
New York. Elm Street Congregation.—At the annual meeting of this body, held on the 29th of August, David Samson and Z. Bernstein were unanimously elected Trustees of Class No. III., (we think, to serve for three years,) and subsequently Asher Rosenblatt was elected Trustee of Class No. I., (to serve one year,) in the place of Abraham Mitchell, resigned. The election for Trustees terminated, David Samson was elected President for the ensuing year. Our correspondent mentions that there were nearly eighty votes polled, and no opposition was manifested to the gentlemen called to office in the above numerous congregation. This is certainly a gratifying state of things, which we trust may long continue, and produce the good results of a unity of action, so requisite in our public affairs. We also learn, informally, that the members mean to testify their respect to Mr. Mitchell, the late president, in some suitable manner.
Congregation Bnay Israel, of New York.—We learn that the gentlemen of this new congregation proceed with proper spirit to establish their Synagogue in a proper manner, and to promote the sacred cause of Education. Our readers will recollect that this society was but lately organized, and they have purchased already two Sepharim, all the necessary furniture for a Synagogue, and a burying ground, situated in Ninety-Fifth Street; besides which individuals are constantly making presents of one thing or the other, so that there is an abundant store of all requisite materials. Many of the members are anxiously endeavouring to induce others to a more strict observance of religion. And in order to become better acquainted with the practical duties of their faith, and the literature of their people, many young men have resolved to organize a society to effect this end, in conjunction with the school ראשית חכמה already established. We trust that so happy a commencement may produce the good fruits of righteousness, which legitimately follow on a firm resolve to learn what is right and to act up to such knowledge.
<<371>>Baltimore.—The new Synagogue consecrated two years ago is already too small for the Israelites of Baltimore, and they are about erecting another house of prayer, not far from the first. We learn that a lot one hundred feet by fifty has been purchased in the neighbourhood of Baltimore and Eden Street, and that it will not be long before active operations are commenced.
Charleston.—We call the attention of our readers to the consecration sermon of the Rev. Mr. Rosenfeld, delivered at the opening of the Synagogue Shearith Israel, on the 1st day of Elul. It must be borne in mind, that the persons who now worship in the new house, were driven from their former place of worship by the decision of the Court of Appeals, confirming the reform party in possession of all the property and buildings belonging to the old Beth Elohim Congregation. We do not now wish to discuss the merits of the case; as mur friends are sufficiently acquainted with them from many notices which the Occident has contained on the subject. Enough that many thought that they could not conscientiously worship with their former associates; and Mr. Rosenfeld’s words are well calculated to set forth the grievances under which they laboured, whilst they contain exhortations to righteousness, and prayerful appeals to the Deity in all occurrences and trials of life. May they sink deeply into all hearts.—We regret to be reminded that several typographical errors have crept in the address, which our readers will please to correct. Page 332, line 7, after “swear” add “There are two ways or serving the Lord,” 1st. In, &c.; page 333, line 29, read “The Lord thy God shalt thou fear, Him shalt thou serve; what is meant by service? nothing but the service of the heart.” Page 334, line 6, for “is to be espoused,” read “is to be expounded.”
We call the earnest attention of our readers to the school which Mr. E. Block, now of Baltimore, contemplates opening in New York. Mr. B. is an old friend of ours, and there is no man among us, who possesses more general and classical knowledge, and whose manners are more calculated to win the affection of his pupils. We are confident that whatever Mr. B. promises will be faithfully executed, and that the important task of opening a seminary of classical learning, combined with religious instruction, could not fall into abler hands. New York, from the number and wealth of its Jewish inhabitants, is precisely the spot where the attempt can best be made with hopes of success; and we trust that our friend may meet with the encouragement which will authorize him to commence operations at the earliest date.