Chanukah 1902 Speech

12/31/1902: President Glueck's address from the Chanuka celebration captures the community's mindset remarkably.

12/31/1902: President Glueck’s address from the Chanuka celebration captures the community’s mindset remarkably.

Glueck’s Speech At the Feast.

President of Jewish Congregation’s Address on Hanuka

The following is the speech delivered by B. Glueck at the Feast of Hanuka, celebrated Sunday at the Hebrew Synagogue on Ammon street.  It was the first Chanukah the congregation observed in their own building.

In the name of the congregation I extend to you all greetings of welcome at this Sanctuary where we are congregated to perform a religious function which is left to us for thousands for years in memory of Jewish heroism, and is annually universally celebrated and known as the “Chanuka” festival. My friends, today is our object as well as our duty to pant (sic) anew this old traditional root of judaism (sic) by celebrating for the first time in our new synagogue the chanuka (sic) feast. “One generation passeth away, but a new one ariseth,” said the prophet.1

Yes! Nations may perish, religious denominations cease to exist, their churches, their temples, their places of worship may decay, but new generations arise, new congregations organize, they erect new houses of worship, new temples, new churches. New sanctuaries sprout and blossom forth from the ruins, where the old sanctioned Jewish rituals and festivals continue to be celebrated and will be an everlasting momento (sic) to judaism (sic). They will never perish but always be alive.

My friends for this purpose we brought our children today to this house of worship to let them partake of the Chanuka festival, so that we may diffuse in their minds and implant in their young hearts the greatness of judaism, the greatness of our religious belief, and the greatness of this day, so they may continue the successors of our faith.

We teach them to recite poems and to sing songs of Jewish history, i.e. Jewish glory, so that every father can look upon his child with pride, and every mother’s heart can palpitate with bliss, and all can exclaim with joy and thankfullness (sic) to our creator, we are happy to be the fathers and mothers of such children.

We have special ground for joy and thankfulness at this festival, because this is the first time we have had the chance to celebrate the Chanuka feast in this, our own town, without hindrance and without coercion, that we are able to live like one big family, like kinsmen, like brothers and sisters, although our cradles stood hundreds of miles apart, although our youth was wasted in different countries, among different nationalities, and although our congregation consists of a cosmopolitan membership. Cosmopolitan, because some have seen for the first time, the light of the day at the mountains of Corpathia (sic), others at the forests of Germany, many of us at the dark and tyrannical Russia, but here in the world in this land of the brave and free, we are one organization, one family, consequently we are here not considered as foreigners, not as strangers, not Hungarians, Germans or Russians, but as free American citizens. We love to praise our Heavenly Father for the success we have attained in this, our town. Not at the Theiss in Hungary, not at the Rhine in Germany, nor at the Volga of Russia, have we erected our synagogue, but at the shores of the Monongahela it stands, on a solid foundation, the gables high up Heavenwards as a monument of humanity and brotherly love.

Not with Hungarian krohuen (sic?), not with German marks, nor with Russian rubles, have we erected our temple, but, with good, honest, American dollars we have accomplished this.

Even so, in this, our feastly mood, we must not forget that our wealth and earthly possession (sic) we have all acquired in this great commonwealth, in this famous town, Homestead. My friends, not only in ancient times, but also recently, we have seen miracles performed. We are all aware that none of us came to this town the possessor to any extent of earthly wealth, and now, through thrift, industry and indulgence, we all have accumulated a certain amount of wealth, and all are more or less in easy circumstances. We all prosper in business, the majority of us own our own homes, and we as a congregation, also possess a mortgageless synagogue which is a miracle in itself, therefore there is ground enough for us in memory of the suffering of olden times, compared with the liberty and prosperity we enjoy at present, to celebrate the feast of Chanuka, and make of it a pleasant, joyful day, with hope that we may live in happiness and prosperity and see many happy returns of this day.

  1. Ecclesiastes 1:4  

  2 comments for “Chanukah 1902 Speech

  1. Bob Hepps
    December 9, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Really brings the exhilaration of those days back to life.

  2. Stan Trachtenberg
    December 10, 2015 at 11:27 am

    It strikes a chord in this time of refugee crises here and abroad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *