Page 200 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 50

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192
JEW ISH BOOK ANNUAL
of Jewish life in the nineteenth century on the Atlantic and
Pacific coasts, and, of most interest, to learn more of the life
and problems of a
shohet
in the frontier town of Dallas.
THE SYNAGOGUE IN AMERICA
Dr. Schmelzer points to the especially strong section on “the
American synagogue and Jewish communal organizations.” The
first is led by what may well be the finest early American syn­
agogue document. It is a calligraphically inscribed set of Res­
olutions, adopted by the
Mahamad
(Board) of the as-yet-
unnamed congregation in Philadelphia on February 22, 1772,
in which the eight members unanimously resolve:
that in Order to Support our Holy Worship and Establish it
on a more solid Foundation than it is at Present We the under­
written, do Mutually agree and promise to pay annually to the
Parnas or Gabay for the time being the several sums annexed
to our names . . .
Barnard Gratz, Michael Gratz, Levy Marks, Sol Marache and
four others sign their names and the sums pledged, varying
from two to ten pounds.
The congregation, which later took the name Mikveh Israel,
consecrated a Torah scroll in 1816 and published a broadside
for the special service arranged to mark the occasion. It contains
an “acrostick Hymn written for the occasion”— the first Hebrew
poem composed and printed in America. Two years later, its
sister congregation, Shearith Israel of New York, published the
Form of Service at the Dedication of the New Synagogue of the Kahal
Kadosh Shearith Israel,
in New York, 5578 (1818). Its
hazzan,
Dov
Pique, composed two Hebrew poems for the service, an acrostic
hymn celebrating Shearith Israel, and a m irror acrostic bearing
his name, which contains special blessings for the leaders of
the nation, “Jimmy Monroe” and Daniel Tompkins. A printed
copy of Mordecai M. Noah’s dedicatory address accompanies
the
Form o f Service.
Among other Shearith Israel items are the
Form of Service at the Dedication of the New Synagogue of the Kahal
Kadosh Shearith Israel in Crosby Street,
New York, 5594 (1834),
and a broadside,
Order of Service . . . on the Fiftieth Anniversary
of the Hebra Hesed Va-emet
(1851), the congregation’s burial so­
ciety.