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The Southern Israelite. (Augusta, Ga.) 1925-1986, December 14, 1929, Image 5

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The Southern Israelite Page 5 History of SHEARITH ISRAEL Congregation Th.- history of the Congregation t -a? ith Israel dates baek to the early ( ,f Realizing the necessity • another Synagogue for the rapidly , - easing Jewish community of At- ten leaders of Atlanta Jewry u t hc interests of their religion .. ,i its needs at heart came together ■ the early winter of 1904 and form- the Synagogue which bears the ,,f Shearith Israel. How fitting . the name given to this small ,,, U p ,,f .lows. "The Remnant of 1s- i they called themselves. True they A.r. a remnant, but from the rem- .ui*. there grew a Congregation a ,is of Jews—true to the traditional • ,i kgiound and anxious to grow and -Mi u;age a love for Judaism in this new home, far away from their in the Old Country. These : -unders consisted of K. J. Abelsky, I Hro/.nach, D. Hadas, R. Massell, M. Schwartz, who now lives in St. Paul, Minn.. S. Zimmerman, and the late M Kahn, C. H. Shainker, (’has. Zim- nifiinan, J. Buckman. With the firm foundation set by the'c noble men, the Congregation be gan its early period of existence on [Hunter Street. There a Synagogue was formed out of the old St. Paul’s Ichimh. a building that had withstood [the ravages of the War between the J States, The building was redecorated ami soon was ready for the occupancy the new Congregation. In 1907 the [< "merstone of the Congregation Shea- : th Israel was inserted. As befits a |< "ngfegation of this sort, it was seen [that a Synagogue without a leader is practically valueless. The leaders be- L’.m an immediate search for the prop- man to occupy the position of Rabbi the new Congregation. They were President of Sherith Israel (’ongregation SIDNEY ZIMMERMAN lU'-cessful to such an extent that e finest young Orthodox Ri ‘ ‘ i'ted their call to become spir C 41 • r of the new Congregation. F r itterman arrived in Atlant ame year that the Congregi >l 'd into its new building. F This—Oran-Kodesh (Holy Ark)—was Presented by Mr. and Mrs. Tobias BoroehofT. Ill Pair Street, S. K. CJutterman, a man of great scholarly attainments and very well versed in the Jewish law, occupied the position excellently. Although he was in Atlan ta for a few years (he now resides in Scranton, Pa.) he will be remembered by Atlanta Jewry for his outstanding leadership in the early period of strug gles that the (’ongregation passed through. At the conclusion of Rabbi Gutter- man’s short but eventful stay in At lanta, it was seen that the Rabbinical position must not remain vacant if the correct leadership was to be had. Therefore, the idealistic young group set out to procure the services of another man, who could hold the co veted position so well taken care of by Rabbi Gutterman. From Canton, Ohio, came the news that Rabbi To bias Geflfen had been selected as the next Rabbi of the Congregation Shea rith Israel. Rabbi Geffen, who had been in the New World only a few years, but long enough for his abili ties recognized by the Jews of America, accepted the call and ar rived. in Atlanta in January 1910. Destined for a long stay in the Gate City of (he South, Rabbi Geffen im mediately set himself to the task of instilling a genuine love for the tra ditions of Judaism. Many have been the interesting episodes occurring dur ing the years of Rabbi Geffen’s stay up to the present day. He immediately organized several classes in Talmud, Mishnayos, Kin Yaakov and Bible, which are still in existence. Although the members of the classes have come and gone, there are still a few faces present, which might have been seen at the classes twenty years ago. Rabbi Geffen was the first Orthodox Rabbi to penetrate the South as far as Geor gia, permanently. Although the Congregational activi ties were unfortunately severe by sev eral destructive fires, the unceaseless energy of the active members succeed ed in rebuilding the structure so that worship could be continued. By far, the outstanding leader during this period was the late Mr. M. Kahn. Mr. Kahn, May he-rest in Peace, was heart and soul in the work of the Congre gation Shearith Israel. Never for one day in his life did he forget his duty to the Congregation, which he had been so instrumental in organizing. Today, although no longer with us, his spirit remains, to encourage and show the way to a successful Congre gation Shearith Israel. Since it was deemed necessary to rid the Congregation of worship in a basement, this situation was remedied by adding a Beth Hamdrash in«the rear of the Synagogue. When this was built, it brought about the organiza tion of the Shearith Israel Lodge, which is still in existence today. Again it was the efforts of M. Baum, M. L. Kahn, Rabbi Geffen, and the late M. Kahn and Chas. Zimmerman, which brought about the organization of this very important activity in the life of the Congregation. This organization, aside from its general importance, in troduced the Free Loan Association for its members and also various re lief funds which constitute the work of an organization of this type. In 1916 it was decided to make use of the discarded basement by con structing a Mikveh to meet the needs of the community. This unit has been constantly used by the community at large and is still functioning. At the outbreak of the World War, this Congregation was the first to raise funds for the war-sufferers and during the entire period it was very active in bringing relief to the oppres sed. RABBI TOBIAS GEFFEN Then came by far the most eventful day in the history of the Congrega tion. Twenty-five years after the or ganization of the Congregation, it was seen, through necessity, that the Con gregation must be moved. The change of location from Hunter to Washing ton Street was necessitated by the rap id change of neighborhood in the form- (Continued on Page 14)