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Philadelphia Synagogue, Destroyed by Lightning, Was Historic Landmark

July 29, 1926
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

(Jewish Daily Bulletin)

A historic landmark of the orthodox Jewish community of this city was destroyed, when lightning struck the B’nai Abraham Synagogue, causing a conflagration which destroyed the entire structure early Sunday morning. The damage is estimated at approximately $75,000. Very little is covered by insurance.

While hundreds of men and women stood in the drenching rain, watching the fire, a group of three rushed into the building, aroused the sexton and rescued twenty-three Torahs. Responsible for the rescue were Emanuel Uram, who risked his life to carry out the Scrolls of the Law, his brother-in-law, Abe Zeliznik and Louis Simon.

The Congregation B’nai Abraham was founded in 1882 by the first group of Jewish immigrants to come to this city from Russia. With the exception of the Portuguese Synagogue, Mikve Israel, there was no other Orthodox house of worship in this city, although there were a number of small congregations. The B’nai Abraham was organized and Rabbi Eliezer Kleinberg, father of Rabbi B. L. Levinthal, was invited to become its rabbi. At Rabbi Kleinberg’s death, some thirty-five years ago, Rabbi B. L. Levinthal was invited to come to America to fill the post.

An effort will be made by the officers and directors to put the building in shape, if only in a temporary manner so that it may be used for the coming High Holidays.

As soon as the news of the disaster became public an invitation was extended by Henry W. Braude, President of the Y. M. H. A., to Simon Borowsky, President of the B’nai Abraham, to use the “Y” building during the High Holidays, in the event their quarters cannot be used.

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