LSS Fact of the Day
1845 – After fifteen years of moving between rented rooms, the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation decided to build its own synagogue. The structure became the first synagogue in the state of
“Agreeably to announcement, the new synagogue erected by the Hebrew congregation of
“The Rev. Mr. Leeser then rose and delivered a lengthy address from a portion of Scripture commencing with, ‘And not to you alone do I make this covenant,’ &c. We cannot pretend to follow the Reverend gentleman in his discourse. He spoke of the covenant given by God to the fathers in Israel, which had been handed down; the law, although called the law of Moses, was the law of God, and Moses but the means used to deliver the law to mankind – in it God speaks, not Moses. He gave a history of the Jews, their persecutions, &c., and exalted that the law was still preserved, and alluded to the preservation of the law as one evidence of their being peculiarly under the keeping of God; Israel has been ever true, will be ever true, to follow their God – the one God. The brethren present, by raising this structure, had entered into the covenant anew. They had no new mode pointed out to them, but faith in the law and obedience were still the means to be used for propitiating the mercy of God. The address, of which the above is the merest sketch, was an eloquent one, and was listened to with the most profound attention.
“The Rev. Mr. Isaacs next followed in an able discourse from the text, ‘How awful is this place; this is no other than the house of God; the gate of Heaven.’ The general object of this discourse was to demonstrate that the church just erected was God’s house – a miniature temple erected to his service. The address was quite a lengthy one, and at the conclusion, he made an appropriate prayer. Prayers were then chaunted [sic], in Hebrew, led by the Rev. Mr. Ansell, and the congregation was dismissed. And thus has been dedicated, the first synagogue ever built in
*Please note that “Rev.” does not indictae that a person was of Christian faith but a title for someone who was deemed to deserve respect. In this case, “awful” is something full of awe, not something horrible. Additionally, spelling and grammar have not been edited.