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Temple Beth-el Votes to Amalgamate with Temple Emanu-el

May 13, 1927
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Following a stormy meeting during which both sides threatened to secede from membership, the congregation of Temple Beth-El. Fifth Avenue and Seventy-sixth Street. New York, voted Wednesday night to amalgamate with Temple Emanu-El.

After the congregation had been polled and voted 184 to 68 in favor of amalgamation discontented members of the temple gathered in the rear of the meeting room and threatened that they would secede.

The action, favored by the temple’s trustees and Louis Marshall, president of the congregation of Emanu-El, had been urged by Sydney Herman. vice-president of the temple and chairman of the meeting.

Ludwig Vogelstein, trustee and president of the United Hebrew Congregation, said that he had been a trustee of the Temple for fifteen years, that the Temple was procured on a mortgage of $400,000, and later increased to $450,000.

Max J. Kohler, another trustee, said that there were only eighty pew owners in the church and that in 1892 there were 400 pew owners. He said he thought that the congregation of Temple Beth-El had lost its spirituality.

“I think it is necessary,” he said. “to have this congregation join up with Temple Emanu-El because the people in Temple Emanu-El are spiritual.”

Mr. Goldsmith, one of the leaders of the opposition charged that the trustees had done a lot of lobbying with the congregation in order to obtain affirmative votes.

“A lot of people will want to go to Emanu-El because they’ll thing it tashionable.” Mr. Goldsmith said, “but Temple Beth-El should be here always as a monument to Judaism. The temple does not belong to this congregation. It belongs to posterity.”

Sol. N. Stroock, president of the Federation of Jewish Charities, said that he was a member of four congregations, including Beth-El. He said that the history of Beth-El had shown a recent spiritual decline.

“In the early ’90,” he said. “you rep resented the best. As these saints of the temple died off there was no one to fill their place. Let’s not carry on this make-believe we have had about Beth-El for many years.”

“This is a question that affects the whole community,” he said. “I must ask you to vote for the amalgarnation.”

The vote was taken on a resolution introduced by Mr. Vogelstein and amended to read that the merger would be favored provided the name of Beth-El were used in the combined name or in some other fashion in order to retain its identity.

The school situation in New York will not be affected by the decision of the New York State Court of Appeals against the Free-thinkers Society, which opposed the practice of dismissing public school children in White Plains early one day each week for religious instruction in churches selected by their parents, is the opinion of Dr. William J. O’Shea. Superintendent of Schools.

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