Paying off the Mortgage on the First Synagogue

After they dedicated their first synagogue in March 1902, their work wasn’t done.  Now they had to finish paying off the mortgage!  Surprisingly, they did so a little over a year later.  $1,500 in 1902 = $41,422.52 in 2015.  

Interestingly, the burning of the mortgage in Ignatz Grossman’s chronology had a totally different date,  May 17, 1903 (not June 14, which is what the paper reported.  He wrote that M. Fishel paid $5.00 ($138.08 in 2015) for the honor.  1

1/6/1903: Announcement of the ball

1/6/1903: Announcement of the ball

Will Hold Their Annual Ball

The members of the Hebrew congregation are making big preparations for their annual ball which will be held at the Fifth avenue opera house on the evening of February 10.  The committee of arrangements are working hard and are about ready to guarantee that all will be well for the dance.  The members of the congregation have been very successful with their affairs in past years but it is their intention of making this one the great of any dance yet held by them.


2/9/1903: This article announced that the Hebrews' annual ball would take place the next day.

2/9/1903: This article announced that the Hebrews’ annual ball would take place the next day.

THEIR ANNUAL BALL

Homestead Hebrew Congregation to Have a Fine Affair

Tomorrow evening there will be a big time at the Fifth avenue opera house, the occasion being the annual ball of the Homestead Hebrew congregation. The affair is being held for the purpose of benefiting the building fund of the congregation and the committee having it in charge have made elaborate preparations for the entertainment of a large number of guests.

In past years the functions given by the members of the congregation have been very successful both from an artistic and social standpoint and it is the intention of those having this be (sic) in charge to make it the most auspicious ever held.

The program for the function has been mapped out by the committee and will be adhered to the letter. There will be the best of music in attendance and everything will be done to make it pleasant for those who are the guests of the congregation.


2/10/1903: This article described the program for the ball that would take place that evening.

2/10/1903: This article described the program for the ball that would take place that evening.

THE BALL THIS EVENING

Big Time Promised at the Fifth Avenue Opera House.

This evening the annual ball under the auspices of the Homestead Hebrew congregation will be held in the Fifth avenue opera house and it promises to be the finest affair ever given by them. In years past the functions given by the members of the congregation have been grand and this year the committee having it in charge intends to make the affair the greatest ever held.

One of the bright features of the evening will be the appearance of Prof. Adolph Rosen, the celebrate violin virtuoso. He will render many selections. Prof. Rosen appeared at a recent concert of the Carnegie Library band and made a great hit. The committee having the ball in charge consider themselves very fortunate that they secured the services of the violinist for this evening.

The dancing will start just as soon as the crowd is at the opera house and will continue until 2 o’clock in the morning. There will be first-class music in attendance and with the large crowd that is sure to attend, the affair will be a most delightful one. The number of tickets sold for the ball is the largest ever disposed of by the members of the congregation. The proceeds of the ball will be devoted to the building fund.


2/11/1903: The ball in review.

2/11/1903: The ball in review.

BALL A BIG SUCCESS

The annual ball of the Homestead Hebrew Congregation in the Fifth avenue opera house last evening, was a success beyond all expectations, a larger crowd being present than was expected. The affair was conducted in an excellent manner and no one had a particle of a kick coming. There was a good feeling among the large number of people and all went in for enjoyment which they had.

The arrangements for the ball were the most complete of any yet held by the congregation. The various committees and sub committees did their work well all through and all were very much pleased. The dancing was the main feature of the evening and all those present tripped the light fantastic to their heart’s content.

The music for the dancing was furnished by Prof. Rosen and his orchestra and was first class. One of the distinct features was a solo played by the professor. Several times during the evening compliments were paid to Rev. Mendelsohn, of the congregation. He is a composer of no mean ability and composed and arranged most of the music played by the orchestra last evening. One waltz which was announced as the creation of Rev. Mendelsohn was choired (?) to the echo and the doctor had to bow acknowledgements to the large crowd.

One of the features of the evening was a cake walk which was participated in by about 30 couples. The large cake which was offered by the committee was taken by Miss Celia Samuels and Harry Pike who made a great hit with their clever walking. The judges of the walk unanimous in awarding the prize to the little folks. There was a drawing for a handsome shell box and it was won by Mr. Stein.

The crowd of out of town people at the dance was very large and they speak in glowing terms of the hospitality of the local Hebrews. Everything was done to forward their enjoyment and all were satisfied. The guests came from Braddock, East Pittsburg, Wilkinsburg, East End, Pittsburg, Allegheny, Duquesne, and other places. It was the verdict of all that his (sic) year’s function was the greatest ever held by the congregation and the debt on the new synagogue on Ammon street will be materially decreased by the large sum earned last night.


6/15/1903: The congregation celebrates the burning of the mortgage on the shul building.

6/15/1903: The congregation celebrates the burning of the mortgage on the shul building.

BURNT THE MORTGAGE

The Rudef Schulam Congregation Free of Debt.

The members of the Rudef Schulam (sic!!!!) Hebrew congregation of this place, held a great jollification Sunday evening [June 14] in honor of the freeing of their synagogue on Ammon street from debt, the exercises consisting of music, speech making and feasting, the building being nicely decorated for the occasion.

The cozy little edifice which was erected a little over a year ago and which is now free of all debt, was filled with the members of the congregation and their friends when the exercises opened. Two Rabbis were in attendance and the celebration was held on an elaborate scale.

The only debt hanging against the church was in the shape of a $1,500 mortgage and this was entirely wiped out and the mortgage burned in the presence of the congregation.

Joseph Lasdusky acted as master of ceremonies and opened the exercises by a few appropriate remarks, and was followed by Rev Mendellssohn (sic) with prayer. Mr. Lasdusky them (sic) made and (sic) address on “Our Schools,” which was very interesting. M. (sic, B.) Gluck, president of the congregation, spoke on the burning of the mortgage and gave some interesting facts about the congregation.

M.D. Weise (sic) spoke on “Zionism” and he was in turn followed by Rabbi Sivitz, of Pittsburg, in an interesting address.

Rabbi Brotzsky, of Newark, N.J., was also in attendance and made an address on religion and I. Grossman spoke on “Jewish Ideals.” Rev. Mendelssohn wound up the program by taking for his subject “What We Yet Owe.”

Mr. Fisher (sic, Fishel) then burned the mortgage in the presence of all, he paying a nice sum for the privilege.

The mortgage burning was followed by a feast which was in charge of H. Hupt (sic, Haupt) and the celebration was continued until a late hour.

The congregation although small in number, now owns a nice house of worship which they have build and paid for within two years, and they certainly deserve great credit for their energetic and self sacrificing efforts.


  1. Box 4, Folder 1, pp. 149-151 & 156-8 and Box 4, Folder 2, pp. 67-75 are the two similar-but-not-exact copies of this chronology.  

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