Monday, January 12, 2009

LSS Fact of the Day

1860 Baltimore American


Consecration of Lloyd Street Synagogue -- The interesting ceremony of consecrating a Hebrew Synagogue to the worship of the Most High, was performed yesterday afternoon in the eastern section of the city. – The building dedicated has long been known as the Lloyd Street Synagogue. Until within the last six months the edifice was of contracted proportions, and quite insufficient for the accommodation of the already large and steadily increasing congregation. It was decided to enlarge the building, and improve it to meet the necessittee [sic.] of the worshippers. The new and handsome structure consecrated is the result of that determination.

The Synagogue is not of imposing dimensions. On the contrary its proportions are quite moderate, even with the present addition of some thirty feet to its length, but it is nevertheless one of the prettiest places of worship in the city. Its decoration are in good taste; its pews, furniture, carpeting, stucco work, &c., neat and durable. The main body of the building (as is the case with all Synagogues) is set apart for the men. The galleries, extending along three sides of the house, is appropriated to the women. In both places pews are arranged for the accommodation of worshippers, space for each person in them being numbered and seats let singly for the year. Four rows of pews commence at the entrance, or front of the church, and extend as far as the middle, where a comparatively open space is formed immediately in front of the ark. On each side of this space a row of pews is continued till within a few feet of the extreme end of the building. Within the space left in the centre of the building, the desk, handsomely draped in purple velvet with bullion bordering, is raised. In front of the desk a number of semi-circular benches are placed for the accommodation of the choir, who face the ark and pulpit stand.

The ark itself is built up the extreme end of the synagogue and rests upon a broad, spacious platform, approached by a short flight of steps, commencing a few feet from the choristers’ seats. It is the first thing that catches the eye upon entering the building. In shape it somewhat resembles the Corinthian portico of a large mansion. The columns adorning its front are fluted and touched with gilding. The capitols of each column are elaborately wrought and tastefully gilded, and contribute greatly to the effect of the work. A beautiful purple velvet curtain, on which a single crown is wrought in gold, with olive branches relieving it, hides the interior of the sacred place from view. Upon the top of all is placed a stain glass representation of the two tablets delivered to Moses on Mt. Sinai, with the Hebrew characters of the Ten Commands of God inscribed thereon. At three and a half o’clock in the afternoon the doors of the synagogue were thrown open and the people began to assemble. The galleries were soon filled with ladies and it was not long before they were packed. The men secured seats in the places allotted them. In all, it is estimated that six or eight hundred people were in attendance. A printed programme [sic.] in the German language was circulated and the exercises shortly after commenced. A good band of musicians, with stringed and wind instruments, were present, and together with thirty-five singers, occupied the choir seats, the singers were all males, and among them were a number of boys, with fine alto and tenor voices.

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