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J.D.B. News Letter

December 14, 1927
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Jewish Community of Baltimore, Dating Back More Than Century, Now Numbers 76,000 (By Our Baltimore Correspondent)

During the recent campaign of the Community Fund, of which none of its 32 member agencies is Jewish, the Jewish population aided greatly in the success of the appeal. Besides contributing thousands of dollars to the $1,000,000 obtained, Jews, many of them, volunteered their services to acquire subscriptions. Several of the team leaders in the drive were Jewish.

In the early days, when religious persecutions were the rule in Maryland, Jews were greatly hampered in all their undertakings. The first Jewish family to settle permanently in Baltimore and of whom any record has been kept were the Ettings. In 1780 Mrs. Shinah Etting came to the city with her five children. Reuben Etting, one of her sons, later was appointed United States Marshal for Maryland by President Jefferson. But though he held this high Federal office, he could not have been elected to even the post of constable. For the State law barred all Jews from holding office.

It was not until 1825 after a family by the name of Cohen had come to Baltimore and became prominent in the life of the city, that the legal disabilities, against the Jews were removed. It took a campaign of seven years, from 1818 to 1825. during which period a committee of prominent Jewish citizens besieged each successive session of the Legislature to get the bill passed.

The first regular meeting for Jewish religious services of which there is record was held in 1829. The first regular synagogue was held in a hall over a grocery in 1832. Up to 1842 all the Jewish congregations in Baltimore were Orthodox. In that year a number of young men formed the Har Sinai Verein, which became, it is said, the first reform congregation in the United States.

There are 46 synagogues now in Baltimore according to the city directory for 1927. Three of these are Reform.

Three members of the Supreme Bench of Baltimore are Judge Eli Frank, Judge Charles F. Stein and Judge Joseph N. Ulman, Samuel Lasch is associate judge of the Juvenile Court and Jacob Schroeder holds a post as police magistrate. An Assistant Attorney-General of Maryland is Herbert Levy.

One of the most important municipal positions–head of the public school system–is held by Dr. David E. Weglein. Along educational lines we also have Mrs. Louis H. Levin and Theodore E. Straus, members of the School Board.

Jews also are to be found in many other executive posts of the city govern ment. Mention may be made of Benjamin S. Applestein, City Librarian; Simon E. Sobeloff, Assistant City Solicitor; Maxwell Suls, Board of Zoning Appeals; Moses Ottenheimer, Jail Board; Lee I Hecht, Appeal Tax Court, Meyer J. Block is the Chief Judge of the Orphans’ Court.

In the political field the names of State Senator Harry O. Levin and City Councilman Daniel Ellison appear. In addition, members of the Maryland House of Delegates are Moses Rose. Paul Berman, Louis Binder and Daniel C. Joseph Probably the best known Jew in Baltimore is Jacob Epstein, president of the American Wholesale Corporation. His contributions to charity and other causes, both Jewish and non-Jewish, always are most generous. He devotes a large part of his time to the city’s welfare, having been at various times a member of important boards. At present he is member of the Public Improvement Commission.

Most of the department stores in Baltimore are maintained by Jews, the principal ones being Hochschild, Kohu £ Co. and Hutzler Bros. Co.

Work is expected to start shortly on a large and modern building for the Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Associations. A lot for the proposed structure in the downtown section was recently purchased.

Connected with both the Johns Hopkins University and the Johns Hopkins Hospital are a number of Jews widely-known for their respective contributions to various fields.

The Associated Jewish Charities dispenses its funds through the medium of the Big Brother Leagut, Board of Jewish Education, Council Milk and Ice Fund, Daughters in Israe. Hebrew Benevolent Society, Hebrew Free Burial Socity, Hebrew Free Loan Association, Hebrew Friendly Inn and Aged Home for Incurables. Sinai Hospital, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, Jewish Children’s Society. Jewish Educational Alliance. Jewish Home for Consumptives. Woodland Country Home, and the Young Ladies’ Benevolent Society.

Latest figures of the Baltimore Federation of Churches place the Jewish population at 76,000. The total population of Baltimore is 820,000.

A goodwill dinner attended by Protestants. Catholics and Jews was held Monday night in Baltimore. Md.

The Rev. Dr. Charles E. Jefferson of Broadway Tabernacle. New York. who spoke for the Protestant Church; Senator David J. Walsh of Massachusetts woh spoke for the Roman Catholics. and Rabbi Stephen S. Wise of New York were the speakers.

Four hundred guests were present.


Action by American Jewry to bring about the cessation of the anti-Jewish attacks in Roumania is urged by the Jewish press.

Writing editorially yesterday, “The Day” declares: “Are We American Jews so wholly powerless that we are in no position to tame the Roumanian beast? Scores of years ago there were similar cases in Morocco, in Persia and then there were prominent Jews who persuaded their governments–England and France–to inntervene for the unprotected Jews in the uncivilized and wild countries. Notwithstanding the difficulties of communication in those days, something was achieved, something was rescued.

“Is it possible that nothing can be done today in this regard? Have American Jews no approach and no influence on public opinion, on the United States government, that at least one of these two factors should raise its voice against Roumania that has gone wild?

“We have an American Jewish Congress, have we not? Why should it not come out in the street, gather around it all Jews and arrange a great general Jewish protest demonstration against the bloodshed in Roumania? Is Jewish blood shed in Grosswardein, in Jassy and in other Transylvanian towns less red than the Jewish blood which was shed in Kishineff. in Homel. in Zhitomir? Something must happen; something must be done on the part of American Jewry at once, in the next few days.”

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