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Iowa's First Synagogue

Daily Gate City (Keokuk)
Abstracts of Articles concerning the Jewish Community

July 2, 1874
New Jewish Synagogue

Israelites of the city intend to erect a Synagogue at an early date. The Ladies Benevolent Society, like true daughters of Israel, started the enterprise. Some twelve months ago they purchased a lot at the corner of 8th & Blondeau streets for one thousand dollars. They then donated one thousand. This amount has been advanced upwards to three thousand dollars by subscriptions by the members. The Congregation Benal Israel numbers less than twenty (20) members.

December 3, 1874
Contracts Let for the Erection of a Jewish Synagogue

The cost will be between $12,000.00 and $15,000.00. The building will be of brick, will be a ornament to the city and will be another addition to the list of magnificent structures erected.

July 14, 1877
Congregation Benal Israel

Completion of the new Jewish Synagogue. The cost was between $15,000.00 and $16,000.00. The work has been done under the direction of the Building Committee
Of which Samuel Klein is chairman.

M. Spiesberger, President
M. Vogel, Vice-President
Levi Spiesberger, Treasurer
Henry Weil, Secretary

M. Stern, Jacob Spiesberger, Samuel Younker, J. R. Spiesberger * Moses Stern

Building Committee
Sam Klein, M. Speisberger, M. Vogel, M. Stern, L. Soloman, Samuel Younker

July 21, 1877

S. S. Weil, Marcus Younker, Sol Lyons, D. Meyer

Miss Emma Klein, Miss Gettie Solomon

Miss Libby (soprano), Misses Soloman and Fels (alto), M. R. King (tenor), Messrs. English and Hirsch (Bass)

June 11, 1887
Few but Faithful

Sixteen person constitute the membership at this time
Mayer Spiesberger, J. R. Spiesberger, Emanuel Spiesberger, Jacob Spiesberger, Levi Spiesberger, Moses Stern, B. Berman, M. Younker, Solomon Lyons, L. Soloman, M. Vogel, S. S. Lowitz, Simon Lowitz, J. B. Weil, B. Hirsch, Ben Allmayer (Ottumwa)

Misses Leonora Stern, Bertha Rena, Millie and Rebecca Spiesberger, Leah Solomon, Nettie Younker

Historical Sketch
About 22 years ago on the 29th day of April, 1855, a number of Israelites of the city united together and formed a Benevolent Society. A burial ground had been bought from the city. (*100.00) (Now the Old Hebrew Cemetery at Oakland Cemetery)

First Officers
Samuel Gerstle, M. E. Hirsch, N. Hoffheimer, Louis Moore

November 22, 1855

The constitution of the Congregation was drawn up and the following officers elected. M. Vogel being the only one of the original members (1855) now residing in the city: L. Eppinger, John Blum, N. Hoffheimer, H. Strauss, M. Vogel

The panic of 1857 swept over the country , the crash which followed affected the prosperity and growth of the city. Only a few of the faith remained here but they nobly upheld the society. In 1863 a sufficient number of again resided here to make the society again prosperous.

Thirty-two years of Officers, 1855-1887

Samuel Gerstle, L. Eppinger, M. Vogel, S. Rauh, R. Vogel, L. M. Younker, I. M. Lesem, Samuel Klein, Samuel Younker, L. Soloman, M. Spiesberger, S. S. Lowitz

N. Hoffheimer, L. Moore, Sam Hauh, Sam Kleis, L. Soloman, L. N. Stern, I. M. Lesem, Levi Spiesberger, L. Nachman, Henry Weil, M. Weil, I. N. Stern, Jacob Spiesberger

Ministers of the Congregation; In Succession
Revs B. Rosenthal, M. Marcasson, Joseph Schwed, M. Suggenheimer, M. Strauss, F. Becker, Joseph Bogen, E. K. Fisher, R. Rabbino, S. Laski

* Names from another article

Compiled from papers at the Keokuk Library by Sally Youngquist


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