Winnebago County, Illinois
JEWS HAVE FORMED NEW SYNAGOGUE
RABBI DUNYA HERE TO PRESIDE OVER IT -- THIRTY MEMBERS HERE
Meat Killed by Rabbi Now on Sale to Comply With Regulations of Old Mosaic Law--First Synagogue Here
Orthodox Jews in Rockford have formed a synagogue, the first ever organized here, and worship now according to the forms of their ancient religion. Not only do they have their worship according to the forms of their church but the presence of a rabbi makes possible the killing and selling of Kosher meat, that prescribed for the orthodox Jew by his church whenever it can be obtained. The synagogue numbers about thirty members who meet weekly in Union hall, Kishwaukee and Third streets. Rabbi Dunya, formerly of Racine, has some here at the request of the leaders and will preside over the synagogue permanently. It is hoped the church will be able to retain its organization and enlarge and eventually erect a building for use as a synagogue. It has been only recently that enough of the orthodox Jews have made their homes in Rockford to make possible the formation of a church and advantage was taken of the enlarged number now here to secure a rabbi and start the church. One of the interesting features in connection with the new church is the killing and preparation of the meat used by the members of the Jewish church. Complying with the law as laid down by Mosaics the animals are killed by rabbi in person, the prescribed parts prepared according to the rules and the meat cut and sold by the rabbi, all the minutiae in the preparation and handling being thus under his own supervision and care. Each day the rabbi goes to the abbatoir of the Carty, Denver, Mannix company on the Wolf Grove road and slaughters the beef, mutton and veal necessary for the needs of the purchasers and sees that it is handled according to the provision of the old law. He has a block in the East State street market of the same firm and there at stated hours in the day he presides and sells the meat, cutting and handling it in accordance with the church rules. No other meat is allowed to touch this block and only certain portions of the meat are sold. The remainder are sold in the regular way to all comers. Previous to this provision for their meat, Jews living in this city have been compelled to use meats in the usual way, none other being available. Now that, the proper methods are followed to comply with the Mosaic law the Jews purchase from the rabbi and fulfill the demands of their religion. [--Rockford Morning Star, June 24, 1906]
JEWISH NEW YEAR NEXT SATURDAY
SEPTEMBER 26 MARKS 5369TH YEAR OF CREATION
HISTORY OF HOLIDAY
Local Orthodox Hebrews Will Observe the Feast Day--Already Preparing for Observance of Holiday
Rosh ha-Shanah, Jewish new year's day, which marks the beginning of the 5369th year since the creation of the world will be celebrated in this city Saturday, September 26. Rosh ha-Shanah also marks the beginning of the ten penitential days which precede the day of the atonement which is on October 6. The day of the atonement is also an important day on the Jewish church calendar and is celebrated by appropriate services. The ten days preceding it are devoted by the Jews to the repentance of their sins. The observance of Rosh ha-Shanah, a most solemn day, is based principally on traditional laws and is a memorial service of the day "holy to the Lord." According to the Jewish traditions, Rosh ha-Shanah is the most important judgement day on which all the inhabitants of the world pass for judgement before the Creator as sheep pass for examinations before the shepherd. Three books of accounts are opened on this day wherein the fate of the wicked, the righteous and those of an intermediate class are recorded. The names of the righteous and those of an intermediate class are recorded. The names of the righteous are immediately inscribed and they are sealed to live. TThe middle classes are allowed a respite of ten days to repent and become righteous, while the wicked are blotted out of the book of the living. The Zodiac sign of the balance for A'shi is claimed to indicate the scales of judgement balancing the meritorious against the wicked acts of the person judged. The firest day of Tishi was considered by the best authorities as the beginning of creation. On Rosh ha-Shanah the means of sustenance of every person area apportioned for the ensuing year, and so are also his destined losses. Certain authorities also claim that indications of the weather may likewise be ascertained on Rosh ha-Shanah. If the day is warm it indicates a warm year and if cold, it foretells generally a cold year. According to the ideas of some authorities, one should eat on Rosh ha-Shanah, pumpkins, fenugreeks, leeks, beets and dates because they all grow quickly and because it is declared their names, in Aramaic, mean plentiful, or forgiveness. The prevailing custom was to partake of some specially palatable meal on New Year's eve. In some places grapes supplied the table and in others apples or figs and a calf's head, the latter as an omen reason for eating an animal's head is to presage that the consumer will be ahead and not backward in his undertakings during the ensuing year. But nuts were not allowed to be eaten for the reason that they stimulate the saliva and consequently distracts the minds from prayer on this solemn day.
In modern times the table is served with grapes and other fruits and honey. After the benediction the bread is dipped in the honey, when the following benediction is recited: "May it please the Lord our God and God of our fathers to renew for us a good and sweet year." The feasting is in anticipation that the prayers will be acceptable, and in reliance on the goodness of God. In the earliest times the Hebrew year began in autumn with the opening of the economic year. There then followed in regular succession the seasons of seeding, growing and ripening of the corn under the influence of the former, and the latter rains harvest and ingathering of the fruits. The Jews, on Rosh ha-Shanah, were dressed in white. Unlike the accused who is dressed in black before the tribunal, they are dressed in white on the Day of Judgement. Only the first of Tishri was celebrated as New Year's day in Palestine prior to the time of R. Johnanan, but ever since that time Palestine, like other countries observed Rosh ha-Shanah for two days. The New Year service begins with the preliminary prayers for Sabbath and holy days with interpolating referring to the new year's blessings. The main benediction begins with Ube-Ken, praying for the recognition of God's power, the restoration of the Jewish state, reward of the righteous and punishment of the wicked, and universal theocracy.
On the first day of Rosh ha-Shanah occurs the observance of Tashlik, which is an illustration of the sentence "Thou wilt cast all thy sins into the depths of the sea." and it is customary to congregate near a running stream on the afternoon of New Year's day when the 7th chapter of Micah, from the 18th to the 20th verses are recited and penitential prayers are offered. The custom of throwing bread to the fishes, the eyes of which are always open, symbolizes the guardian of Israel who slumbereth not. "The deeps of the sea saw the genesis of Creation, therefore to throw bread into the water on New Year's day, the anniversary of creation, is appropriate tribute to the Creator. The cabalistic practice of shaking the ends of one's garments at the ceremony, as though casting away demons of sin, has been denounced by many, as it created the impression among the common peoples that by literally throwing their sins into the sea to be swept away by the stream they might escape them without repenting and making amends, but the orthodox Jews of New York City perform the ceremony in large numbers from the Brooklyn and Manhatten bridges. [--Rockford Morning Star, September 19, 1908]
SYNAGOGUE TO BE DEDICATED
As Soon as I. Rubin is able to Return Home from Chicago--Is Ill in the City at Present--Building and Interior Completed
Rockford's Jewish Synagogue is to be dedicated in the near future. The date for the festivity hinges now only on the return of I. Rubin from Chicago, who has been ill at the hospital there for some time. The building is completed, both the exterior and interior, and forms a beautiful place of worship for the congregation which is comparatively small. The auditorium will hold three hundred people, which is at present more than sufficient to accomodate the worshippers. The walls on the interior have been finished in ingrain, in a delicate grayish shade, while the ceiling in accordance with their ideas is hand painted in grays and blues to reproduce the sky and hazy cloud effects. The platform is surrounded by eight large square pillars, each surrounded by a square globe enclosing an electric bulb. Each globe bears the Jewish star in colored glass, and forms a most effective design. Dark oak finish has been employed in all the wood work. The pews were made in Rockford but the altar, a special design, is being completed in Chicago. The formal of opening of the opening of the church will mark a day of general festivity and rejoicing among the people of the Jewish faith in Rockford. [--Rockford Republic, March 2, 1911]
BUILDERS START WORK ON BETH-EL SYNAGOGUE
Excavation for the new Reformed Temple Beth-El was begun this morning at the site of the edifice at N. Main and Salem sts. The contract for the building has been let to Pearce Brothers, contractors. The cost of the building is between $40,000 and $50,000. Temple Beth-El will be patterned after the best of the Chicago temples on a smaller scale. It will be finished in red brick. The temple will have an auditorium on the main floor to seat about 300 persons. There will be an organ of the newest and finest type and a choir loft. In the basement there will be Sunday school, social, dining rooms and a kitchen. Temple Beth El will be completed, according to presents plans, in time for the celebration of the Jewish New Year, September 18. This is an important holiday of the Hebrew calendar and an elaborate celebration will be arranged. Laying of the cornerstone and dedication of the temple will take place with approprate ceremonies during the summer. George Seidler, Charles Shanhouse, Paul Udelowich, Sigmund Mayer and Joseph Goldman are the building committee. Rabbi Leon Frams remains as a visiting rabbi for Congregation Beth El. It has not as yet been decided whether of not there will be a permanent resident rabbi for the new temple. Congregation Beth El will have its final service of the year on Sunday evening, May 24, at 8 o'clock when the Feast of the Weeks will be observed. Rabbi Fram will conduct the service at Church of the Christian Union. [--Rockford Republic, May 14, 1925]
SYNAGOGUE READY BY NEXT FALL
An impressive ceremony for the laying of the cornerstone of the new Temple Beth-El at N. Main and Salem sts. was held Sunday afternoon with several hundred members of reformed congregation Beth-El and a number of friends from out of town in attendance. Rabbi Leon Fram of Temple Indrea, Chicago, who also serves congregation Beth-El, George E. Seidler, chairman of the building committee and speakers of the afternoon occupied the platform erected at the cornerstone. Rabbi Fram was in charge of the ceremony and Mr. Seidler presided, introducing the speakers, Judge Earl D. Reynolds and Barney Thompson. The part women of the congregation have taken in achieving its endeavors was outlined by Mrs. Paul Mosk, president of Beth-El auxiliary, and Mrs. George E. Seidler, an active worker in the congregation.
In his address Judge Reynolds declared the laying of the cornerstone of the new temple to be a proud hour for the Jewish community. He paid tribute to the Jewish people for their faith in law and order and for their good citizenship. He noted their patriotism during the dark war days, and praised them for their loyalty to all American ideals. He expressed his pleasure at bringing the greetings of the county to the enterprise of the new temple and his hope that the Jewish community would always hold together in a fine spirit of race unity. In his cornerstone sermon, Rabbi Fram praised the spirit of friendliness that has permitted Congregation Beth-El to hold its services for the past several years in the auditorium of a church of Christian faith, Church of the Christian Union. He urged his people to exemplify this spirit of brotherliness in all their endeavors and to uphold the high tenets of the Hebrew race. "I know enough of Hebrew to know that your word El stands for God, always the simplest, shortest, and most expressive word in a language," said Barney Thompson. "And I know that your word Beth means house. There is something splendid about a temple and its significance when it is the House of God." He praised the Hebrew race its admirable endeavors throughout the centuries and expressed his regret that their fine deeds had not always met with gratitude. He extended the greetings of good will of the community to those of the Hebrew faith.
An historical sketch of Congregation Beth-El, summarized briefly to the audience by Louis J. Shanhouse, newpapers with articles concerning the new temple, and old coins were placed in the cornerstone. For the actual laying of the cornerstone, the building committee, George E. Seidler, chairman, Charles Shanhouse, Sigmund Mayer, Paul Udelowish, Isaac Goldman, and Joseph Goldman, was called to the platform. A prayer in Hebrew was offered by Rabbi Fram as the cornerstone was put in place. The ceremony concluded with the singing of America by the congregation led by Mrs. Joseph Goldman. The cornerstone of the new Temple Beth-El is the first to be laid in a Jewish synagogue in Rockford. Work on the new edifice was begun early in June and it is expected that the building will be completed in time for the Jewish holidays in September. The building, of colonial design, copied after Temple Sinai at Champaign, will have two stories with an auditorium seating 300 persons and the pastor's study on the upper floor with social rooms and kitchen on the lower floor. [--Rockford Republic, July 13, 1925]
DEDICATION OF TEMPLE IMPRESSIVE
Three Rabbis to Take Part in Ceremonial at New House of Worship
Congregation Beth El's newly completed temple at N. Main and Salem sts. will be dedicated on Sunday afternoon, May 2, at 3 o'clock. Three out-of-town rabbis, Rabbi Felix Levi, Temple Emmanuel, Chicago; Rabbi Leon Fram, of Temple Beth-El, Detroit; and Rabbi Julius Mark, Temple Beth El, South Bend, Ond., will speak, and a Rockford clergyman will represent the non-Jewish friends of the local temple. A special musical program will be given in charge of of Mrs. Oscar Keller, contralto, who is music director for the temple. In the evening, at 6 o'clock, following ceremonies, a banquet will be served in the temple social rooms. Many out-of-town friends, who have followed with interest the progress of the building here, will be guests of the day.
On Sunday evening at 8 o'clock, Temple Beth El will observe the close of the Passover with a sermon by Rabbi Mark, the Message of the Passover. [--Rockford Republic, April 3, 1926]
JEWISH HOLIDAY "PURIM" CELEBRATED WEDNESDAY
Thursday is to be celebrated by Jews in Rockford and throughout the country as the anniversary of the interesting event to be call "The Feast of Lots," or "Purim," as it is known in Hebrew. The story upon which the national holiday is based concerns Haman, prime minister of Persia, who influences Abansveroth, the king, to have all Persian Jews massacred. The king becomes displeased with the queen, dethrones her and chooses and new queen, Esther, who unknown to him, is a Jewess. Just as hope for saving the Jews seems lost, the queen dramatically discloses her identity and saves her people. Rabi Soffer of Ohave Sholem synagogue, 1st. avenue, announces that services to commemorate the holiday will be held Wednesday at 6 p.m. and the following morning at a.m. In addition the Sunday school will present a playlet based on "Purim" in the synagogue's vestry rooms Sunday, March 4, at 3 p.m. [--Rockford Register-Republic, February 27, 1934]
ROCKFORD JEWS MARK FEAST OF TABERNACLES
Jews in Rockford and throughout the world today were celebrating the yearly holiday of Sukkoth, otherwise known as the Feast of Tabernacles, which is observed for eight days by reform Jews and nine days by orthodox and conservative congregations. The festival began Monday night on the 15th day of the seventh month, Tishri, of the Hebrew calendar. Sukkoth is the Hebrew word for booth, or hut, a temporary abode where people were accustomed to dwell during the harvest season in the agricultural state of ancient Israel. The holiday was the foreruner of the Puritan's Thanksgiving day in the United States. --Rockford Register-Republic, September 27, 1950
SEDER TO START OBSERVANCE OF PASSOVER
by GEORGE DEPEW
When members of Temple Beth El begin the 8-day observance of Passover at sundown tonight, their prayer will go out for all oppressed people of the world. During a Passover congregational seder at the temple, Rabbi Lester A. Franzin said a piece of matzo, or unleavened bread, will be set aside in memory of the Jews in the Soviet Union, whose suppression includes being unable to obtain the symbolic foods used in the deeply significant Passover seders. The ancient tale of the Exodus from Egypt delivering the people of Israel from bondage in Egypt will be observed by Jews all over the world during the Passover festival. At the seder tonight, which Rabbi Franzin said will be the largest ever held in the temple, the symbolic foods will be explained as a meal progresses. A number of Rockford College students have been invited to attend. Ohave Sholom Synagogue Rockford's Conservative Jewish congregations, will have Passover services at 6:30 p.m. today and Tuesday, 8 p.m. Friday, and a series of morning and evening services beginning at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. The final Passover service at 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 28, will be the traditional Yizkor memorial service. In addition to activites in the synaogues, Passover seders will be held in many Jewish homes. Rabbi Franzin said the Passover observance is oriented toward children, so that they will become fully aware of the long history of Jewish oppression, the oppression of many peoples still going on, and the redemption made possible by God. Children play an important part in the seder service. The youngest member of the fmaily poses four questons at the beginning of seder, noting the difference between the Passover ritual meal and regular, everyday meals. This sets the stage for the telling of the Exodus story. The seder plate contains a number of symbolic foods. Charoses, a pastry micture that signifies the mortar used by the Israelites to make bricks for the Egyptian pyramids; moror, bitter herbs which recall the bitter period of bondage; the shank bone, symbolizing the paschal lamb; and a roasting egg, representing the burnt offering presented each day of the festival during the existence of the Temple of Jerusalem. [--Rockford Register-Republic, April 20, 1970]
Customs, Culinary Specialties Always Handed Down
by Eleanor Overfield and Leona Carlson
Centers of Jewish family life in Rockford are the city's two houses of worship--Ohave Sholom Synagogue, located in a brand new building at 3730 Guilford Road, and Temple Beth-El, also in a new edifice at Mauh-Nah-Tee-See and Comanche Road. With a congregation of about 75 families, Ohave Sholom represents the conservative Hebrew element, with emphasis on tradition and past customs. Temple Beth-El's services and rituals are on the reformed pattern--"more Americanized," as one member describes it. The congregation numbers about 170. Both have women's organizations whose activities help preserve their Jewish heritage and enrich the community by opening them to the public. Temple Beth-El Sisterhood members gather at the Temple in weeks of group-cooking sessions to prepare Jewish delicacies by the hundreds of dozens in preparation for their annual Food-A-Rama luncheon and sale held in the spring. At Ohave Sholom, the sisterhood has a bake sale annually in connection with a fund-raising card party. Apart from their culinary ethnic activities, Temple Beth-El also sponsors an anual art auction for the community, featuring primarily Israeli art.
Rockford also has active chapters of Hadassah and B'nai B'rith, international organizations for Jewish women and men, respectively, whose purpose is to help support the state of Israel. Widely used for a variety of activities is the Jewish Community Center at 1502 Parkview Ave., sponsored by the National Jewish Agency with programs primarily Jewish in flavor. Summer day camp, year-round nursery school, film and lecture series and an outdoor swimming pool area among its programs. Open to the entire Rockford community, membership is about 60 per cent Jewish. [--Rockford Morning Star, June 1, 1972]
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