King's Pocket-book of Providence, RI

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from "King's Pocket-book of Providence, R.I." Moses King, Cambridge, Mass., 1882 Tibbitts, Shaw & Co., Providence, RI

The interesting and most important public features of the City of Providence, Rhode Island, in 1882


Copyright, 1882, by Moses King.

JEWS. -- After the Spanish and Portuguese Jews were driven out of Newport by the British army in the Revolution, a few of them came to Providence, but not enough to organize a synagogue. Within the past 50 years there have appeared a number of Hebrews from Central and Northern Europe. These German, Russian, and Polish Jews have at last become quite a factor in the life of the city. The Russian, Polish, and some German Jews claim to be Orthodox. The others, mainly Germans, are reformed.

The Orthodox orgd. in 1875, under the name of 'Sons of Zion'. They began to worship on Canal St.; removed for a time to Wayland Building on N. Main St., but now hold service at No. 42 Canal St. Their first reader was the Rev. Lazarus Finsilwer. They hold the old forms of ritual: prayers in Hebrew alone; discourses in German; heads covered; faces in worship towards Jerusalem; women apart from the men. The common congregation counts about 40.

The Reformed orgd. in 1877, under the name of 'Sons of Israel'. Their first rabbi was the Rev. Dr. Jacob Voorsanger. He was followed by the Revs. M. Moses and M. Rottenburg. Myer Noot is now serving as a reader. They located at first on the cor. Pine and Page Sts. In Oct., 1882, they established their synagogue at 98 Weybosset St. They take greater freedom than the Orthodox; have prayers in Hebrew and German; discourses in English, men and women sit together; thus they are more progressive and more in harmony with the spirit of the times; but they worship with their faces toward Jerusalem.

The Jewish cemetery on Reservoir Av. was first opened in 1857, but was fully dedicated in the present year (1882). Two Jewish societies are mentioned in this book under heading 'German Secret Societies'. -- Frederic Denison.

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