This is the Mikveh Israel History blog. The goal of the blog is to post articles relating to the history of congregation Kahal Kadosh Mikveh Israel, the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in the City of Philadelphia. Most of the articles will be biographical pieces on members, officers, adjuntos and ministers of Mikveh Israel’s past, though I expect to cover other topics of interest as well. Most of the articles will be around 700-800 words in length. Note that this blog is not associated or affliated with the synagogue.
Over the past year, I have written about 35 articles, usually about people whose memory we remember on the anniversary of their passing (nahala). I will post the historical articles over the next year. In the more recent articles, I have added a bibliography at the end, though I didn’t do that in the earlier entries. I will add bibliographies to the previous articles as I post them.
I first came to Mikveh Israel — KKMI — in 1997. Since then I have been very active in the congregation, leading Friday night, Shabbat morning, and weekday services, serving on the Board of Managers, serving several years as Vice-President (Segan), and one year as President (Parnas), in 2012.
While serving as President, I started to write articles in our newsletter, The Record, which was sent out to the congregation weekly by email, as well as a printed version that was distributed at the synagogue on Shabbat. It occurred to me that even though we have a rich history which dates back before the American Revolution, very few members know much about their historical counterparts — the historical members of the congregation who were deeply involved in shaping the Jewish community of Philadelphia, and helped shape and establish the very foundations of the United States. Members of Mikveh Israel set a shining example for educating its young people, for serving the community at large, and in showing compassion and providing aid to the poor and aged of all races, creeds, and ethnic backgrounds.
Even though it is a historic congregation dating back to before the American Revolution, Mikveh Israel is today a vibrant community with a full schedule of services, educational lectures, classes and social activities. I encourage all to visit the community and experience the history and importance of this great living Jewish Synagogue and American Institution.
Your comments and feedback would be very much appreciated.