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Philadelphia Jewish Congregation Concludes 125th Anniversary Festivities

October 27, 1926
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(Jewish Daily Bulletin)

The three-day celebration of the 125th anniversary of the Rodeph Shalom congregation, the oldest reformed synagogue in America, came to a close last night with the announcement of plans for the erection of a new synagogue to cost $750,000. It is hoped to start the new structure within the next few months.

Charles Edwin Fox, the President of the Congregation, was the principal speaker. Dr. Lee K. Frankel. Vice-President of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, who was to have been the guest of honor, was prevented by illness from attending. Other addresses were delivered by Rabbi Louis Wolsey, President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, who is the spiritual head of Rodeph Shalom, Rabbi Henry J. Berkowitz of Kansas City, Rabbi William Fineshriber of the Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel, and Mr. Edward Davis. historian of the Congregation. Mr. Joseph Greenberg, Chairman of the Anniversary Committee presided. The contributions to the building fund were made in response to the appeal of Albert Wolf.

Rabbi Samuel H. Goldenson, of the Rodeph Shalom congregation of Pittsburgh, reviewed the history of the Philadelphia congregation, which started as a small society of German Polish Jews about 1800, and followed it over the long course of a century and a quarter. Members of the congregation participated in a play written by Mrs. Ruth L. Frankel, which depicted events in the history of the synagogue.

Three hundred thousand dollars was subscribed toward the $750,000 building fund of the new synagogue. The subscriptions ranged from $50,000 contributed by three Wolf Brothers, Albert, a former President of the Congregation; Louis, Honorary President of the Federation of Jewish Charities, and Benjamin Wolf, to Five Dollar subscriptions from the children of the Sabbath School. There will be no public solicitation of funds, it was stated.

Among the contributors to the fund were William Gerstley, $15,000; Louis Gerstley, $15,000; Arthur Locb, $15,000; Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Loucheim, $25,000; Adolph Burd, $7,500; Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Bloch, $5,000; Harry Fernberger, $5,000; Alfred Fleisher, $5,000; Arthur A. Fleisher, $5,000; Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Fox, $5,000; Mr. and Mrs. Lionel Friedman, $4,000; Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Greenberg, $10,000; Albert Greenbaum, $5,000; Morton B. Hirst, $5,000; Mr. and Mrs. I. Cohen, $5,000 and Etta B. Richter, $5,000.

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