3,000 Mark Religious Meaning of American Jewish Tercentenary

A mass meeting of 3, 000 persons gathered here tonight to mark the religious meaning of 300 years of Jewish settlement in the United States and heard messages and addresses hailing this “Synagogue Speaks” convocation. The convocation was part of the four-day general assembly of the Synagogue Council of America, central national organization representing the Orthodox, Conservative and Reform movements, and was jointly sponsored by the Council and the New York Board of Rabbis.

The Tercentenary observance was highlighted by the presentation of medals and citations to the 14 oldest Jewish congregations in America, founded prior to 1840. The citations were presented to the rabbis and presidents of the congregations. The synagogues which received the awards, and the dates of their founding, are:

Shearith Israel, New York (1654); Jeshuat Israel (Touro Synagogue), Newport, R.I. (1658); Mickve Israel, Savannah, (1733); Mikveh Israel, Philadelphia (1740); Beth Elohim, Charleston, S. C., (1750); Beth Ahabah, Richmond (1789); Rodeph Shalom, Philadelphia (1800); Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, Baltimore, (1823); K.K. Bene Israel, Cincinnati, (1824); B’nai Jeshurun, New York, (1825); Touro Synagogue, New Orleans, (1828); Adath Israel, Louisville, (1836); Shaarei Zedek, New York, N. Y., (1837); and Beth Emeth, Albany, N. Y., (1838.)

Principal speakers at the convocation were Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, Judge Simon H, Rifkind, a leader of the American Jewish Committee, Dr. Norman Salit, Synagogue Council president, Dr. David J. Seligson, president of New York’s Board of Rabbis, and Ralph E. Samuel, Tercentenary Committee chairman.

Messages to the Tercentenary observance came from Prime Minister Moshe Sharett of Israel, Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill of Great Britain, Prime Minister Dr. Willem Drees of the Netherlands, Senator Herbert H. Lehman of New York, Governor Thomas E. Dewey and Mayor Robert F. Wagner.

The Assembly of the Synagogue Council will be climaxed tomorrow with a meeting, to be held in four sessions, at which leaders of rabbinical and lay groups representing all major interpretations of Judaism will seek to clarify the major moral, social and religious issues confronting American Judaism.

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