Sunday, September 21, 2008

Jewish Knowledge (4)

Topic: Jewish Tid-Bits Manhattan #2

In 1825, the more rcently arrived Ashkenazim, finding the Sephardic ritual unsuited to their needs, seceded from Shearith Israel and formed Congregation B'nai Jeshurun. Then followed a series of secessions. In 1828, a number of Jews left B'nai Jeshurun to organize the Anshe Chesed synagogue. Seven years later Congregation Ohabey Zedekwas created. In 1839, some members of both B'nai Jeshurun and Anshe Chesed joined forces to form Shaarey Zedek. That same year, a group of German Jews left Anshe Chesed to round Shaarey Hashamayim, and in 1842, another body of German Jews, withdrawing from the same synagogue, organized Rodeph Sholom. The next year, Beth Israel was formed by secessionists from Shaarey Zedek. Not long afterward, the founders of B'nai Jeshurun withdrew and formed Shaarey Tefila (now the West End Synagogue).

By 1860, there were said to be 27 synagogues in New York. At this time, about half of the city's Jewish population was German, a third was Polish in origina, with the remaining sixth consisting of native Jews and those born in Bohemia, Russia, Holland, England, France, Galicia and other countries.

The immigrants formed a host of mutual aid societies, and these in turn led to the organization of lodges and fraternal orders. The Independent Order B'nai B'rith was founded in 1843 at Sinsheimer's cafe, 60 Essex Street, by a group of 12 men led by Henry Jones. Seven of these may also have been among the founders of the Cultus Verein which led to the formation of Temple Emanu-El in 1845. In 1849, the Independent order Free Sons of Israel was organized, possibly by some former members of B'nai B'rith. A decade later, the Brith Abraham arose, and in 1860, the Kesher Shel Barzel (Iron Knot) was founded.

This period also saw the birth of English-Jewish and German-Jewish journalism in the U.S. The first jewish periodical in the U.S. was THE JEW, published in New York by Solomon H. Jackson, from 1823 to 1825, as a counter-measure against Christian missionary activity. The next newspaper published for New York's Jews was a German weekly, Israel's Herold, edited by Isidor Bush. It lasted only a few months. This was followed by an English-Jewish weekly. The Asmonean, published by Robert Lyon, an English Jew. Durings its existence, from 1849 to 1858. The Asmonean built up a fairly substantial following and became the first really successful English-Jewish weekly in America. (28)

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