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J.D.B. News Letter

January 12, 1928
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

(By our San Diego correspondent)

Ten organizations serve the religious and cultural needs of the Jewish community here, numbring 1,000 families. Besides the Reform Temple Beth Israel and the Orthodox Tifereth Israel, there is the Lasker Lodge 370 of the I.O.B.B., Jewish Federated Charities, Daughters of Israel, Temple Auxiliary, Zionist Society, Hadassah Chapter, Council of Jewish Women, Temple Welfare Board.

So far as is known the first Jew came to San Diego in 1850, shortly after California had passed from under the Mexican flag to the sovereignty of the Stars and Stripes, and during the past three-quarters of a century they have helped to build from the small group of adobe huts a city which has taken its place among the foremost communities of the state.

In the Masonic organization the Jews have been very prominent for many years, and in San Diego Lodge No. 35, one of the oldest lodges in California, four have held the chair of Worshipful Master, the earliest of these being Marcus Schiller, who served from 1861 to 1864 inclusive. He was born in Prussia in 1819 and came to America in 1836. Twenty years later he reached San Diego and the following year formed a partnership with Joseph S. Menasse. Mr. Schiller was a city trustee for several terms. He was one of the members of the board when the fourteen hundred acres of the publicly owned lands were set aside forever as a public park now known as the third largest park in America and as one of the most beautiful parks in the country, this park being named after the explorer Balboa.

Mr. Schiller also served his community as superintendent of schools and was prominent in early railroad projects and in organizing the first Jewish community.

Other Jews who served San Diego Lodge as masters were Simon Levi, one of the most prominent merchants, E. B. Levi, E. J. Lewis, for many years the consular representative of one of the Southern republics, and Isaac T. Davidson, prominent in communal and commercial life, and present treasurer of the lodge. Another Masonic lodge, Silver Gate No. 296 has had at its head, Charles L. Marks and E. Crolick.

In the commercial field one of the earliest firms was Schiller & Menasse. Menasse also came from Prussia and arrived in San Diego in 1853. This firm owned the first lumber yard and engaged in stock raising. One of the earliest additions in the city was laid out by them and is known as the Schiller & Menasse addition. Mr. Menasse also served as city trustee for many years.

Louis Rose, the first Jew who came to San Diego in 1850, began immediately to take active and prominent interest in the affairs of the young city. He was a member of the first Grand jury and was a city trustee in 1853. A scenic tract of land in which he became interested, is known as Roseville. He also established the first brick yard in Rose canyon named after him. Roseville is now one of the most exclusive residence sections of the city. Mr. Rose established the first congregation. Mr. Rose was treasurer of the San Diego & Gila, Southern Pacific & Atlantic Railroad.

One of San Diego’s prominent banks, now known as the Security Commercial and Savings Bank, is the successor of an early banking house established in 1893 by A. Blochman and his son Lucian. The senior Blochman served for several years as French consular agent in San Diego, and his son was a member of the city council for several years and active in all city affairs.

The Bank of Commerce established in 1887, and later merged with the Southern Trust & Savings, now a branch of the Bank of Italy, had Julius Wangenheim as its president for many years.

A more recently organized banking institution is the California Savings and Commercial Bank. Its founder and president is Isaac I. Irwin, formerly president of the Citizens Savings Bank, now consolidated with the First National Bank.

The first Yom Kippur services were held more than 55 years ago. Among the first organizers of the congregation were Lewis Franklin, Jacob Marks, Marcus Schiller, Joseph Menasse, and E. Lowenstein who were also the first officers. In 1888 the Jewish population had increased largely and incorporated the Congregation Beth Israel with fifty-five members, and in 1889 they erected a temple which served until the present temple was built in 1926. In 1902 an orthodox congregation was formed.

Abraham Klauber was president of the Chamber of Commerce in 1880 and Simon Levi was secretary. Simon Levi also served as city councilman. A. Blochman was councilman in 1893-4 and was succeeded by his son L. A. Blochman in 1897-8, who has since served on the Municipal Park and Cemetery commission.

Another pioneer is Samuel I. Fox, who came to San Diego in 1886. He was one of the founders of the merchants’ association and is the present president of Temple Beth Israel. He also served several years as director of the Chamber of Commerce. Melvile Klauber, president of the Klauber-Wangenheim Co. was president of the Chamber of Commerce in 1915-6 and also served on the water commission and several other important municipal positions.

Dedication of the new annex to the B’nai Brith Home for Children at Fairview near Erie, Pa. took place recently. Representatives of B’nai Brith lodges of District No. 3, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia, were present at the dedication exercises.

The annex was erected at a cost of $130,000.

Dr. Leon Felderman of Philadelphia was presented with the Cross of the Legion of Honor by M. Rene Weiller, French Consul at the office of Mayor Mackey recently.

During the early part of his service overseas he was attached to the French service and cared for many French war refugees.

The Cross of the Legion of Honor and the title of Chevalier is understood to be awarded to him by the French Government in recognition of his work for the French during the war years and for his continued interest in their welfare.

Jacob Kishenbaum, member of the editorial staff of the “Jewish Morning Journal’ was elected secretary of the Ship News Reporters Association at the thirty-eighth annual meeting of the association.

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