Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- November 01, 1871[Sermon on the Chicago Fire before the Sinai Community]
At the corner of Wabash Avenue and Peck Court a house of worship is situated. About a year ago the house had been changed from a church into a synagogue. Last Saturday it saw within its walls a curious gathering. Dr. Chronik gave a sermon of penitance that was worthy of the world-historic event that formed its theme. Among those present were many members of Mount Sinai Community whose synagogue was destroyed by the conflagration. Many of them had stood at the top of the business world before the Fire. Now they must begin over again on the lowest rung of the ladder.
It was an immensely difficult task. Dr. Chronik showed himself equal to it. He did not change his well-known viewpoints; on the contrary, he lifted his audience up to them with a colossal exertion. He saw in the great conflagration, not a divine punishment for sinners; he did not inject the elementary forces from the outside into the "moral" aspect of the conflagration. "The 2ethical meaning of the catastrophe lay, first of all," said Dr. Chronik, "in the fact that it opens our eyes and irresistibly tells us that we did not use the material goods which we received in so large a measure, and that we neglected the spiritual for the material. We have been unworthy administrators of the goods entrusted to us. This feeling embittered our loss." This part of the sermon was executed brilliantly. It should be heeded not only by Israelites. We regretted that Dr. Chronik did not dwell upon this theme longer. For the same reason we would regret if, at this moment, when a "new departure" has to be taken by all of us--a spiritual one at that--Dr. Chronik, a man and a knight of the spirit, should be lost to our city. May we, just now, be spared such a loss!
I C, III C
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