One hundred years ago the “Nidsche Yisroel,” translated “The Scattered of Israel,” was organized by a handful of Jews as the first Jewish congregation in the State of Maryland. It was only after considerable contention that Jewish disabilities were removed and they could formally organize their minyan into a congregation and receive a charter from the State.
Under the name of the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, the congregation has just concluded an elaborate three-day celebration of its centenary. Not only rabbis but Christian clergymen aided in making the anniversary a memorable one.
At the Friday evening services the Rev. Dr. William Rosenau, rabbi of the Oheb Shalom Congregation, brought greetings from the Baltimore Jewish community; the Rev. Dr. David Lefkowitz, of Dallas, Texas, brought greetings from the Central Conference of American Rabbis, of which he is president, and the Rev. Dr. Julius Morgenstern, president of the Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, greetings from the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.
The Rev. Dr. Morris S. Lazaron rabbi of the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation for fifteen years, delivered the anniversary sermon on “The Old Faith in the New World,” in which rededication of his people was urged and a review of the history of the congregation given.
The opening prayer was offered by Rabbi Edward L. Israel, of the Har Sinai Congregation, and the closing prayer and benediction by Rabbi Adolph Coblenz, of the Chizuk Amuno Congregation.
Saturday morning the Rev. Dr. Stephen S. Wise, of the Free Synagogue, New York, delivered a sermon at the temple, his subject being “A Century in American Israel: Summary and Forecast.”
“We Jews must refuse to be liberalized into Semitic Unitarians and nothing more,” Rabbi Wise told his audience which packed every available space in the synagogue. The hearers were warned by Rabbi Wise not to become too liberalizedâ€””not to become humanists with a Jewish accent. We are a people yet, though all the world forgets.”
A “fellowship service” was held Sunday afternoon at the temple, with six Protestant clergymen bringing greetings.
In the morning the religious school had its celebration, with the program including addresses by alumni of the #unday school, among these being Mrs. acob Schoeneman, a pupil of 1870.
Members of the congregation wrote he epic of the evolution of the temple hat was given Sunday evening at the Lyric Theatre. In the cast were 225 persons, and seven episodes from Solomon’s Temple to the present time were presented. The pageant was followed by a reception and dance at the Alcazar, this bringing the celebration to a close.
While three years after its incorporation there were only 29 families listed in the congregation’s membership, today it has 900 families. Those who have acted as rabbi of the synagogue include Dr. Aaron Seigfeld Bettelheim and Dr. Adolph Guttmacher, the latter serving for 25 years. While the manner of worship started to become liberal about a half century ago, it was in 1894 that it was decided that the masculine members should give up the ancient orthodox custom of wearing their hats while worshipping. Rabbi Lazaron came to take charge of the congregation in 1915 and since then the membership has increased and its activities greatly broadened.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.