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CHAPTER XXV.

THE JEWS.

The first company of Jews in this country came from Brazil in 1654. The first synagogue was established in Mill Street, New York City, now known as Broad Street. It was called the Shearith Israel (Remnant of Israel), and the society is still in active existence, occupying a building on West Nineteenth Street. As according to custom ten males above the age of thirteen can form a Jewish congregation, it is quite probable that there was Jewish worship before the first synagogue was opened, although it was doubtless conducted with some secrecy, as a petition to the authorities of New Amsterdam in 1685 for the privilege of exercising the rites of the Jewish religion was denied. "No public worship,” so ran the reply, “is tolerated by act of assembly but to those that profess faith in Christ." Later some of the Jews in New York removed to Newport, R. I., and there held regular services, securing in 1763 a synagogue, to which the chief contributors were sons of the minister of the congregation, the Rev. Isaac Touro. One of these sons, Abraham Touro, gave $10,000 for the completion of the Bunker Hill monument. Jewish congregations were organized in Savannah, Ga., in 1733; in Lancaster, Pa., in 1776; in Philadelphia in 1780 and 1782; and in Charleston, S. C., in 1791. Of these congregations those in the South and one of those in Philadelphia used the ritual of the Portuguese Jews, the others that of the German Jews.

The Jews of America have no religious head. Each congregation is autonomous, and responsible to its members only. It is said that an effort in New York to bring the Orthodox congregations under the care of a chief rabbi is not wholly satisfactory.

The statistics of Jewish congregations are not frequently or periodically gathered, as is the custom of most religious denominations; but twice at least in the last forty years efforts have been made to ascertain the number of Jewish congregations in the United States, once in 1854 and again in 1880. According to the earlier report there were in 1854 97 regularly organized congregations, of which 30 were in the State of New York. The latter count was made under the auspices of the Board of Delegates of American Israelites and the Union of Hebrew Congregations, and it required several years to complete the compilation. The results, which have been regarded as quite accurate, indicated the existence of 270 congregations, with 12,546 members, or about 50,000 communicants. The value of the real estate held by the congregations was returned at $4,706,700, with other property aggregating $1,497,878, or a total of $6,204,578, exclusive of burying-grounds.

The tables presented herewith show that there are 533 congregations of Orthodox and Reformed Jews, with 130,496 communicants. It should be noted that in Jewish congregations the head of a family only is counted. The members of the family are represented by one person. The number given as communicants, therefore, does not indicate the number of members of a synagogue.

Mem

bers of families may, on attaining their majority, rent a pew and be counted as a member of a synagogue or temple, but they seldom do so until they have a household of their own.

1.—THE ORTHODOX JEWS.

There are two branches or schools of thought in the Jewish religion, commonly designated the Orthodox and the Reformed. The attempt is here made to tabulate the statistics in accordance with this classification. It is difficult, however, in some cases to know how to draw the lines. Under the above heading those congregations are embraced which adhere to the ancient rites and ceremonies, observing the Bible as expounded and expanded by the prophets and rabbis. The Orthodox Jews accept the Schulchan Aruch as authoritative in all its requirements. It is a codification, made by Rabbi Joseph Karo in the middle of the sixteenth century, of the laws and ceremonies expounded by the rabbis of the Talmud and handed down from generation to generation by tradition. It provides for the minutest details of Jewish life, and those who accept it consider it as binding as the law of Moses itself. Halls to the number of 193, with a seating capacity of 24,847, are occupied as places of worship. The average seating capacity of the churches is 384, and the average value $22,967.

SUMMARY BY STATES.
Organi- Church

Seating

pacity. Property. Alabama.. California 7 5 2,225 $93,000

2,344 Colorado.

800 25,500 662 Connecticut

500 12,000

Value of
Church

STATES.

Ca

Communicants.

zations. Edifices.

I

325

4
6

3
1

926

SUMMARY BY STATES.—Continued.

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Seating

Capacity.

75 200 2,175

650

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260 175 575 1,200 1,775 2,150

400 1,100

8

Value of ComChurch muni. Property. cants. $2,000 40

8,000 240 121,500 4,405 6,500 1,299

50 12,000 403

1,500 200 20,000

629 43,000 775 110,500 1,201 36,000 2,150 25,000 750 58,000 1,432

140 5,500 550

44.300 2,521 1,919,500 29,064 6,500

73

30 67,000 2,313

16,000 475 116,250 2,447 20,000 685 8,500 425

65

44 17,000 493

150 7,000 291

District of Columbia
Georgia
Illinois.
Indiana.
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky.
Louisiana
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Missouri
Montana..
Nebraska
New Jersey.
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
Tennessee
Texas
Vermont.
Virginia
Washington
Wisconsin.

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Total .

316 122

46,837 $2,802,050 57,597

2.-THE REFORMED JEWS.

Under this classification are included all Jewish congregations which do not recognize as absolute the authority of the Schulchan Aruch. In some cases the departure from orthodoxy is slight, as in worshiping with the hat off, the mingling of the sexes in the synagogue or temple, and the introduction of the organ and female choir. There are 38 halls, with a seating capacity of 6360, occupied as places of worship. The average seating capacity of the edifices is 516, and their average value $38,839, which is unequaled.

SUMMARY BY STATES.

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Alabama
Arkansas
California
Colorado.
Connecticut
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Illinois.
Indiana .
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Nebraska
New Jersey
New Mexico.
New York.
North Carolina

1,160

4 4 6

2

4

850 2,875 3,900 2,440 1,900

724 1,750 3,033

500 2,420

Value of ComChurch muni. Property. cants. $103,500 2,843

44,000 744 303,000 3,835 50,000 400 75,000 695 40,000 936

13,500 147 151,000

1,846 465,000

5,766 160,000

2,318 58,000 487

83 16,000 755 255,000 2,745 223,500 2,800 135,000 1,300 118,000 1,543 45,000 64,000 1,370 183,800

15,000 512 124,000 1,755

50 2,395,700 16,743

30,000 313 636,225 6,576 80,000

690 552,500 5,582 25,000 225 78,000 800 106,000 1,335 182,000 1,929 40,000 100 70,500

694 9,000 350 105,000 940

674

5 6 I 4

3,018

Ohio ....

9 2 5 I 27

3 17

I 18 2 3 5

Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island. South Carolina Tennessee Texas Utah Virginia West Virginia Wisconsin..

25

I 13

I 15 I 3 4 8 I 6 2 4

18,927

400 7,020

850 7,980

420

850 2,950 2,380

750 1,875

I

650

217

179

1,880

Total

92,397

$6,952,225 72,899

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