A BEAUTIFUL new church, that of the Leshem Shomain Jewish congregation was dedicated yesterday to the service of God, in an imposing and appropriate manner. Notwithstanding the rain, which began shortly before the hour set for the beginning of the dedicatory exercises, the new temple was well filled, not only with members of the congregation and others of the same faith from the neighboring towns, but also with many Christians, who were interested spectators of the ceremony. Rev. Dr. D. A. Cunningham, of the First Presbyterian Church, Rev. Dr. Ulfert, of the St. John's German Evangelical church, Rev. A. Moore, of the Zane street Methodist church, and other clergymen of Christian denominations were seated in the church, and remained from the beginning to the end of the ceremonies.
The temple has already been described in the INTELLIGENCER. With its artistic stained glass windows and all the furnishings that go to complete the interior of a church, it is as handsome as any religious edifice in the city.
The temple is a worthy monument to the efforts of the congregation of Leshem Shomaim. The first work was done on the building about two years ago, the places having been drawn by the late Architect E. W. Wells. For one year the long strike among the building trades delayed the work, and the sudden death by drowning of Architect Wells postponed again somewhat the completion of the work. Architect O. S. Philpott took up the work and carried it on to completion, according to the original design and plans.
consisting of Messrs. Morris Horkheimer, chairman, and Henry Jacobs, Emanuel Emsheimer, Samuel Kraft and E. Buckman, worked faithfully toward finishing the work, Mr. Horkheimer particularly speding much time and urging the building forward.
On Tuesday, June 1, 1891, the corner stone was laid with formal exercises, on the northwest corner of the foundation, adjoining the public school. A large sized assemblage viewed the exercises, and Rev. Dr. Bonnheim delivered an address. Yesterday, the synagogue, complete in all details, was dedicated to God's service. The temple is fourty-four by one hundred feet, and seats about 600 persons downstairs, where the Sabbath schools meets, and about 400 in the body of the church. The cost has been about $20,000. It is of the Moorish style of architecture, and is surmounted by a handsome slate roof. The front is of pressed brick, with stone trimmings; the Jewish community may well be proud of the successful termination of its efforts to secure a place of worship, the need of which has long been felt.
The trustees are Messrs. Julius Brilles, Samuel Kraus, Bernard Horkheimer, A. L. Kraft and S. S. Bloch.
The Jewish temple was recently completed, and Rev. Dr. Bonnheim and the building committee for the last few weeks have been arranging for an appropriate dedication. Yesterday was the day appointed.
The interior walls have not yet been frescoed, owning to their newness, but the white surface itself was beautiful, relieved as it was at regular intervals with the rich stained glass windows already described in detail in the INTELLIGENCER. Two massive brass chandeliers depended from the ceiling. The pulpit, beautifully ornamented with potted plants and smilax, was flanked with two magnificent candelabra, also festooned with vines. The artistic grouping of the flowers and plants about the pulpit reflected much credit on the taste of Mrs. Morris Horkheimer, Mrs. M. Schlesinger and Miss Emma Kraus, under whose direction the plants were arranged.
Before 3 o'clock, the time set for the beginning of the ceremonies, the nave of the church filled rapidly with people, only invitations sufficient to comfortable fill the pews having been sent out. The ushers, in evening dress, were Messrs. Louis Gundling, Joseph Baer, G. S. Emsheimer, Benjamin Kraus, I Sonneborn, R. A. Heyman, Charles J. Beekman, E. Hanauer and Gabe Emsheimer promptly seated the invited guests.
While the congregation was gathering in the church, below in the Sabbath school room the procession was being formed. Precisely at three o'clock, to the strains of the organ, presided over by Miss May Wilde, the procession entered the church. The girls and the boys of the Sabbath school marched in front, and were followed by the chairman of the Sabbath school committee. Messrs. Meyer Heyman, Michael Emsheimer and David Pinkus carried the Torah, or
followed immediately bu the three Rabbis, Dr. B. A. Bonnheim, Dr. Benjamin Szold and Dr. Louis Grossman. Messrs. Henry Baer, president; Henry Jacobs, vice president, and Tobias Vanberg, secretary, followed the Rabbis, and afterwards came Mr. Morris Herkheimer, chairman, and the members of the building committee. Miss Stella Kraus, with tow little assistants, carried on a satin cushion the key to the door of the synagogue, and Charlie Sonneborn carried the Bible, assisted by Pearl and Little Frank. The rear of the procession was brought up by the girls of the Sabbath school.
The dedication sevices began with the singing of Kitziger's hymn, "Ma Towu," by the choir. The singing by the choir was not the least beautiful of the various incidents of the services. It had been specially secured for this occasion, and consisted of Mrs. Flora Williams, Miss Nettie Wilde and Mrs. Lee Baer, sopranos, Mrs. Peebles Tatum, Miss Grace Finnell and Miss Hannchen Bonnheim, contraltos, Messrs. W. B. Day and John Mendel, tenors, and Messrs. Charles Zulauf and Will McCoy, bassos. Some especially fine music was rendered. Besides the Hebrew hymns, "Ma Towu," Seu Sheorim Rosechem," "Sh'mah Jisroel," "Ez Chaijim", "Hodo Landonoi" the whole choir sang Gounod's "Unfold, Ye Portals everlasting," the "Hallelujah" (150th Psalm) and the hymn, "O, had I Jubal's Lyre," and Mr. Zulauf's magnificent bass was heard to splendid advantage in Sarastro's song in the Magic Flute, "In Diesen Heiligen Hallen."
After a very brief invocation by each of the three Rabbis, Mr. Morris Horkheimer, chaiman of the building committee, rose from his seat back of the pulpit and made the following address:
"MR. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN OF THE BOARD: -- Two years ago it was your pleasure tp appoint and constitute us a building committee, of which I had the honor to be chosen chairman, for the purpose of securing plans and to superintend the erection of a house of worship. To-day we have come to place before you the results and fruits of our labor, and ask for the discharge of this committee, tendering you our best thanks for the trust and confidence you have bestowed upon us, and hoping that the work done by your committee will fully come up to expectations of all concerned.
"We have aimed and striven to carry out the ideas of your congregation to the utmost of our ability, and are aware that criticism is in strict order, fully appreciating that it is best and right that it should be so."
Mr. Horkheimer regretted that the late E. W. Wells had died before he could witness the completion of the synagogue; he complimented Mr. O. S. Philpot, the architect under whose superintendence the temple was finished, and spoke in terms of high praise of the contractors, the Klieves-Kraft Company. He thanked the members of the building committee for the courtesy with which they had treated their president, and the faithfulness with which all had labored for the completion of the church edifice. Mr. Horkheimer closed his address with these words:
"Now, Mr. President, the many evidences of interest which even bordered on enthusiasm, the case and circumspection you have exhibited, the true and bold spirit, based none the less on calm and sound judgment, which characterized you as the presiding officer in our congregational meetings where you,
raised your armies necessary for the crowning victory: All these are conclusive evidences of the fact that you will in the future continue in the good work; which must bring us and our children most glorious results. In placing the key of this temple in you possession I have no doubt in my mind but that you will be, both in a moral and a religious sense, its true keeper."
In saying this, Mr. Horkheimer took the key from the cushion and delivered it into the president's hands, Mr. Henry Baer rising to receive it.
"Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the building committee," said Mr. Baer, "it is with great pleasure and satisfaction that I accept from you, in the name of the congregation, "Le Shem Shomaim," the key to this our new temple; express to you our sincere thanks for the great work accomplished under your charge. It is one which will forever stand as a beautiful monument, and will merit the praise of all. You have applied yourself to your task with great zeal and devotion, to which I ascribe in a great measure the realization of our cherished hopes.
"In truth and justice, I must say to you, Mr. Horkheimer, chairman of this committee, that during the entire construction of this edifice you have ardently labored, you have spared neither time nor personal comfort, and you have at times assumed the duties of the entire committee, to accomplish the
"I again express to you and your committee the tanks of myself and a grateful congregation; the knowledge of having labored in a good cause must produce feelings of satisfaction and reward.
"I herewith in my official capacity discharge you from further duties on your committee."
Mr. Baer then briefly reviewed the history of the congregation, and showed how in 1845 and 1846 five Jewish citizens, Messrs. Meyer Heyman, Alex Heyman, Julius Ballenberg, Max Graff and S. L. Bloch experience some difficulty in raising the sum of $375, with which to purchase a plot of ground for a graveyard. How they moved their places of worship from one house to another until they finally secured the hall in the Odd Fellows' building. He then praised the ladies for having raised the money to buy the lot on which the new synagogue stands, and urged the younger members of the Jewish community to join the congregation, as upon them would at some time fall the burden of keeping up the church. He closed with the works: "And now in conclusion, I declare in the name of God, this temple opened as a house of worship for the advancement of our faith in keeping with the freedom and religious liberty OF OUR BELOVED COUNTRY."
Messrs. Baer and Horkheimer delivered their speeches well, and while their practical talk was not such that required eloquence, their manner of delivery was pleasing and their speeches were listened to with deep attention.
The depositing of the Torahs in the ark, by the three Rabbis, followed the address of the president. This impressive ceremony was succeeded by the reading of selections from the scripture. The lights in the church were burning but dimly; at the words "Let there be light," they burned up brightly and filled the church with light.
The Bible to be used in the synagogue was purchased with contributions from the pupils of the Sabbath school. There was much competition for the honor of carrying the Bible in the procession; but as only one boy could carry it, the children were made happy by being allowed to hold the book in their hands for a moment. The boy who carried it handed it to another, and before it reached Dr. Bonnheim it had passed through all the children's hands.
The perpetual lamp, which constantly burns before the ark, was lighted by Mr. Henry Jacobs, vice president of the congregation, the act of lighting it being done with appropriate ceremonies.
The sermon of the day was preached by Rev. Dr. Bonnheim [ . . . ]
The religious services of the day concluded with regular Sabbath eve services, and the audience was dismissed with the benediction.
Jewish day in Wheeling was appropriately brought to an end with one of the most brilliant and successful banquets ever seen in this city. A table stretching the length of the long dining hall of the McLure House was filled with ladies and gentlemen, a brilliant company of friends met to rejoice over the achievement of a long cherished purpose. In addition to the visiting clergymen the invited guests were Mr. Bernard Klieves, Captain B. B. Dovener and Mr. Charles Burdett Hart.
The table was bountifully provided with all that the market affords. The feature of the evening was the speaking, which covered a wide range of topics pertinent to the occasion and was of an unusually high order. Mr. Henry Baer, President of the congregation, made an excellent toast-master, who called out the speakers when he wanted them and they had to come.
The speakers were Rev. Dr. Bonnheim, Rev. Dr. Szold, Rev. Dr. Grossman, Messrs. Charles Burdett Hart, B. B. Dovener, M. Heymann, Joseph Emsheimer, M. Emsheimer, Samuel Kraft and Victor Rosenberg. The Opera House orchestra added much to the pleasure of an occasion that will be long remembered.
Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, Saturday, April 9, 1892, p. 1, p.5
The text of Dr. Bonnheim's lengthy sermon was omitted from this transcription.
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