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Historic Articles In The Providence Journal | September 2017

With the kind help of a reference librarian at the Providence Public Library, board member Shelley Parness uncovered these historic articles about our museum building at the turn of the last century from The Providence Journal:

Scriptures moved to new synagogue (1906)

New Jewish synagogue on Douglas Avenue dedicated (1922)

Full text below. Zoom in to view full-resolution scans.

Providence Journal Monday September 17, 1906

Congregation  Sons of Jacob Occupies Douglas Avenue Edifice

Note: this article was transcribed from the original article word for word, as it appeared exactly in the Providence Journal Evening Newspaper.

Scrolls in Solemn March Important Ceremony followed by Jollification and Band Concert—Russian and American Airs Played by Jewish Military Band,  New Structure Only Partly Completed.


With a solemn procession and joyful merrymaking, the Congregation of Sons of Jacob yesterday removed from their old synagogue in Shawmut Street to the recently completed basement of the new edifice at the junction of Orms street and Douglas avenue.  The brick work is completed up to what will in the future be the first story in the new building, and after the cornerstone was laid last Sunday, with appropriate ceremony, a temporary roof was put on, and it was pronounced ready for occupancy.  There were thousands of persons on the streets during the unusual exercises attendant upon the removal and many visited the new structure during the afternoon and evening to enjoy the band concert, in which Jewish and Russian airs mingled with the popular and classical selections of to-day. It was about 3’oclock when the procession formed in front of the old synagogue; while Rabbis David Bachrach and Israel Rubenstein and the elders, carefully  transported the treasured Holy scriptures in their ancient rolls from the synagogue under the canopy borne by four of the men.

This ceremony of the transfer of the Scriptures was not was not unlike the transfer of the Ark of the Covenant from the old temple to the new as far as appearances went.  There was one important difference, though, and where it was forbidden to touch the Ark interested members who were inclined to  help toward  the building fund were honored with the privilege of carrying the Scriptures a short way, and paying anywhere from  $1 to $25 for the honor.  In this way, some $300 was collected while the procession was en route.


MILITARY BAND LEADS It was headed by Prof. Jacob Gordon’s Band, the musicians in which had for the most part played in the Russian military bands, and the tunes were very spirited ones.  There were also the large American flag, and the white banner of Zion with its blue stripes near top and bottom, which were borne side by side.  The standard of Zion was surmounted by the large star of David, which is the symbol of Judaism. The school children from the Hebrew public school, to the number nearly 300, were in line, marching two and two, each carrying a small American flag.  The outer marchers had long streamers of red, white and blue bunting which made this part of the parade a bright one.

From Shawmut street the line moved to Orms street and proceeded down Orms  to the synagogue of the Sons of Zion, where the people were aligned outside with their sacred scrolls, while the procession passed. Then they proceeded over Back street to Chalkstone avenue and through North Davis street to the new building, where the doors were formally unlocked, and the holy books carried in, and deposited in the niche which corresponds to the holy of holies in the old temple in Jerusalem. The key was then put up at auction and was sold to N. Glantz for $50, the money going for the building fund. 

As Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath, the people felt at liberty to celebrate in a different way than the Christian churches would, and after addresses were made by the President and Rabbi Bachrach and Rabbi Rubinstein, the time was spent in merrymaking. The children romped and kept time to the music of the band, apparently having a glorious time.  As most of the Congregation are Russian Jews, the music was familiar and pleasing to their ears, and they heartily applauded the selections rendered by Prof. Gordon and his band.  As one man said: “The Russian people and the music are all right (sic). It is only the Russian government that is no good.” 

Fruit and sandwiches were disposed of to those who were fortunate enough to have purchased tickets and there was a whole bathtub full of bottled soda and similar refreshments on ice.  The revenue from this department went into the church fund also.  There are about 150 adults in the congregation and the church will be completed as soon as the finances warrant.  Meanwhile, they will have services in the basement.   At the formal laying of the cornerstone a week ago the two rabbis who participated in the exercises yesterday spoke as did also Leonard Zisman,  John Nelson and Herman Paster.  Leo Winnograd was  the chairman of the committee for that affair.   The officers of the congregation are Jacob B. Oravik, President: M Perlitz Vice President, David Summer, Treasurer and J. Rosenberg, Secretary.  The committee of arrangements comprised Morris and Leo Winogred, M Glantz, P. Silverman, J. Dash, H. Eicken.





Building Erected at cost of $50,000

Devoted to Orthodox Jews


A new orthodox Jewish synagogue, Sons of Jacob on Douglas avenue was dedicated last Sunday before an audience taxing the seating capacity of the building.  Erected at a cost of nearly $50,000, the structure was formally opened for worship at 10:30 o’clock. The services were conducted by Cantor A, Solotist of Boston, and a large chorus assisted by Rabbi Rubenstein, Rabbi Bachrach,  and Mayor Gainer.  Additional guests of honor were  Alderman Michael Fisher, Harry Bachrach and I. Gordon. One of the chief ceremonies of the morning was the throwing open of the door, which was unlocked by a gold key, purchased just previously  by Harry Bachrach for $275.  The building committee includes:  Chairman –J. Hochberg; Financial Secretary—M.J. Richter; Recording Secretary –I.N. Dickens; Treasurer—J. Billingkoff; L.M. Berman, Sam Billingkoff, David Bida, Maurice W. Dickens, L. Garfinkel, Samuel Kessler, H. Kopet, J. Leach, B. Orzek, A. Press, J. Primack, D. Summer, Morris Winograd, H. Webber, and Harry Marshak, the architect.

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