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William Penn Annex East in Philadelphia in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Mikveh Israel

1740

 
 
Mikveh Israel Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Beverly Pfingsten, July 5, 2008
1. Mikveh Israel Marker
Inscription.  
Mikveh Israel, "The Hope of Israel," is Philadelphia's oldest Jewish Congregation, which began in the 1740s with worship services in a private home in Sterling Alley. The community then purchased a parcel of land from Thomas Penn for a Jewish cemetery, still located on Spruce Street. In 1782, Mikveh Israel constructed its first building on Cherry Street between Third and Fourth.

The Synagogue remained in Old City until 1909, when it moved to a site on North Broad Street shared with Gratz College and Dropsie University, both of which had been founded and endowed by congregants of Mikveh Israel. In 1976, America's Bicentennial, Mikveh Israel returned to this site on Independence Mall near its original location.

Mikveh Israel's two-fold tradition synthesizes the Spanish-Portuguese (Sephardic) Jewish ritual with the ongoing development of the American Jewish Community. Past members include great statesmen, jurists, educators, scientists, and patriots. The Congregation and its members have founded institutions of learning, the arts and philanthropy, including Gratz College, the first Hebrew teachers' college in the Western
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Hemisphere.

Among the most revered members are: Haym Solomon, financier of the Revolutionary War; Nathan Levy, whose ship the Myrtilla brought the Liberty Bell to this country; and Rebecca Gratz, philanthropist and founder of the Hebrew Sunday School society. Dr. Cyrus Adler and Judge Mayer Sulzberger helped found the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Publication Society of America and the Jewish Welfare Board. Isaac Leeser, minister from 1829 to 1850, revolutionized American Jewry by translating the Bible into English, publishing the first Hebrew/English prayer book in America, and introducing the English sermon into the American Synagogue. Leeser's successor, Sabato Morais, was co-founder and first president of the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Mikveh Israel's service has remained virtually unchanged since its beginnings, and is conducted entirely in Hebrew, except for the sermon and the prayer for the government.

Also on the site is the National Museum of American Jewish History.
 
Erected by Old Philadelphia Congregations.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial SitesChurches & ReligionColonial EraEducation. A significant historical year for this entry is 1782.
 
Location. 39° 57.068′ N, 75° 8.83′ 
Mikveh Israel Marker [Reverse] image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), January 14, 2023
2. Mikveh Israel Marker [Reverse]
W. Marker is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia County. It is in William Penn Annex East. Marker is on 4th Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 45 N 5th St, Philadelphia PA 19106, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Haym Salomon (a few steps from this marker); Jonathan Netanyahu and Entebbe (within shouting distance of this marker); On this block in 1976 (within shouting distance of this marker); 4th & Market (within shouting distance of this marker); Arch Street Meeting House (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Arch Street Meeting House (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Sarah Mapps Douglass / Quakers & Social Justice / Arch Street Meeting House (about 300 feet away); Restoration of the Bainbridge Graves (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Philadelphia.
 
Mikveh Israel Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), January 14, 2023
3. Mikveh Israel Marker
Mikveh Israel Synagogue image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Beverly Pfingsten, July 5, 2008
4. Mikveh Israel Synagogue
Religous Liberty Statue image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Beverly Pfingsten, July 5, 2008
5. Religous Liberty Statue
Decicated to the People of the United States by the Order B'nai B'rith. Statue is in front of the Jewish Museum at 5th Street.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 2, 2023. It was originally submitted on July 19, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,349 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on July 19, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.   2, 3. submitted on January 17, 2023, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.   4, 5. submitted on July 19, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.

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Apr. 23, 2024