In the Beginning: 1855
Each week The American Israelite will print an item from the first years.
New Orleasn, La. — The Portuguese congregation continue to worship in their present school room, and we learn, has always a larger attendance of ladies than of gentleman. We hope to hear that after the contemplated new synagogue is erected, there will be more interest exhibited by the members.
The congregation have not secured a lot yet, but we hear they have one in view on St. Charles Street, which is a very excellent location.
The other congregation is still without a minister. They have reduced their dues from twenty-four dollars to twelve dollars per annum.
—January 19, 1855
150 YEARS AGO
Rev. Dr. Lilienthal has been re-appointed into the School Board of Cincinnati, in which he has served for thirteen years previously.
Dr. Gross, one of the Breslau graduates, was elected rabbi of Lundenberg, in Moravia.
The Catholic trustees of the public school of Neubau, near Vienna, resolved that henceforth no religious instruction shall be given in school The priest who was present at the debate then evaporated.
We are obliged to Messrs. Spinner and Dodge for interesting public documents. Our congressmen are so intensely partizan that they never sent us anything. Happily we have friends enough in the department to take care of us.
A Chaldean Story of the Deluge
Mr. George Smith, of the British Museum, lately read a paper before the British Archaeological Society, one a cuneiform inscription recently discovered by him in the museum containing an account of the deluge.
On discovering these documents, which were much mutilated, he searched over all the collections of fragments of inscriptions, consisting of several thousand smaller pieces, and ultimately recovered eighty fragments of these legends, by the aid of which he was enabled to restore nearly all the text of the description of the flood, and considerable portions of other legends. These tablets were originally at least twelve in number, forming one story or set of legends, the account of the flood being on the eleventh tablet.
The original text was very ancient, as its original composition could not be placed earlier than the seventeenth century, before the Christian Era, and it was, in all likelihood, very much older.
Editor’s Note: The tablet to which this news story refers is none other than the eleventh tablet of the Gilgamesh epic. Mr. Smith famously discovered the text amongst objects already held at the British Museum. The tablet was originally discovered by Hormuzd Rassam in 1853, who was excavating with Austen Henry Layard, a British archaeologist best known publicizing his work at Nineveh.
—January 17, 1873
125 YEARS AGO
The merchants and manufacturers of Moscow again petitioned the Russian government to let the Jews come to that holy city, as their absence is a ruination to the commerce and industry of that city. It takes a long time before the Russian government revokes one of is edits, however unjust and ruinous to the best interests it might be.
The police of Vienna discovered a secret conspiracy against the Emperor and the government of Austria. The plan was to capture the emperor and to set up a new government. Many of the leaders and among them many anti-Semites have been arrested. It is surmised that Dr. Lueger is among the conspirators. It is also surmised that the conspiracy was conducted by Russian agents. The situation is as threatening as it was in 1848 when emperor Ferdinand left the city and Prince Windischgraetz with the aid of the Croatians took possession of it, and restored law and order.
Mr. Jacob H. Shiff donated $1,000 last Thursday, to the New York City Library, the money to be devoted to the purchase of books relating to Semitic literature.
At Forth Smith, Ark., there were two M.E. churches and one Baptist church seriously damaged by the cyclone last week. Rabbi Max Moses and President Abe Mayor of the United Hebrew Temple, therefore, have offered the use of their place of worship, which escaped uninjured, to their Christian brethren, for worship on Sundays and Wednesday evenings.
— January 20, 1898
100 YEARS AGO
The Jewish population of Philadelphia is estimated to be about 230,000.
Two California cities have Jewish mayors, namely: Modesto, Sol. P. Elias, and Sacramento, the State Capital, Albert Elkus.
Jews constitute little less than one per cent of the population o the district of Damascus, census results indicate. The total population is 609,127, the Jews numbering 6,039.
Lieutenant Dansky, who was associated with the Landau murder, has been sentenced at Budapest to six weeks’ imprisonment, and his associates, Liskovsky and Gonda, to two weeks. They were all released in view of their detention prior to the trial.
The Rothschild Ancestral House in Frankfort-am-Main built in the old Frankfort Ghetto after the fire of 1796, has been opened as a museum of Jewish antiquities. The stately building where the banking firm of M.A. Rothschild & Sons had its premises until it was closed in 1901 has been transferred to the Jewish community of Frankfort-amMain, which placed the new museum on the first floor.
General Ronald Storrs, Governor of Jerusalem since the British occupation of Palestine will visit the United States after spending a few weeks in England ,whither he is proceeding on a holiday. Governor Storrs, often referred to as the modern Pontius Pilate, is founder and Chairman of the pro-Jerusalem Society, a non-sectarian body of leading citizens interested in preserving and enhancing the beauty of the Holy City. He will endeavor to interest Americans in this Society. — (JTA).
— January 18, 1923
75 YEARS AGO
Great Archaeological Opportunities Still Are Available in Palestine, Says President Glueck of Hebrew Union College in Nationwide Broadcast
“Despite all the archaeological work done in the past, one may say that the ancient soil of Palestine has hardly been scratched,” Dr. Nelson Glueck, president of Hebrew Union College and one of the world’s leading archaeologists, said here in a broadcast as guest speaker on the “World Front” program over WLW (NBC) Sunday, Jan. 11th.
Dr. Glueck is the former director of the American School for Oriental Research and internationally famed as educator, writer, and scientist.
"There is an infinite amount of new archaeological work for us to do, unless we succeed in destroying our own civilization — in which case, of course, we would be providing field-materials for future archaeologists,” Dr. Glueck said.
“The point of diminishing returns in excavations in the Holy Land has not only not been achieved, but seems remoter than when archaeological work was first started. There are thousand of sites in Palestine and Transjordan worthy of excavation, but hardly more than a baker's dozen have been completely or partly excavated.
I have discovered and mapped over 1,000 ancient sites in Transjordan and the Jordan Valley, and have excavated only two of them, each time discovering such wealth of new materials, that it becomes urgently necessary to undertake many more excavations to help solve the problems which these two have partly answered and the new problem the have posed.”
Clue No. 2 is Announced in Miss Shush Contest for Leap Year Carnival
This week, Clue No. 2 is announced in the “Miss Shush” contest, sponsored by the Council of Jewish Women in connection with its leap year carnival on Sunday, Feb. 29th, beginning at 5 p.m., at the Hotel Alms.
Readers are urged to see Clue No. 2 in this weeks edition of this publication. Each entrant in this contest is required to bring a large bundle of merchandise and contribution, which entitle the donor to an evening of fun and refreshments, the committee announces.
— January 15, 1948
50 YEARS AGO
Mr. and Mrs. Sanely M. Harrison of Piqua, Ohio, announce the forthcoming Bar Mitzvah of their son, Bert David, Saturday, January 27th, at 9 a.m., at Beth Abraham Synagogue on Sale Avenue in Dayton.
Relatives and Friends are cordially invited to worship with the family and attend the kiddush following services.
Bert is the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. I. Charles Elman of Cincinnati and Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Harrison of Piqua.
Mr. and Mrs. Tom J. Heldman, 1308 Paddock Hills Avenue, announce the Bar Mitzvah of their son, Jay, on Saturday, Jan. 27, at Rockdale Temple.
Friends and relatives are cordially invited to worship with the family and attend the Kids following services.
—January 18, 1973
25 YEARS AGO
North Avondale Synagogue closes; chavurah to continue
By Phyllis Singer
The last Jewish institution in the Avondale area — North Avondale Synagogue, Had Charutzim Tifereth Israel Congregation - has closed its doors.
The small Orthodox synagogue, which can trace its roots to the late 19th century, stopped holding regal Shabbat services mid-November. The board voted Jan. 11 to close and sell the building at 3870 Reading Road.
In a letter to members and friends last week, Paul Nathan, the congregation’s president, said “the board deeply regrets” closing the building, but that “massive repairs needed to maintain the building coupled with a dwindling congregation made the decision necessary.”
However, the congregation will continue as a chavurah, a small community group, meeting monthly for Shabbat services in people’s homes, with members of the congregation leading services.
In addition, the congregation's cemetery in Covedale will continue to be maintained and operated.
According to Nathan, the congregation is really no longer viable and able to sustain the cost of maintaining the building and employing a part-time rabbi for Shabbat services.
— January 22, 1998
10 YEARS AGO
Students explore Jewish Cincinnati, take bus tour of historic sites
Over 50 high school students celebrated their return from a summer in Israel by gaining a newfound appreciation of Cincinnati’s Jewish community, highlighted by a bus tour of some of Cincinnati’s historic Jewish sites.
On Dec. 2, 2012, 57 students in the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati’s “Israel HERE” program participated in a bus tour of historic Jewish Cincinnati. The tour was led by Dr. Gary P. Zola, Executive Director of The Jacob Marcus Rader Center of the American Jewish Archives, and fifth-year rabbinical student Ari Lorge. Highlights of the tour included Plum Street Temple, Chestnut Street Cemetery, the original Adath Israel and Wise Temple on Reading Road and the old JCC building.
“My favorite site was Plum Street Temple,” said Kal Heyn. “I have always heard about it, and it was cool to see all of the history in that building.”
Through the tour, the students started to understand the significance of Cincinnati in the history of the Jewish people in America and the importance of sustaining and growing the local community.
—January 17, 2013