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The Synagogue Beth El in Jerusalem


Since our last, Rabbi Jechiel Cohen has arrived in this city, and from conversation with him, we learn that the Israelites in the Holy City have but one building especially erected for public worship, besides the small structure Beth El, which it is proposed to enlarge and to rebuild. We have also inspected the letter accrediting him to the various American congregations, in which the chiefs of the <<524>>congregation, at the head of whom is the name of the late Grand Rabbi, Abraham Hayim Gagin, deceased since Rabbi J.’s departure, deeply deplore the want of space for the worshippers, now felt in the increased population of Jews, inasmuch as the structure in question will barely hold forty persons. We also learn that all the congregations in Jerusalem worship in mere rooms, with the exception of the Portuguese, and these, as said, have but one other Synagogue besides the above; whereas the Turks, Catholics, Greeks, and Protestants, have all fine buildings, raised chiefly by the contributions brought thither from all countries by the various followers of the different creeds. The Jews alone are strangers on the soil given to their fathers as a divine gift; and even the contemplated building will have to pay a tax to the government before the people can be permitted to erect it. Still they have resolved to commence, with a firm reliance on divine aid, and they sent Rabbi Jechiel hither to appeal to the pious feelings of the American Israelites to aid them in their purpose to glorify becomingly the name of the Great King. Every little contribution will be welcome to a community suffering under poverty and oppression; and we hope that wherever Rabbi Jechiel will make his appeal, he will be listened to with attention; as it will be a beautiful idea, that through the aid of the outcasts of Israel in the western world, a worthy house of God should be reared in the ancient capital of our once powerful kingdom, which we trust will be restored under Him to whom the government belongs, and in whose day there will be peace over all the earth, and knowledge of God in every heart.

We have received a printed copy of Judge Noah’s address, delivered on November 23d, in the Synagogue Shearith Israel, of New York; after the delivery of which a handsome collection was taken up for the object under question;—but the articles demanding admittance this month preclude us from noticing the benevolent gentleman’s production in extenso. But the subject can bear delay, and we hope to recur to it hereafter:—By the by, we see, in the New York Journal of Commerce, as coming from Judge N., some interesting details concerning a discovery made by Mr. James Nathan, an Israelite, Mr. Catherwood, and others, under the mosque Aksa, partly on the site of the ancient temple, which clearly, prove that the whole of the building was never destroyed. We will refer Judge N., for the present, merely to Lamentations, 2:9: “Her gates are sunk into the ground; he hath destroyed and broken her bars;” which proves a sinking of the building, not a destruction absolute and final.—This occasion is again one where we have cause to regret the small compass of our magazine, and the unpleasant <<525>>long interval which must elapse ere we again appear. But this is all unavoidable; and hence our readers, as well as we, must be satisfied as well as we can with what is at present at our command.