First Rosh Hashana Celebrated in Homestead

There are a number of interesting details in thse articles.  For starters, they are the first time the Homestead press mentioned the Jewish New Year, which in the future they would do regularly (if for no other reason than to explain that their stores would be closed).  Second, it mentions that there were ~30 Jews in Homestead at that time, which gives a sense of how the community grew in the aftermath of the famous 1892 strike.  Finally, it sounds as though their stores were closed for only one day, not two (though it’s impossible to know if this detail is accurate, and the following year’s Rosh Hashana article says, more reasonably, “Many Hebrew stores will be closed on both or a portion of each day”).

The Local News, 8/29/1893

The Homestead News, 8/29/1893

HEBREW NEW YEAR.

Some Hebrew Observe One Day and Others Two.

There are several Hebrews in Homestead and they are preparing for the celebration of their New Year which occurs on September 11th.

The date comes much earlier than for many years past….

(The rest of this article repeats the holiday explanation which is repeated in the next article.)


The Homestead News, 9/11/1893, p. 1

The Homestead News, 9/11/1893, p. 1

HEBREWS CELEBRATE

They Hold Services in the Second Ward Engine House

At sundown last evening the first day of the Hebrew year 5654 began, and ten days from now the day of atonement will be observed.

There are about thirty Hebrews in Homestead and they are celebrating the new year’s day by fitting services in the Second Ward engine house. All their places of business are closed to-day but will open to-morrow. Wednesday is a holiday which will be observed generally by Hebrews.

The date comes much earlier than for many years past. It is styled Rosh-Hoshona. It is the first day of the month Tishri. The liberal Hebrews celebrate one day, the orthodox two. Two days are observed because in the olden time the month commenced when the new moon was seen and because of clouds it was frequently difficult to fix the time of its appearance on a particular day.

On the 13th of September occurs the fast of Gedalyah, and on the 20th, the day of atonement–a great fast followed by the feast of the Tabernacles on the 25th.

The next Hebrew year will be a long one, extending from September 11, 1893 to October 1, 1894. Seven out of every nineteen years are long ones, containing thirteen Jewish months. Cards are exchanged on the Hebrew New Year by friends containing good wishes, and much time is passed in the synagogues.


This wasn’t actually the first mention of a Jewish holiday I found in Homestead’s newspaper.  The mentions of where there are synagogues suggests the places to which the Jews of Homestead might have gone…. apparently for 10 days of fasting?!

The Homestead News, 3/31/1893

The Homestead News, 3/31/1893

Hebrews to Celebrate Easter

Hebrew Easter commences this evening at 6 o’clock and will last for ten days.  During that period the Hebrew people will not eat any leavened bread and will observe the season with religious worship.  There are several synagogues in McKeesport and more in Pittsburg.  All the Hebrews in towns surrounding will attend these places during the Easter season.  Several from Homestead are making arrangements to enter the fasting.

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