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The Congregation Shearith Israel of Charleston


The Israelites of Charleston, who, after being defeated in their appeal from the opinion of Judge Wardlaw, in the important controversy which had subsisted in their congregation for the last six years, established themselves finally as a separate Kahal, as we announced some time since, under the name Kahal Kadosh Shearith Israel, laid the foundation of their new Synagogue on the 24th of February last, with the usual ceremonies; and as we learn from the public papers, (not having received, by some oversight no doubt, any especial report,) after the conclusion of the religious offices, a collection was taken up in aid of the suffering Irish; doubtlessly, in response to their natural feeling of humanity and the kindness of Kerr Boys, Esq., (we think an Irishman) who has loaned the congregation a considerable sum towards the building of their place of worship.—Those who are acquainted with the persons composing this new society of Israelites, must be aware that they have not very ample means, though there are among them several wealthy men. But be this as it may, the Israelites all over the world are so much accustomed to aid each other in their pious labours, that the present effort at establishing a new house of prayer, deserves the kind co-operation of all having the means to aid therein; especially if it be considered that the greater part of the new society were deprived, by a legal decision, from all right and power in a congregation which they or their fathers had helped to establish.—We hope, therefore, that our friends will aid them to erect their Synagogue, and to see that the debt which as to be incurred, will be speedily discharged. We deem farther appeal useless, and write the above merely as an introduction to a circular handed to us by the Vice-President of the Kahal, Mr. Martin Loovis, and which we herewith annex.


Dear Sir,

“The innovations and reforms introduced by the Israelites of Charleston at  present worshipping at the Hasell Street Synagogue, has compelled fifty-six families who felt desirous to worship God according to the ancient usage, and after the manner of their forefathers, to leave that splendid and consecrated Temple, and seek their rights to the edifice, to which they had so liberally contributed, by an appeal to the laws.

“We were strenuously opposed by the innovators, and after a length of time were twice defeated, after incurring very heavy expenses.  The majority had to yield their place of worship to the minority, and this was the law; but was it justice?

“Finding that a third effort to recover our claim would be in vain, and conscientiously opposed to the mode of worship of the innovators, we deem it necessary to establish a congregation upon orthodox principles, and to erect a Synagogue. Among our fifty-six families, there are only a few wealthy ones; the majority have not sufficient means to allow them to contribute largely. Notwithstanding, they have all generously brought their contributions, as in olden times, and we have thus far succeeded in collecting $2,500, which has enabled us to secure the purchase of a piece of land.

“We, the members of the above congregation therefore submit the foregoing facts to the consideration of OUR BRETHREN, and solicit their aid towards erecting a building, dedicating it to worship of Almighty God after the manner of our forefathers.”