Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- June 21, 1875The Sinai Congregation
The Jewish Sinai congregation celebrated the laying of the cornerstone of the new temple at the southeast corner of Indiana Avenue and 21st Street--diagonally opposite from the First Presbyterian Church. Nearly all the members of the Jewish congregation as well as many visitors were present and the festival proceeded in an unostentatious but dignified manner.
The building plans combine beauty with utility and the temple will therefore be an excellent architectural addition to the other churches in the vicinity. The temple covers an area of ninety by one hundred feet and its height, to the gable, is eighty-one feet. The dome which is to surmount the structure will reach 130 feet above the street level.
The building will have a spacious basement beneath the temple hall. The lower part will have a fourteen-foot ceiling and is to serve as a lecture hall and Sunday-school room. One room is to be used as a library and everything 2will be furnished comfortably and elegantly.
The entire floor above the basement will form the temple hall, which is to be panelled in wood. Light will filter through windows of artistically stained glass.
A nice gallery above the east entrance will accommodate visitors.
The organ, etc., are to be on the west side.
The entrances to the temple will not only have as practical an arrangement as possible, but, if the designs are followed, will also be imposing and splendid.
The rabbis will have special studies, dressing rooms, and other accommodations in the building.3
The temple will contain four large hot-air furnaces, connected with a ventilating system, which will provide heat in winter and fresh air in summer.
The exterior of the temple will show a marked contrast to other local churches, since the walls will form straight, uninterrupted lines, thus giving an appearance of simplicity. The monotonous surface will be relieved only by the gracefully formed windows and the tower. The slate roof will be like a Greek cross in form.
The masonry will consist of roughhewn limestone. The total cost is estimated at seventy-five thousand dollars. Architect [Dankmar] Adler will supervise the construction.
The festivities to celebrate the laying of the cornerstone were very simple and dignified, since the congregation, with its modern tendencies, dispensed with the rather old-fashioned Jewish custom of making an elaborate display.4
Dr. [K.] Kohler gave the sermon in English, and a few suitable remarks were made by B. Loewenthal, president of the congregation, and by several other gentlemen.
The church choir sang a few appealing and inspiring selections.
Copies of the local daily papers and of Jewish periodicals from all parts of the country, a history of the congregation and a list of its members were sealed in the cornerstone.
The Sinai congregation will continue, at present, to hold its religious services at Martin's Hall, at the corner of Twenty-Second Street and Indiana Avenue, until the new temple is completed.
The officials of the congregation are as follows: B. Loewenthal, president; H. Meyers, vice-president; H. Felsenthal, secretary; M. Ryder, treasurer, and 5Dr. Kohler, rabbi.
The congregation was founded in 1860 and has enjoyed constant growth since that time. The present membership consists of 110 families.
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