In the Beginning: 1855

Each week The American Israelite will print an item from the first years.

New Synagogue

Cleveland, O., May 28th, 1855

Mr. Editor, — To-day a solemn and highly interesting ceremony took place on Huron street, at the laying of the cornerstone of the new synagogue of the Tifereth Israel Society. The edifice is designed to be neat and tasteful, thirty-eight by sixty feet; to be built of brick and cut stone, and is to be completed by next September, at a cost of about $10,000 dollars.

Editor’s Note: The sum of $10,000 dollars in 1855 is equivalent to about $347,000 in 2023.

— June 15, 1855

150 Years ago


– The Minister of the Interior in Spain has sent instructions to all charity that sufferers of all demonizations must be accepted and supported, and no priest call on them unless he be expressly asked for.

– Our friends, by communications this week, have crowded us out of THE ISRAELITE. Our article on Spinoza’s Metaphysics must lay over like many more articles for next week.

– The third lady student who has entered the University of Uppsala in Sweden is Miss Johanna Levinson, the daughter of the Rabbi of Stockholm. She intends to graduate as Doctress of Philosophy. If Miriam, Deborah, and Huldah could prophesy, why should not a Jewess now preach Judaism in the synagogue? We are decidedly in favor of admitting women to all public functions in the synagogue, and orthodoxy itself can not raise any valid objections to it.

Local and Domestic

Congregational Conference — There will be a meeting of the General Committee of sixty, on Tuesday evening, June 10th, at half past seven o’clock, at the Plum Street Temple. Every member is requested to be present, as business of importance will be brought before the meeting.

Lipman Levy, Secretary

– The Mutual Endowment Association, I.O.B.B., of this city, paid last week to Mrs. Rebecca Wineman, widow of the late Bro. Henry Winemen, the sum of twenty two hundred and fifty dollars ($2250)

Editor’s Note: Mr. Wineman would have left his wife, Rebecca Wineman, an estate worth about $87,000 dollars today.

— June 13, 1873

125 Years ago

In the neighborhood of Zwichau, kingdom of Saxony, about forty pork eaters were attacked with that ugly disease called Trichinosis. It was maintained that American pork was the cause, but on investigation it was found that the Germanic hog had done the mischief. The honor of the American hog is saved once more, as is the honor of Spain according to Spanish German accounts published in their newspapers. The honor of those people’s common sense, who continue to eat pork in spite of the ugly diseases it produces, is not saved yet. Moses is being vindicated all the time, albeit people’s stupidity appears to be immortal.


– The University of Berlin had this year 188 female students of whom 48 were Jewesses.

– As he has done annually for some time past, Mr. Jacob H. Schiff of New York has sent the Hebrew Union College his check for $1000 dollars. The College has also received $1000 from the executor of the will of the late Moses Millkiser of Richmond, Va.

Editors Note: $1000 dollars in 1898 is equivalent to just over $36,300 dollars in 2023.

– In Buenos Aires (Argentina) appears a Jewish paper in the Polish-Germanic jargon. The poor editor and publisher of this paper can not get Hebrew types in that country. He is compelled to write his whole paper and then lithograph from his manuscript as many copies as he needs for his readers. It is certainly a novelty in the press which American Publishers will not imitate.

— June 16, 1898

100 Years ago


– Officers of the National League of Masonic Clubs, in convention, were informed that copies of a weekly newspaper published in Washington in the interests of the Ku Klux Klan were being distributed at registration headquarters of the convention by representatives of the paper. Orders were issued to have all available copies removed from the hall and sequestrated. President H. Melvin Allen, of the League, declined to discuss the incident until it had been considered by all national officers at a special meeting. The issue of the newspaper distributed contained matter purporting to identify Masonic and Ku Klux Klan interests.

– June first was the 122nd birthday anniversary of Brigham Young, founder of the State of Utah and Salt Lake City. Upon his monument which is erected at the base of Main Street there were 2 wreaths placed by two of his great grandchildren. Mayor Nelson presented one wreath on behalf of the city of Salk Lake and Secretary of State Crockett presented on one behalf of the State of Utah. Rabbi Adolph Steiner of Temple B’nai Israel, delivered a eulogy and praised the spirit of religious liberty that prompted Brigham Young more than seventy-five years ago to lead a small band of men and women through the trackless desert and build a city so beautiful and prosperous. The family of Brigham Young expressed great appreciation for the splendid eulogy Rabbi Steiner delivered.

— June 14, 1923

75 Years ago

Israelis, Arabs Weigh Plan for Truce, Effective Friday, June 11th

A four-week truce between the Israelis and the Arabs in Palestine, to start at 1 a.m. (EST) Friday, June 11th, if approved — has been proposed by Count Folke Bernadotte, United Nations mediator.

He revealed in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, June 8th, that he had made the proposal to both of the warring peoples.

Many observers predicted that the Israelis and the Arabs would accept the recommendation.

Meanwhile, Steward Alsop, widely known columnist, wrote from London Tuesday, June 8th, that the British Government was bringing pressure on the British financed King Abdullah of Transjordan.

The pressure was reported to be in the form of a request that Abdullah make peace with Israel with the information that British subsidies will cease if and when Abdullah’s Arab Legion crosses the UN partition line.

The British effort was viewed by Mr. Alsop as an important step toward harmonizing of British and American Policies regarding Palestine.

Egyptian warriors were reported trying to fight their way out of an Israeli coastal trap Tuesday. Fighting continued in several places in northern Palestine.

Tel Aviv was visited by several air raids Tuesday morning. Casualties in a small hotel were reported.

Editor’s Note: Though the UN did indeed declare a truce that was to begin on June 11th, neither side respected it and ceasefire violations occurred throughout the 28 day peace agreement.

The fighting would not really cease until March 20, 1949, when armistices were sighed between Israel and Egypt, Lebanon, Transjordan, and Syria. The armistice lines that were agreed upon at this time would come to be known as the Green Line.

The Armistice Agreements were generally upheld until June 5, 1967, when the Six Day War began.

— June 10, 1948

50 years ago

Bas Mitzvah

– Dr. and Mrs. Allen Litwin are proud to announce the forthcoming Bas Mitzvah of their daughter, Elise, on June 15 ,1973, at Northern Hills Synagogue, 715 Fleming Road, at 8 p.m. Relatives and friends are cordially invited to worship with the family on this happy occasion and to attend the Oneg Shabbat immediately following the service.

Elise is the granddaughter of Mrs. Irwin Berger of Hallandale, Fla., and Dr. and Mrs. Morris J. Litwin of Amberley Village.

No cards. 

– Mr. and Mrs. Herschel B. Miller announce the Bas Mitzvah of their daughter, Bonnie Phyllis, on Friday, June 22, at 8:15 p.m., at Isaac M. Wise Temple, Reading Road and N. Crescent Avenue.

Relatives and friends are cordially invited to worship with the family and to attend the Oneg Shabbat following the services.

Bonnie is the granddaughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Barnet Grand and the late Mr. and Mrs. Philip Miller.

No cards.

Bar Mitzvah

– Mr. and Mrs. Frank L. Oppenheimer are pleased to announce the Bar Mitzvah of their son, Michael Donald, Saturday, June 16, at 10:45 a.m., at Rockdale Temple. Friends are cordially invited to worship with the family and to attend the Kiddush luncheon following services.

– Mr. and Mrs. Harold Gillett invite their family and friends to join them Saturday, June 16, when their son, Gerson Jay, will be called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah.

Services will start at 9 a.m. at Ohav Shalom Synagogue, 1834 Section Road. A Kiddush will immediately follow the service.

Gerson is the grandson of Mrs. Rose Likerman and the late Mr. Gershen Likerman and the late Mr. and Mrs. Louis B. Gillett.

— June 14, 1973

25 Years ago

‘Three Guys and a Torah’ bring Spirit of Sabbath to radio airwaves

On a typical Friday afternoon in Cincinnati, most people are tired after a long week and anxious to beat the rush hour traffic. The Sabbath spirit may not be easily felt in the air, but now it can at least be heard on the airwaves.

One need only turn the radio dial to 88.3 FM.

A New program on WAIF, titled “Three Guys and a Torah, combines Judaism’s times wisdom and contemporary issues with a bit of humor. Co-host Tom Heyn, a fifth-year student at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, conceived of the show as “a king of Jewish Car Talk.”

“You’ve got to start somewhere, and we’re starting at the grass-roots level, literally.” Hey says their subterranean studios are located in the basement of the Alms Hotel on Victory Parkway, where WAIF was been housed since 1975.

“The show many not appeal to everyone, however,” co-host Jonathan Siger, a third-year rabbinical student cautions. He describes the program as “decidedly non-traditional.” “We bring to our reading of the Torah the combined insights derived from a more psychological and historical perspective.”

— June 18, 1998

10 Years ago

Cincinnati community remembers Benjamin Gettler

In a speech given on June 7, 1945, General George S. Patton concluded: “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.”

This quote is fitting for a community leader like Benjamin Gettler, who passed away on June 4, 2013, at the age of 87.

Reviewing Mr. Gettler’s career, we are thankful for his many lasting contributions to our lives. A prominent businessman, successful attorney, political activist and civic leader, we in Cincinnati will particularly remember him for his contributions while president of the Jewish Community Relations Council, his work in creating the Jewish Foundation, his leadership positions on the boards of the University of Cincinnati and Jewish Hospital, his role in providing regional transportation for all citizens and his involvement in the Republican Party. Further, he was the executive director of the Rockwern Charitable Fund. Nationally, Mr. Gettler was one of the founders of the Republican Jewish Coalition, and served as Chairman of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.

— June 13, 2013