Rabbi Michael (Moses) G. Solomon
Values Code: I-H-L-E
Rabbi Michael G. Solomon was born in 1868, in Pusen Province, a Polish area then under control of Prussia.
He came to America with his parents as a young man, attending City College in New York City, then the University of Cincinnati and Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati at the same time. He graduated both in 1893.
After spending two years in a Youngstown, Ohio pulpit, he was invited to Los Angeles to fill the pulpit of Congregation B’nai B’rith (now Wilshire Boulevard Temple), as successor to Rabbi Abraham Blum.
The New Building
Rabbi Solomon was Rabbi when the congregation had closed its old building, was meeting in rented halls, and was preparing to build a new synagogue structure.
Rabbi Solomon joined the task and construction was completed in the Fall of 1896.
The architect was Abraham M. Edelman, son of Rabbi Abraham W. Edelman, the first Rabbi of the congregation.
The synagogue’s President at the time of the cornerstone laying was Herman W. Hellman, and its watchful Treasurer was Herman Silver.
The new Congregation B’nai B’rith was designed, built, furnished entirely by home talent and home materials – even the organ
Rabbi Solomon introduced the Union Prayer Book to the syangogue, bringing the services directly under the form of the Reform Movement. However, the congregation still refrained from officially joining the Reform Movement.
Rabbi Solomon concentrated heavily on Jewish education for the children. In doing so he ran into his first problem.
He expected equal opportunity and equal handling of all children regardless of their parents’ “status” in the congregation. This disturbed a number the the more “priviliged families.
Dispite the fact that the size of Los Angeles had doubled over the past twelve years, and the building of a new structure, the membership of the synagague remaind stagnant.
Toward the end of his second year the Board informed Rabbi Solomon that they were placing an advertisement in newspapers for a possible new Rabbi. They told him that this was just a formality required by “rules.”
Rabbi Solomon was re-elected for an additional two year term. Toward the end of his third year, Solomon advised the Board that he would not seek renewal.
Leaving Congregation B’nai B’rith, he served for a short time at an attempt to a new Reform synagogue in Los Angeles, but moved shortly to a pulpit in New Jersey.
In 1903 Rabbi Solomon returned to California to study Law and was admitted to the Bar in Los Angeles.
In 1904 he and Rabbi Edelman led High Holy Day services at the Elk’s Hall to a large attendence.
In 1896 Rabbi Michael G. Solomon married Miriam Silverman, sister of Rabbi Joseph Silverman, a classmate at Hebrew Union College.
More information can be found in the following issue of Western States Jewish History:
- Solomon, Michael G.; Michael G. Solomon; 1868-1927; Rabbi and Lawyer of Los Angeles; Los Angeles; Clar, Reva & Kramer, William M.; 14/1, 38/3&4.
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