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History of the Jews in Philadelphia

The Jews of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania can trace their history back to Colonial America. Jews have lived there since the arrival of William Penn in 1682.

Early history

Jewish traders were operating in southeastern Pennsylvania long before Penn. The first Jewish resident of Philadelphia on record was Jonas Aaron. His name appears in 1703 ("American Historical Register," April, 1895). Isaac Miranda, the first Jew in the English colonies to hold a judicial position, owned property in the town at an early date; he arrived in Philadelphia about 1710 and at once engaged in trade with the Indians. That there were several Jewish families in the city in 1734 as is proved by the fact that the German traveler Von Beck enumerates them among the religious sects of the town. One of the earlier inhabitants was Nathan Levy (1704-53), who applied in 1738 for a plot of ground to be used as a place of burial for his family. He obtained this grant September 25, 1740, and the plot was thenceforth known as the "Jews' burying-ground"; it was the first Jewish cemetery in the city, and was situated in Spruce street near Ninth street; it has been the property of the Congregation Mickvé Israel for more than a century.

David Franks (1720-94) was another prominent Jewish resident. He went to Philadelphia early in life and engaged in business with Nathan Levy, under the firm name of Levy & Franks, this being the first Jewish business-house in the city. Part of their business consisted of the importation of slaves. Along with Joseph Marks, Jewish merchants from Rhode Island, Jacob Rivera and Aaron Lopez, they brought in about 650 or over half the slaves that arrived in the region. In 1748, when The City Dancing Assembly, the city's most famous social organization, was founded, among the names on the subscription list were those of David Franks, Joseph Marks, and Samson Levy.

Historic Philadelphia synagogues

Mikveh Israel

Congregation Mikveh Israel, the first Jewish congregation in Philadelphia, had its beginnings about 1745 and is believed to have worshiped in a small house in Sterling Alley. In 1761, owing to the influx of Jews from Portugal, Spain and the West Indies, the question of building a synagogue was raised, but nothing was then accomplished in that direction. In 1773, when Bernard Gratz was parnas and Solomon Marache treasurer, a subscription was started "in order to support our holy worship and establish it on a more solid foundation." The number of Jewish residents in Philadelphia was suddenly increased at the outbreak of the American Revolution by the influx of Jewish patriots from New York, which had been captured by the British (Sept., 1776). The congregation removed from the house in Sterling Alley and then occupied quarters in Cherry Alley, between Third and Fourth streets.

The building in Cherry Alley, which had sufficed for the few families in the city, became inadequate, and steps were taken to secure a more commodious building. Gershom Mendes Seixas, who had fled from New York to Connecticut, was requested to act as the first rabbi of the reorganized congregation. The estimate for the new building was £600, and the subscription being inadequate, Haym Salomon, the banker and financial agent of the Continental Congress, agreed to pay one-fourth the cost. A lot was purchased in Cherry street, near Third street, and a suitable building erected. The governor of Pennsylvania and his official family were invited to attend the dedication ceremonies, which were held on September 13, 1782. At this time the congregation had over 100 members; its officers were Jonas Phillips (president), Michael Gratz, Solomon Marache, Solomon Myers Cohen, and Simon Nathan. On November 25, 1783, New York was evacuated by the British, and many of the members of the congregation returned to their former homes. The congregation also started Mikveh Israel Cemetery.

After Congregation Shearith Israel recalled the Rev. Gershom Mendez Seixas to New York, Congregation Mickvé Israel elected the Rev. Jacob Raphael Cohen in his stead. The latter had officiated as Chazzan of the Spanish and Portuguese synagogue in Montreal and had served in a like capacity in New York during the British occupation. He ministered to the Congregation Mickvé Israel until his death in Sept., 1811. As a result of the departure of its members, in 1788 the congregation encountered financial difficulties. A subscription list was started to meet the existing debts, and among those who contributed to it were Benjamin Franklin and David Rittenhouse. From this time on the congregation was ceaseless in its religious and charitable activities, and when Isaac Leeser's incumbency began, in 1829, it was, perhaps, the best-known synagogue in the United States. In 1815 Emanuel Nunes Carvalho was elected minister and continued in that capacity until his death in 1817; he was succeeded in 1824 by Abraham Israel Keys.

Congregation Rodeph Shalom

Congregation Rodeph Shalom was founded in 1795, and is the first Ashkenazic synagogue established in the Western Hemisphere. In the last decade of the eighteenth century, a small group of Orthodox Jews from Germany, Holland, and Poland formed a minyan to worship in a manner consistent with their shared religious background. At first, services were held in various locations in Olde Philadelphia. In 1866, the congregation built its first sanctuary. Frank Furness, considered the most talented and exciting Philadelphia architect of his time, designed a Moorish-style synagogue on Broad and Mt. Vernon Streets.

The congregation soon outgrew its building and replaced it with the current structure, completed in 1928. Inspired by the great synagogue of Florence, Italy, Rodeph Shalom is one of the only synagogues in this country that retains the Byzantine-Moorish style. It was designed by the firm of Simon and Simon, which built the Fidelity Building on Broad Street. The sanctuary seats 1,640 people below star burst skylights. Its stained glass windows are one of the few remaining collections from the renowned D'Ascenzo Studio. The majestic bronze-and-enamel doors of the Torah ark grace the bimah. The D'Ascenzo Studio also designed the sanctuary's walls, ceiling, and dome, along with the carpet and ornamentation. The Broad Street Foyer houses the Leon J. and Julia S. Obermayer Collection of Jewish ritual art. More than 500 ceremonial objects from around the world dating back to the 1700s are on display. The Philadelphia Jewish Museum gallery, dedicated to Jacob Gutman, sponsors three to four exhibits of contemporary Jewish art each year, and is open for public viewing.

Temple Keneseth Israel

The Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel was organized March 21, 1847. Its first rabbi was B. H. Gotthelf, who held services in a hall at No. 528 N. Second street. The Reform movement, which had originated in Germany, soon extended itself to America, and L. Naumberg, Solomon Deutsch, and David Einhorn (1861-66) furthered its progress in this congregation. The first marked change in the character of the liturgy took place in 1856. Samuel Hirsch succeeded to the rabbinate in 1866; he introduced many changes in the service. In 1887 Joseph Krauskopf was elected rabbi; and he has contributed much to the success and standing of this congregation. It was during his incumbency that the Congregation Keneseth Israel became the largest in Philadelphia; it had about 700 members in 1904. Its synagogue is situated in Broad Street, above Columbia avenue. In 1893 Joseph Leonard Levy was elected associate rabbi, but he resigned in 1902 to take up the position of rabbi at Pittsburg. The congregation supports a free public library and a reading-room.

Philadelphia's lost Egyptian-style synagogues

Philadelphia Jews built two of the very small number of synagogues ever constructed in the Egyptian Revival style, the 1824 Cherry Street synagogue, for Congregation Mikveh Israel, and the 1849 Crown Street synagogue, for congregation Beth Israel. Drawings of the buildings survive, although the buildings themselves no longer do.

Signers of non-importation resolutions

In 1765, the famous Non-Importation Resolutions were drawn up, and the names of many Jewish citizens are appended to it; by these resolutions, adopted October 25, 1765, the merchants and other citizens of Philadelphia agreed "not to have any goods shipped from Great Britain until after the repeal of the Stamp Act." The Jewish signers included Benjamin Levy, David Franks, Samson Levy, Hyman Levy, Jr., Mathias Bush, Moses Mordecai, Michael Gratz, and Barnard Gratz. The last two were brothers who had left Upper Silesia in Germany about 1755 and settled in Philadelphia. They and their children became well known in the annals of the city (see Gratz). In 1777, just after the outbreak of the Revolutionary war, the following Jews agreed to accept the colonial paper money sanctioned by the king in lieu of gold and silver: Solomon Aaron, Joseph Solomon Kohn, Solomon Marache, Moses Mordecai, Barnard Soliman, and David Franks. Of these, Moses Mordecai and David Franks had signed the Non-Importation Resolutions.

In the War of Independence

The Jews in Philadelphia took a prominent part in the War of Independence. David Franks was conspicuous for his loyalty to the British cause, being the English agent in charge of the prisoners; his daughter, Rebecca Franks, took part in the "Mischianza," the famous fête given in honor of General Howe during the British occupancy of Philadelphia. The majority of the Jews of the city, however, supported the American cause. Col. David Salisbury Franks was aide-de-camp to General Benedict Arnold at Philadelphia in 1779; Solomon Bush was major of the Pennsylvania militia; Col. Isaac Franks served with distinction in the war, as did Philip Moses, Russell and Benjamin Nones. Haym Solomon made loans to individuals in Congress, which were never repaid; his services as a financial agent during the war were invaluable. Another creditor of the Continental Congress was Aaron Levy, and his loans, like nearly all the others, were never fully repaid. At the close of the war the Jewish population of Philadelphia amounted to almost 500. When Washington was elected president of the United States the Congregation Mickvé Israel, together with the congregations of New York, Charleston, and Richmond, sent a congratulatory address, to which Washington replied (1790).

Although the majority of the early Jewish residents were of Portuguese or Spanish descent, some among them had emigrated from Germany and Poland. About the beginning of the nineteenth century, a number of Jews from the latter countries, finding the services of the Congregation Mickvé Israel unfamiliar to them, resolved to form a new congregation which would use the ritual to which they had been accustomed. On November 23, 1801, Leon van Amringe, Isaiah Nathan, Isaac Marks, Aaron Levi, Jr., Abraham Gumpert, and Abraham Moses took title to a plot of ground to be used as a place of burial for members of the newly formed congregation. On October 10, 1802, the "German Hebrews formed themselves into a society in the city and county of Philadelphia, which was denominated the 'Hebrew German Society Rodef Shalom'"; it was one of the earliest German Jewish congregations in America. The society was reorganized and chartered in 1812. Among the earlier rabbis were Wolf Benjamin, Jacob Lipman, Bernhard Illowy, Henry Vidaver, Moses Sulzbacher, and Moses Rau. In 1849 Jacob Frankel (1808-87) was elected Chazzan, and about this time the congregation grew in numbers and importance. Frankel acted as chaplain of hospitals during the Civil war. On September 8, 1847, when Naphtali Kahn was Chazzan, the congregation removed to its new building in Julianna street, where it remained until September 9, 1870, when in 1904, the structure at Broad and Mt. Vernon streets was dedicated. Marcus Jastrow, elected in 1866, served the congregation as rabbi until 1892, when he was elected rabbi emeritus (died 1903); during his ministry Rodef Shalom became one of the leading congregations in the United States. In 1892 Henry Berkowitz was elected rabbi.

Data relating to the earlier Jewish charitable organizations are very meager. It is natural to suppose that the Congregation Mickvé Israel, in the absence of any other organization for that purpose, looked after the wants of the poorer Jewish residents. In 1784, there was a society for the relief of destitute strangers, but the records of this organization have disappeared. In October 1813, a Society for the Visitation of the Sick and for Mutual Assistance was organized, with Jacob Cohen as its first president. It existed for over fifty years. In 1819, several ladies organized the still-existing Female Hebrew Benevolent Society, the first Jewish charitable organization in Philadelphia and the first one in the United States controlled exclusively by women. In 1820, it elected its first board of officers, consisting of Mrs. Rebecca J. Phillips (first directress), Mrs. Belle Cohen (second directress), Mrs. S. Bravo (treasurer), Miss Rebecca Gratz (secretary). Mrs. Abraham S. Wolf has acted as its president starting in the early 1860's. In 1822, the United Hebrew Benevolent Society was organized. The oldest Hebrew Sunday-school in America was formed in Philadelphia. On February 4, 1838, a mumber of ladies met and resolved "that a Sunday-school be established under the direction of the board" of the Female Hebrew Benevolent Society; the school was formally opened on March 4, 1838; and it was about this time that the Ladies' Hebrew Sewing Society was founded.

These facts attest the early activity of the women of Philadelphia in the cause of religion and education. Rebecca Gratz (1781-1869) was, perhaps, the best-known American Jewess of her day. Not only was she one of the organizers of the Hebrew Sunday-School Society, but she was identified with nearly all the charitable organizations in the city. Another woman prominent in the life of the city at this time was Louisa B. Hart, who was untiring in her devotion to the religious education of the young. Others prominently identified with the Hebrew Sunday-School Society were Simha C. Peixotta, Ellen Phillips, and Isabella II. Rosenbach. The attendance at the various schools of the society, of which Mrs. Ephraim Lederer was president, numbered over 3,000 in 1904.

Isaac Leeser

The most virile force in the community when these organizations were founded was Isaac Leeser. He had succeeded Abraham Israel Keys, in 1829, as rabbi of the Congregation Mickvé Israel. He was essentially an organizer, and his name is connected with the inception of nearly every charitable and educational institution of his time. In 1843, he issued "The Occident and American Jewish Advocate," which he edited for twenty-five years. He provided text-books and catechisms for the use of the young; he made a masterly translation of the Bible; and he rendered into English the Hebrew prayers. In 1848 he was the moving spirit in the organization of the Hebrew Education Society of Philadelphia.

The first suggestion toward the establishment of a school for the higher education of Jewish youth came from Mordecai M. Noah, the well-known journalist of New York. In 1843, he advocated in the "Occident" the formation of such an institution, the plan receiving the warm support of Leeser. In 1847, a ball was given for the purpose of raising funds for the "establishment of a Hebrew school in this city." Later a public call resulted in the meeting of twenty-five supporters of the plan, Zadoc A. Davis being elected chairman, and on July 16, 1848, the Hebrew Education Society was formally organized, with Solomon Solis as its first president. On April 7, 1851, the school was opened with twenty-two pupils, and since that time the attendance has steadily increased.

Maimonides College and Jews' Hospital

On December 4, 1864, a meeting was held which resulted in the establishment of the first Jewish theological seminary in America. The need of such an institution was strongly felt, as there were numerous synagogues in the country, but few persons capable of filling the rabbinical office. The seminary was established under the joint auspices of the Hebrew Education Society and the Board of Delegates of American Israelites, and was named "Maimonides College"; it was opened October 28, 1867, with Isaac Leeser as its provost. Sabato Morais, Marcus Jastrow, Aaron S. Bettelheim, L. Buttenwieser, William H. Williams; and the provost comprised the faculty. At a later date Hyman Polano and George Jacobs were added to this number. Abraham Hart was president, and Mayer Sulzberger secretary, of the board of trustees. Moses A. Dropsie and Isidore Binswanger acted successively as president of the college. After an activity extending through six years the work of Maimonides College was discontinued owing to lack of support (Dec., 1873). The work of the Hebrew Education Society had met with great success during the 1880's and 1890's. In 1892 the society received $15,000 from the estate of Ellen Phillips. Louis Gerstley acted as its president for many years, and David Sulzberger had been its secretary since 1876. It is largely owing to the latter's activity that the society has greatly extended its work to meet the new conditions due to the growth of the population and the Russian immigration. Edward Wolf is now president of the society.

The first Jewish hospital in Philadelphia originated in a suggestion of Abraham Sulzberger, who insisted in 1864 that a hospital was an urgent necessity in the community and that steps should be taken at once to secure the funds necessary to establish one. The first officers were Alfred T. Jones (president), Isidore Binswanger (vice-president), Samuel Weil (treasurer), Mayer Sulzberger (secretary), Henry J. Hunt (corresponding secretary). The association was incorporated September 23, 1865. The first site of the hospital was at Fifty-sixth street and Haverford road. Within a decade the needs of the first hospital had outgrown its accommodations, and in 1873, during the presidency of Abraham S. Wolf, it removed to Old York road. In 1901 Meyer Guggenheim presented to the association $80,000 for the purpose of erecting a private auxiliary hospital. Mrs. Sarah Eisner has recently built a Home for Nurses. Among other buildings on the hospital grounds are the Home for Aged and Infirm Israelites, the Loeb Operating Building, the M. A. Loeb Dispensary, and the Lucien Moss Home for Incurables. The Jewish Hospital is one of the best-equipped and best-managed institutions in the United States. William B. Hackenburg succeeded Abraham S. Wolf as president in 1878, and has served in that capacity ever since. To them is due, in a great measure, the success of the hospital. The Jewish Maternity Association was founded November 3, 1873. In addition to the maternity hospital there is a training-school for nurses, of which Mrs. S. Belle Cohn is president.

In 1855, the ladies of the various congregations of the city, "deeply impressed with the necessity of providing a home for destitute and unprotected children of Jewish parentage," organized the Jewish Foster Home. Its first building was in Eleventh street, near Jefferson street, and was dedicated in May, 1855. Mrs. Anna Allen was its first president. In 1874 the control of the home was transferred to a board of male directors, aided by a ladies' associate board. The home was moved in 1881 to Mill street, Germantown, its present quarters. Isidore Binswanger was president for fifteen years, and during his term of office the home became one of the best institutions of its kind in the country. Mason Hirsh was president for a number of years; Leo Loeb now fills that position, and S. M. Fleischman is superintendent. The Orphans' Guardians, or Familien Waisen Erziehungs Verein, an institution with a mission similar to the foregoing, was organized March 26, 1868, chiefly through the efforts of R. Samuel Hirsch of the Congregation Keneseth Israel. Instead of keeping the children together in one institution, this society endeavors to find homes for them among respectable Jewish families.

Gratz College

Isaac Leeser retired from the Congregation Mickvé Israel in 1850, and was succeeded by Sabato Morais, who exerted a lasting influence upon the Jewish institutions of the city. He was greatly opposed to the Reform movement and was the champion of traditional Judaism. Perhaps the greatest monument of his life is the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, which he founded in 1886. He served the congregation until his death in 1897; Leon H. Elmaleh was the rabbi 1904. The Gratz College, the most liberally endowed institution of Jewish learning in the city, is controlled by a board oftrustees elected by the congregation. It was founded under a deed of trust executed by Hyman Gratz in 1856, which became operative in 1893; Moses A. Dropsie was president of the board of trustees. The college had a faculty of three, and twenty-five students in 1904. The amount of the endowment was nearly $200,000.

Many synagogues were founded in the city after 1840, when the Congregation Beth Israel was founded (June 12), the first rabbi being Simon E. Cohen Noot. It now worships in Eighth street, above Master street, and Menahem M. Eichler is the officiating rabbi. The Congregation Beth El Emeth was founded in 1857, and Isaac Leeser, who had left the Congregation Mickvé Israel, became its rabbi, remaining so until his death (1868). This synagogue became influential in the affairs of the community; Joseph Newhouse, Morris Rosenbach, and Alfred T. Jones served at various times as presidents. George Jacobs was elected rabbi in 1869, and remained with the congregation until his death in 1884. The congregation, failing to secure a suitable successor after several attempts, disbanded a few years later. The Congregation Adath Jeshurun, Seventh street and Columbia avenue, was founded in Aug., 1859, S. B. Breidenbach being its first rabbi; Henry Iliowizi held the office from 1888 until 1901 (resigned), when B. C. Ehrenreich was appointed in his stead. Both the Jewish Foster Home and the Jewish Hospital Association have synagogues, that of the latter being the gift of Mrs. Rose Frank, as a memorial to her husband, Henry S. Frank.

Literary activity

The earliest publication relating to the Jews was issued in 1763 from the press of Andrew Stewart; it was a sermon by Moses Mendelssohn delivered by his preceptor David Hirchel Frankel, and translated from the German. The first Hebrew Bible that appeared in the United States was published in Philadelphia in 1814 by Thomas Dobson, the printer being William Fry. The best-known printer of Hebrew books in the country was Charles Sherman, who imported matrices from Amsterdam; Abraham Hart was one of the best-known general publishers, Thackeray's first published book being issued with his imprint. The first dealer in the United States who dealt exclusively in rare books was Moses Polock (1817-1903); at his death he was the oldest bibliophile in the country. The original Jewish Publication Society was established in Philadelphia November 9, 1845, Abraham Hart being its first president. The society owed its existence to Isaac Leeser. It published eleven works, including two by Grace Aguilar. The present Jewish Publication Society of America, a national organization, with headquarters at Philadelphia, was formed June 3, 1888; Morris Newburger was its first president. The society has published many works of value, including Israel Zangwill's Children of the Ghetto; a new translation of the Bible was started in the early 1900's, the Book of Psalms having already been issued by 1904. In 1904, Mayer Sulzberger was chairman of the publication committee; Edwin Wolf was president.

In 1904 the best collection of Hebrew books and manuscripts in the city, that of Mayer Sulzberger, was transferred to the Jewish Theological Seminary of America at New York.

Newspapers

There have been several Jewish newspapers in Philadelphia, of which The Occident was the first; it was founded by Isaac Leeser in 1843, who edited it until his death in 1868; it was edited for one year thereafter by Mayer Sulzberger. The "Jewish Index" was issued in 1872, but it lasted only a year. In 1875 the "Jewish Record" appeared, under the editorship of Alfred T. Jones. The "Jewish Exponent" was first issued April 15, 1887; its present editors are R. Charles Hoffman, Ephraim Lederer, and Felix Gerson. There were several daily papers published in Yiddish, the most important being the "Jewish Evening Post."

The Young Men's Hebrew Association, an outgrowth of a former institution—the Hebrew Association—was organized May 12, 1875, with Mayer Sulzberger as president. The object of the association is "to promote a higher culture among young men"; its membership in 1904 numbered over 1,000, under the presidency of Adolph Eichholz. Its building is situated in North Broad street. The Young Women's Union was originally a branch of the Hebrew Education Society, and was organized through the efforts of Mrs. Fanny Binswanger Hoffman on February 5, 1885; the object of the union is to educate the younger children of immigrant Jews. It maintained a kindergarten, day-nursery, sewing-school, etc. Mrs. Julia Friedberger Eschner was president.

There are several Jewish social organizations. The Mercantile Club was established November 10, 1853, and incorporated April 17, 1869. Louis Bomeisler was its first president. The club occupies a building in North Broad street; Clarence Wolf was its president in 1904. The Garrick, the Progress, and the Franklin are other Jewish clubs.

In 1876, in commemoration of the centennial of American Independence, the Order B'nai B'rith and Israelites of America erected in Fairmount Park a statue representing Religious Liberty. It was designed by Moses Ezekiel, and was the first public monument erected by Jews in the United States.

Federation of Jewish Charities

From a period immediately after the Revolutionary war efforts have been made to collect money for the charitable organizations by appealing to the general public. Lotteries were held early in the nineteenth century; subscription lists were constantly being formed. A ball was given in 1843 in aid of three societies. In 1853 and in 1854 dinners were given in aid of the Hebrew Charitable Fund, at which many noted citizens were present. The year following, a ball was given instead of a dinner, and it proved such a success financially that it was thought expedient to continue this form of entertainment; the Hebrew Charity-Ball Association was formed in consequence of this determination, and annual balls were given with great success until 1901, when they were discontinued owing to the establishment of the Federation of Jewish Charities. The United Hebrew Charities, a union of six institutions, was organized in 1869, with Simon W. Arnold as its first president. Max Herzberg is president. The combination of the principal charitable societies of Philadelphia was formed on March 17, 1901; Jacob Gimbel was its first president. The federation as originally formed embraced nine institutions—the Jewish Hospital Association, Jewish Foster Home, Society of United Hebrew Charities, Hebrew Education Society, Orphans' Guardians, Jewish Maternity Association, Jewish Immigration Society, Young Women's Union, and Hebrew Sunday-School Society. Later, the National Farm School, the National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives (at Denver), and the Alliance Israélite Universelle became beneficiaries. The income of the Federation (1903) was $123,039, with a membership of 1,916.

In 1901, Lewis Elkin bequeathed $2,000,000 to the city of Philadelphia for the support of superannuated female school-teachers. This is the largest bequest for a charitable object yet made by a Jewish resident of the city. Simon Muhr among other benefactions left a bequest for general educational purposes.

In 1882, the great exodus from Russia took place; thousands of Jews forced to emigrate took up their residence in Philadelphia; at the present time they constitute a majority of the Jewish population. A society for the protection of immigrants arriving from the Slavonic provinces was organized October 5, 1884, and called the "Association of Jewish Immigrants"; Louis E. Levy was president. In 1903, 5,310 Jewish immigrants arrived at the port of Philadelphia. In general, they quickly became prosperous; many had entered the learned professions, and they built synagogues and hospitals in the southern portion of the city, where most of them resided. They had many synagogues and ḥebras, the most important being the Congregation B'nai Abraham, founded in 1882; B. L. Levinthal was rabbi of this and the associated congregations in 1904. The Society Hachnasath Orechim, or Wayfarers' Lodge, was organized November 16, 1890, and chartered April 29, 1891; it is one of the most active charitable associations in Philadelphia. The Hebrew Literature Society, founded in 1885, has opened a new building at 310 Catherine street. The Home for Hebrew Orphans, The Jewish Sheltering Home for the Homeless and Aged, the Mount Sinai Hospital Association, the Pannonia Beneficial Association, and the Talmud Torah were all situated in the southern portion of the city. In addition, the newcomers have many social, political, and literary organizations.

In Philadelphia there were in 1904, not including lodges, over 160 Jewish organizations, of which over 50 are synagogues; the remainder consisting of hospitals, foster homes, Sunday-schools, benevolent associations, colleges, young men's Hebrew associations, social clubs, literary societies, etc. (A list of local organizations was published in the "American Jewish Year Book" for 5661 [1900-1].) The income of the synagogues was about $90,000; the income of the charitable organizations, about $160,000.

From the earliest times the Jews of Philadelphia have been prominent in the learned professions. As stated above, the first Jew to hold a judicial position was Isaac Miranda (1727). One of the earliest Jewish lawyers was Moses Levy, who was admitted to the bar in 1778. Isaac Franks was prothonotary of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. Among other distinguished Jewish lawyers were: Zalegman Phillips, Samson Levy, Joseph Simon Cohen, Jonas Altamont Phillips, Henry M. Phillips, Moses A. Dropsie, Simon Sterne, Stephen S. Remak, Joseph G. Rosengarten, Edward H. Weil, S. M. Hyneman, Jacob Singer (at one time registrar of wills), Ephraim Lederer, D. W. Amram. Mayer Sulzberger is president judge of the court of common pleas.

The most prominent of the early Jewish physicians of Philadelphia was Isaac Hays (1796-1879), who took over editing the American Journal of the Medical Sciences in 1827; among other physicians of distinction are: Jacob de Solis-Cohen, Lewis W. Steinbach, Solomon Solis-Cohen, A. A. Eschner, and David Riesman.

Many have achieved distinction in literature, science, and journalism: Michael Heilprin, his son Angelo Heilprin (geologist), Leon Hyneman, Simon A. Stern, Felix Gerson, Henry S. Morais, Milton Goldsmith, Leo S. Rowe, Morris Jastrow, Jr. (librarian of the University of Pennsylvania), Bunford Samuel (librarian of the Ridgway Library), Isaac J. Schwatt, Charles Henry Hart, J. G. Rosengarten.

The roll of Jewish officers, Philadelphians, who served with distinction during the Civil war includes the names of Morris J. Asch, Israel Moses, Alfred Mordecai, Jr., Frank Marx Etting, Justus Steinberger, Jonathan Manly Emanuel, Jacob Solis-Cohen, Max Einstein, Aaron Lazarus, Max Friedman, Joseph L. Moss, William Moss, Lyon Levy Emanuel, Isaac M. Abraham, Adolph G. Rosengarten, John Trencher, Joseph G. Rosengarten, and Benjamin J. Levy.

The Jews of Philadelphia have been influential in finance as well as in music and the fine arts, and have been identified in every way with the growth of the municipality.

Members of the Etting family have taken a prominent part in public life from the first. Lewis Charles Levin (1808-60) was thrice elected to the national House of Representatives; Leonard Myers and Henry M. Phillips also were members of the Lower House. In the domain of art the names of Katherine M. Cohen, Herman N. Hyneman, Max Rosenthal, and Albert Rosenthal may be mentioned; and in the field of music, those of Simon Hassler, Mark Hassler, Samuel L. Hermann, Henry Hahn, and Frederick E. Hahn.

In 1904, the total population of Philadelphia was about 1,420,000, including about 75,000 Jews.

Ed Rendell was the first Jewish mayor of Philadelphia, when he was elected in 1999.

See also

Bibliography

  • H. P. Rosenbach, Hist. of the Jews in Philadelphia Prior to 1800, Philadelphia, 1883;
  • H. S. Morais, The Jews of Philadelphia, 1894 (the most complete account);
  • Morris Jastrow, Jr., in Publications Am. Jew. Hist. Soc. No. 1, pp. 49-61;
  • Henry Berkowitz, ib. No. 9, pp. 123-127;
  • A. S. W. Rosenbach, ib. No. 5, pp. 191-198;
  • Watson's Annals;
  • Westcott, History of Philadelphia;
  • Memoirs Hist. Soc. Pennsylvania;
  • The Occident;
  • The Jewish Exponent:
  • American Jewish Year Book, 1901;
  • Fifty Years' Work of the Hebrew Education Society, Report for 1899 (containing many portraits);
  • Archives of the Congregation Mickvé Israel.

References

External links

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