In the Beginning: 1854

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

Teacher and Lecturer Wanted

The Congregation of K.K. Benai Israel, of Cincinnati, desires to engage a suitable person, competent to deliver lectures, alternately each Sabbath, in the German and English tongues; also to superintend a school. To such a one the present salary will be $1,000 per annum, and if fitted for and elected to the office of Hazan, the salary will be $1500 per annum.

Editor’s Note: K.K. Benai Israel is now Rockdale Temple, the oldest congregation west of the Allegheny Mountains. It was founded in 1824. The offered salary of $1000 dollars per year is equivalent to approximately $36,300 dollars in 2023.

— August 18, 1854

150 Years ago

Foreign Record

– AUSTRO-HUNGARY. — The envoys from the English Bible Society, who have been openly distributing conversionist tracts in Presburg. Have been assaulted by the populace and expelled from the city.

– HOLLAND. — At the provincial rifle competition held at the Helder three weeks ago, four religionists were successful in obtaining prizes, the principle one falling to the lot of Captain M. Mendes da Costa, of Amsterdam.

– SPAIN. — This once prosperous and important country is now a prey to anarchy, and is distracted by civil war. The star of Don Carlos seems to be in the ascendant; and if he should be successful, none can doubt that there will again be a relapse into bigotry and the reign of the priesthood. At present a democratic Republic is the form of government; and the draft of the new constitution which the Ministry is seeking to adopt acknowledges, among other things, the right of religious worship to be completely free, and proclaims the separation of Church and State.

Local and Domestic

– PORTLAND, OREGON. — Among the victims who lost their lives in consequence of the conflagration that laid part of Portland in ashes last Satruday, is our co-religionist Samuel Loewenstein, member of the firm of Emil Loewenstein & Co. The loss sustained by this fire is estimated at $50,000.

– A number of Israelite citizens of Chicago have addressed a petition to Mayor Medill, asking protection from disturbances of their Sabbath, beginning on Friday and ending on Saturday evening, by prohibiting the carrying on of trade in the vicinity of their places of worship. No action has yet been taken upon the petition.

— August 15, 1873

125 Years ago


– Mr. H. Kabitshok of Chariton, Iowa, has sent us $1 for the H.U. College.

Editor’s Note: Mr. Kabitshok’s donation of $1 in 1898 is equivalent to a donation of approximately $37 dollars in 2023.

– None besides the printer is responsible for the typographical blunders in the Hebrew quotations in this journal. If we would publish errata, there would be as many blunders in it as the original. Typesetters have their own whims, which nether Faust nor Guttenberg could overcome.

The Observer (New York, Evangelical) asserts that the destruction of the Spanish fleet at Santiago was a direct interposition of the Almighty to punish Cervera for starting a battle on Sunday. Now will The Observer tell us how it was that Dewey, who did precisely the same thing, instead of being crushed won a most glorious victory.

Editor’s Note: Pascual Cervera y Topete was a Spanish admiral during the Spanish American war, which was currently ongoing at the time of this publication. George Dewey was an American Admiral who famously won the Battle of Manila, which is likely the Sunday battle to which this item refers.

– Says the New York Sun: Of the sixty or more Red Cross Auxiliaries, no one probably has rendered more enthusiastic or valuable aid to the soldiers than the council of Jewish Women, known as Auxiliary No. 8. Up to the present time this society has sent to the hospital ships 2,000 bed sheets, 1,800 pillow cases, 2,000 towels, 1,000 mosquito net canopies, 1,200 pairs of socks, 1,550 abdominal bands, 300 pairs of blankets and 500 pajamas. Mrs. Jacob H. Schiff is the treasurer.

— August 18, 1898

100 Years ago


– Samuel Untermyer, President of the Palestine Foundation Fund, has received a letter from Dr. Arthur Rupin, the foremost colonization expert of Palestine, to visit that country and “see for yourself what is going on here.” Dr. Ruppin who recently visited the United States, laid before Mr. Untermyer a number of proposals looking toward the further development of Palestine.

– David A. Brown, who won such distinction as head of the great national appeal for the war sufferers, has consented to take an active part under the chairmanship of Louis Marshall to raise a $1,000,000 fund for the Jewish Theological Seminary at New York City. Certainly there is no one better equipped for this undertaking than Mr. Brown, and he will succeed in raising the fund, if any man in the country can do it.

Editor’s Note: A $1,000,000 fundraising goal in 1923 is equivalent to about $17,843,000 in 2023.

– A new process of stage lighting, which he believes will eventually do away with the present system, has been invented by David Belasco, and the equipment for it has been installed in the Belasco Theater. Mr. Belasco, who has made stage lighting his particular study, bases his new scheme upon the principle of the rainbow, and obtains his colors through reflection. The new equipment abolishes what are known in the theater as “gelatin mediums,” Silver reflectors, treated with dyes, are used to get the color values. 

– A report just received from the Immigration Department of the Zionist Executive in Palestine, covering the period from June, 1922, to March, 1923, inclusive, reveals the fact that during this period of ten months, a total of 7,943 emigrants entered Palestine. Of these the analysis shows that 2,738 were unmarried, 1,421 were married, and that there were 3, 784 dependents. With regard to the country of origin, those coming from Poland numbered 2,155; from Russia 2,000; Ukraine 651, and the remaining from Lithuania, Turkey, Morocco, Roumania and other countries of Central and Southern Europe. Those coming from America number 194.

— August 16, 1923

75 Years ago

James A. Rosenthal, John L. Bloch Named Co-Chairmen for Chest

James A. Rosenthal and John L. Bloch will be the vice chairmen in District H, the Avondale area, for the 1949 Community Chest campaign, Co-Chairmen James N. Heldman and Robert I. Westheimer announced today.

In last year’s campaign the two held the same positions and both had taken part in the drive in other years.

Mr. Rosenthal lives at 897 Clinton Springs Avenue and Mr. Bloch at 946 Redway Avenue.

Cincinnati Social and Personal

Mr. John H. Gorssman, 16, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Grossman, 849 E. Mitchell Avenue, has won the expert rifleman’s medal, it was announced in Whasington by the National Rifle Association, governing body of competitive rifle and pistol shooting for the United States.

He took up the target sport five years ago. He has climbed steadily through the 13 lower rankings and needs only one more to reach the top drawer of the junior shooters — the distinguished rifleman’s medal.

The youth is a senior at Walnut Hills High School and a member of the Camp Nebagamon (Wisc.) Rifle Club.

– Miss Rebecca Hymon, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. I Hymon of Roselawn, is spending her vacation in Miami Beach.

— August 12, 1948

50 years ago

Valley Temple’s Groundbreaking This Saturday

Bernard S. Reckseit, president, announces that the official sanctification and groundbreaking ceremony of the new Valley Temple Structure will be held Saturday, Aug. 18, at 10:30 a.m. at 145 Springfirled Pike.

Louis Rauh, chairman for the ceremony, said there will be a Shabbat Service, greetings from the civic and religious leaders of Wyoming and Cincinnati, tree-planting ceremony and refreshments.

Bar Mitzvah

– Dr. and Mrs. Sheldon Farber are happy to announce the forthcoming Bar Mitzvah of their son, Wayne Jeffrey, on Saturday, Aug. 25, at 10:45 a.m., at Temple Sholom 3100 Longmeadow Lane.

They would be honored to have their friend and relatives worship with them and join them for the luncheon following services.

Wayne is the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Barnett Ellenson and Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Farber and the late Dorothy Farber. 

– Our son, Frank David, will celebrate his Bar Mitzvah Saturday morning, Sept. 1, 1973, at 10:45 a.m., at the Plum Street Temple.

We cordially invite our friends to worship with us on this happy occasion.

Roz and Bob Chaiken.

— August 16, 1973

25 Years ago

Paul and Stern named to new Federation posts

Nina Paul and Ronald H. Stern have been appointed co-chairmen of the newly formed Pacesetter Department, previously known as the Major Gifts Division. The department is responsible for the fundraising and programming for all donors of $5,000 or more to the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati Campaign. The Major Gifts Division included gifts of $10,000 and more.

“We felt that it was important to be more inclusive with members of our community who are making substantial contributions to our organization,” said Paul.

Acclaimed cantor returns to B’nai Tzedek

Cantor Ray Kantor is returning this year for the fifth time to lead High Holiday services with Rabbi Judy Spicehandler at Congregation B’nai Tzedek.

Kantor is a European-trained chazzan who learned his cantorial skills in a Chassidic congregation in Poland before the war.

As Kantor is a Holocaust survivor and among the few remaining traditional European cantors, a tape of his High Holiday services at B’nai Tzedek was presented to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. during a special memorial service led by Kantor at the Holocaust Museum.

— August 20, 1998

10 Years ago

Adath Israel welcomes new rabbinic intern

Adath Israel is pleased to welcome Ricky Kamil, a 4th year Rabbinical School student at Hebrew Union College, as their Rabbinic Intern. Ricky received his bachelor’s degree at Michigan State University in 2008, in a combination major of religion and philosophy. Since entering Rabbinical School, he has served as student rabbi in two pulpits, in Rapid City, Iowa, and Terre Haute, Ind.

Kamil’s duties include, but are not limited to, assisting and supporting Rabbi Wise, the congregation’s Senior Rabbi, periodically leading services, including family and youth services, helping plan and implement family education programs, and teaching in the adult education program.

Cedar Village shows substantial growth by adding services

Robert Rosen, the Chair of Cedar Village’s Board of Trustees, is confident about the retirement community’s future as Cedar Village continues to show “tremendous” growth by adding new services.

Rosen, who is serving the second of two years as chair, gave that assessment at the annual joint meeting of the boards of Cedar Village and the Cedar Village Foundation.

Cedar Village is keeping up with new technology and trends in retirement communities, he reported. “We’re setting a bar of excellence in everything we do. The future is incredibly exciting.”

— August 15, 2013