“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Philadelphia in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Mikveh Israel


Mikveh Israel Marker image. Click for full size.
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 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
Mikveh Israel Synagogue image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, July 5, 2008
2. Mikveh Israel Synagogue
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.
Location. 39° 57.068′ N, 75° 8.83′ W. Marker is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia County. Marker is on 4th Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 44 N. 4th Street, Philadelphia PA 19106, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Benjamin Rush, M.D. (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Mathew Carey (about 400 feet away); Commodore Uriah Phillips Levy
Religous Liberty Statue image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, July 5, 2008
3. 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.
(about 400 feet away); Joseph Hewes (about 400 feet away); George Ross (about 400 feet away); Haym Salomon (about 400 feet away); Francis Hopkinson (about 400 feet away); Matthew Clarkson (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Philadelphia.
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesChurches & ReligionColonial EraEducationNotable Persons
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 19, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,141 times since then and 35 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 19, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.
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