THE TEMPLE DEDICATED.
The Ahavos Sholom Congregation Take Charge of the Beautiful Place of Worship—Fitting Ceremonies.
The Hebrews of Ligonier now worship God in their new Temple, and Ligonier can pride herself upon the new place of worship, as in all probability, there is no other town of as small population, in the United States that has a building of the kind that will compare with that of the Ahavos Sholom Congregation. It is indeed a credit to our town and county.
Among the first Hebrews that came to this vicinity were the families of Jacob Straus, F.W. Straus, Sol. Mier and Jos. Kaufman, and these people formed the nucleus of the present congregation. In 1856 they all attended worship at Auburn, and the next year went to Fort Wayne where they celebrated the leading holy days as is required by their law. In 1858 the congregation was organized here and until 1867 worship was held at the residences of Jacob Straus, F. W. Straus, and Joseph Kaufman. In this year the congregation of Ahavos Sholom was organized, the first members being F. W. Straus, Jacob Straus, Mathias Straus, Sol. Mier, Isaac Ackerman, Isaac Brill, Solomon Ackerman, Solomon Baum, J. Decker and Jonas Berolsheim. To these members are due the credit of erecting the old temple upon the lot just north of the Cavin Park, leased to the congregation by Straus Bros., for 21 years. The dedication of this temple took place in September, 1867, the scrolls and laws being taken from the residence of Jacob Straus to the new house of worship. For over twenty years the congregation worshiped here until growing in members, it was necessary to provide more commodious quarters.
Early in 1888 a building committee was appointed and other steps taken toward the erection of a new temple. Plans and specifications were prepared, and after a careful consideration of them, they were adopted and the work was contracted for. The building completed, and everything in readiness it was necessary to consecrate it to its use with the ceremonies and rites as established by custom and law, and last Friday, September 6th, was selected as the day. Invitations were issued to a large number of our citizens to be present, and many strangers were also in attendance.
ceremonies were opened by the formal leave taking of the old temple, when all had been called together by Rabbi Eppstein. The scrolls were placed in the charge of the oldest men of the congregation, Solomon Baum and David Loeser, and to the music of Ligonier Military Band, they all took up their journey to their new place of abode. At the doors they were met by the children and with uncovered heads they listened to the recitation of the following poem by Willie Baum, the small son of Jacob Baum.
OUR NEW TEMPLE
(Composed by Jacob Baum for the dedication of the Temple Ahavos Sholom.)
To worship our Creator,
This edifice we built.
To work- a mediator-
A mission- that was willed
So, many centuries ago.
The Hebrew tribe- so large-
In order to the world to show,
The real Messiah’s march.
To better us- humanity,
All churches are destined,
To teach us human vanity,
All earthly things- a blind.
But to lead us to that lofty stage,
Where prejudices cease.
Until we reach that golden age,
Where all dwell in peace.
Where all like one, and one like all,
One brotherhood we vote,
No fanaticism builds a wall,
Dividing our abode.
That is our mission- Israel’s vow,
For which we temples build.
That was our pledge- is our aim now,
Until it is fulfilled.
To this end do we dedicate
This temple to our Lord.
His blessings do we supplicate,
O, bless us all our God.
Bless those that have so literally
Contributed their mite,
And all those through whose energies
Our temple looks so bright.
May one and all donors be blessed
Whether far or near,
For they have done their very best,
To erect this temple here.
Generations will come- generations go.
This temple still be here,
A monument for the Israelites,
An ornament for Ligonier.
He was followed by Mamie Wertheimer, in whose possession the keys of the Temple had ben placed, and in a most impressive manner she presented them making the following appropriate little speech.
MR. PRESIDENT: -- Your building committee did me the honor to select me to deliver to you the key of the beautiful temple which is to be a home of divine worship, dedicated to the living God of Israel, as this house is a monument of piety and devotion to Israel’s cause on the part of our people. So is this ceremony in delivering this key to you, a monument of joy and pride in youthful days, never to be forgotten. May the memory of this solemn monument be also to you, and all the members of the congregation, a source of joy and never failing gladness.
This key unlocks a sacred hall
Of love, and grace and peace to all
Who seek they father’s precious love.
This key to truth, from heaven sent
I place in your estimable hand
A son of God, thy brothers peer,
I pray with you God be night
When ere we raise our voice on high.
In prayer, praise or adoration
Receive in grace they children all
That seek thy peace in this fine hall,
Reveal they love and consolation.
MR. PRESIDENT: -- Please receive this key from my feeble hand, delivered to you in the name of those who honor and respect you as a true and devout son of Israel.
To this Jacob Straus, the president of the congregation, responded as follows:
MY DEAR CHILD:-- it is with a sense of profound happiness and deep joy that I accept from your hands the key to this Temple of God, and I sincerely trust that the good work so far accomplished will be carried out in good faith to the credit of our congregation.
Honored, indeed am I, ladies and gentlemen, that I should have been chosen to occupy this place, and in behalf of the congregation of Ahavos Sholom, to accept this noble building.
This congregation was originally formed in August, in the year 1865, as a society with ten charter members. In 1866 we changed the name to a congregation, and called it Ahavos Sholom, meaning “Peace Loving,” at which time we purchased our present burial grounds. In 1867 we erected and dedicated the frame building as a house of worship which we this day vacate. In 1888 we decided to erect a better building, the one we this day dedicate.
With the liberal assistance of the members of our congregation, although only twenty-two in number, as also our friends at home and abroad and in particular, encouraged and liberally assisted by the Ladies’ Ahavos Sholom Society, Ladies’ Benevolent Society, as also by the Young People’s Charitable Union, we have so far accomplished our undertaking, for which I extend to one and all in my own name, as president of this congregation, as also in the name of the congregation, my sincere thanks.
This beautiful Temple stands this day dedicated to the service of God. There yet remains upon us the cloud of debt which must be dispelled, and can be by our own efforts. Let us unite therein, let us strive earnestly, honestly and unitedly together in this labor, so that soon this house of God may raise its noble head to the skies of heaven without encumbrance. We rejoice in the completion of this good and noble work. We are happy at this hour in the thought that by good will and unity much can be accomplished, and the events of this day shall forever be sacred to our memories. I accept this key, and with it bid welcome to one and all.
Thereupon the doors were thrown open and gentlemanly ushers conducted the large audience to seats. The room which presented a beautiful appearance, being decorated with natural flowers and draped with evergreens was comfortably filled. The scrolls were deposited upon the pulpit, after which the carriers were seated an the program as arranged was carried out:
Choir……………………………[?] Hause Gottes
Introduction Prayer—Ps xxxiii
…………………………… Rev D. Eppstein
Choir…………………………….. Ona Adanoy
Hymn…………………………….. Up to the Lord
Reading of Psalm, CIII…………... Rev. D. Eppstein
Choir- Hymn………………………How Blessed
Reading of Psalm C.
Hymn……………………………..Father I Call on Thee
Reading of 1. Kings VIII.
Reading of Scroll Genesis 1-6.
……………………………Rev. Samuel Strass
Choir…………………………….Let There Be Light
Deposit Scrolls in the Ark.
Choir- The usual songs with Schemah.
Closing of the Ark.
Dedication Sermon………………Rev. Dr. I. M. Wise
Choir—Hymn……………….Why Art Thou Cast Down
The dedication address by Rev. Dr. Isaac M. Wise, of Cincinnati, was an able and comprehensive sermon. He entered into a discussion of the most important questions hearing upon ancient and modern worship of the one God. He took broad grounds in his treatment of the question of religion, and his advanced views upon the subject of worship showed him to be liberal of liberals. He dwelt with considerable earnestness upon the beneficent influences that surround the churchmen of this country on account of our constitutional liberty. He grew eloquent in his prose of old institutions, when he said, “I am proud that I am an American citizen, and that our broad land is dotted from ocean to ocean with places of worship protected by the strong arm of religious tolerance and soulful devotion. To worship God in accordance with the dictates of his own conscience is a right that every loyal, patriotic and country loving citizen should guard, not only with his life blood, but with all the force of his intellectual being.” Rabbi Wise was listened to with marked attention, and his remarks made a most favorable and lasting impression.
The musical part of the programme was one of the most pleasing features, the choir acquitted themselves splendidly, rendering the selections in an artistic manner.
were held for the first time in the new temple, on Saturday, conducted in German. The principal sermon was delivered by Rev. Dr. Wise, and was well received. This sermon was important, being the initial and opening service that will be repeated regularly every Saturday as long as the congregation is in possession of the temple.
On Sunday morning Rabbi Wise delivered a fine lecture to a splendid audience at the temple. His subject being the “Footprints of Judaism in the World’s History.” Those who heard the revered gentleman, pronounce the lecture most interesting and instructive. His close and extended study of the history of his people, and his liberal construction of events and circumstances surrounding them, made his lecture doubly interesting to those not identified with his church.
given by the ladies of the congregation in honor of the dedication, in the lodge room of the Beni Berith on Sunday evening, was a success in every particular. Over two hundred guests sat down to a splendid supper at 9:30, to which they did ample justice. At 10:30 speech making began under the direction of Abe Goldsmith, of Citizens’ Bank, as toast-master. Toasts were answered by Rev. Dr. Wise, of Cincinnati; Rev. Samuel Strass, of Fort Wayne; F. W. Straus, of Chicago; Nathan Kaufman, of Toledo, Ohio; Max Krauss, of Columbia City; Jacob Straus, Rev. Eppstein, S. J. Straus, Sol. Mier, Abe Goldsmith and J. E. McDonald. All enjoyed the feast. At 12:15 the guests, with but few exceptions; repaired to City Hall, where the festivities were continued in a grand ball. The music was furnished by Prof. J. C. Sack’s orchestra, and there have been but few more pleasant parties in this city than that of Sunday night. Every one enjoyed themselves. Many beautiful and expensive costumes were worn, but our space is too limited to go into detail. These festivities closed the ceremonies of the occasion.
Great credit is due to Rabbi Eppstein for his determined and well directed efforts towards the building of the new temple. Last year when he accepted the pastorate of the congregation, it was with the understanding that a new temple was to be built at once. He at once interested the leading members, and an organized effort was soon made which resulted in definite action. The different societies of the congregation, especially the ladies, are in a great measure entitled to the credit for their elegant structure. Every opportunity was taken advantage of and their labors added hundreds of dollars to the building fund. The Hebrew ladies of Ligonier are wide awake, progressive and enthusiastic in any work they have to perform.
Among those from abroad who attended the dedication services were noticed Mr. and Mrs. E. Straus, Ross Stiefel and Ben Ackerman, Butler, Ind.; Sol Rose and Ike Rose, LaGrange; Mr. and Mrs. Theo. Mayor, Leo Isay, Churubusco; Mrs. and Mrs. F. W. Straus, Miss Lucy Dueschner, Miss Pauline Dueschner, Mathias Straus, D. Aach, Misses Lena and Hattie Straus, Adolph Kahn, Mrs. Henry Kahn, Chicago; Miss Carrie Phelpson, Jake Phelpson, Warsaw; Max Kraus, Miss Hannah Kraus, M. Applebaum and Ben Kramer, Columbia City; Herman Schopplacher, Marvin Loeb, Mrs. D. Weingarten, New York; Miss Carrie Marks and J. Straus, Cincinnati, Ohio; Mrs. J. Hart, Lulu Hart, George Hart, Hopkinsville, Ky.; Mr. and Mrs. David Welt, Cromwell, Ind.; Jacob Grunauer, Abe Straus, Ike Kahn, Mr. and Mrs. J. Keller, Kendallville; Mrs. M. Straus, Miss Clara Manch, Miss Sophia Straus and Mr. Wallace, Cleveland, Ohio; Nathan Kaufman, Toledo; Max Livingston, South Bend; Rev. Strass, Fort Wayne; Mr. and Mrs. J. Lowenstein, Waterloo; Miss Bessie Hecht, LaPorte; Mr. and Mrs. Ferd Loeser, Milwaukee, Wis.; Miss Hauchie Mier, Fremont; Mrs. Sol Hirsch, Clinton, Iowa, and others.