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The Sixteenth Anniversary of the Elm Street Synagogue [Bnai Jeshurun] of New York

It is only a few years back, when there were but six Synagogues open for worship in the United States, to wit: one in New York, two in Philadelphia, one in Richmond, one in Charleston, and one in Savannah. But now the name of the Lord is invoked in the tongue of the land of Canaan in at least twenty places dedicated to the service of the Most High. We lack the authentic materials to state particulars; but we are certain that we have not overrated the number of Synagogues in the Republic, and doubtlessly the number will be rapidly increased, if we may take the history of the past few years as a criterion.

When the separation first took place in New York, the only house of worship then in that city would have held with ease all the worshippers that resorted thither; but now, after the lapse of sixteen years, the increase of Israelites in this centre of commerce has been such that every little while a new house of God becomes necessary for the accommodation of the brethren.

Last Sabbath קרח (the 1st of July) was, as we learn, celebrated as the Sixteenth Anniversary of the founding of the Elm Street Synagogue, now under the pastoral charge of the Rev. S. M. Isaacs, whose labours in the field of our faith have been blessed with ample returns, since many have been brought, under the blessing of Heaven, by the influence of his preaching, to an acknowledgement of the sinfulness of their ways, and to a reformation of their misconduct. Thus, for instance, several have lately again closed their places of business on the Sabbath, which gratifying spectacle has also been witnessed within the last few months, as we learn from private communications, in Kingston, Jamaica, St. Thomas, and Charleston, S. C. So that we may freely say, that though the agitation in our Synagogues has had some unpleasant results, it has yet led to inquiry, and consequently to much good; for the greatest enemy our faith can have is lethargic indifference to the doctrines and duties which have been handed down to us.

All these circumstances must naturally have been enough to cause the surviving founders of the above synagogue to congratulate each other on the good result which has sprung from its establishment, seeing that the spiritual as well as the temporal condition of the community is visibly improving every year, which is evidenced by the fact that new seats have to be provided constantly to accommodate those who are anxious to worship within the walls of their house of prayer. The distant reader may form an idea of the prosperous state of the finances, when we state that the income for this year, will be, as is supposed, near six thousand dollars; and we mention this fact only as proving that the members and worshippers in the Elm Street Synagogue understand fully their duty of endowing properly the public worship which has been instituted for the benefit of all.

We trust that the righteous spirit which we are told to prevail among this congregation, may also spread and extend to the Israelitish communities of other cities, and that they may all be provided with proper pastors to guide them wisely and understandingly.