|The program for the celebration of a Bar Mitzva at the Neue Dammtor=Synagog in Hamburg. It contains the words to two songs, in Hebrew with the German translation. The first is from Isaiah (59:21), and the second is from Psalm 19, verses 8-10.
The Neue Dammtor-Synagoge (New Dammtor Synagogue), a conservative religious association, was built by the architects Schlepps and Rzekonski, and officially inaugerated on 15.08.1895. The synagogue goes back to one in a house in Jungfernstieg opened by Dr. Joseph Isaacsohn of the "Newe Schalaum" (place of peace) on 9.09.1879. This synagogue had places for 180 men and 90 women. It had to be closed in 1887 as the fire regulations could not be adhered to.
As, in the last decades of the nineteenth-century, more and more Jews settled vor dem Dammtor it became necessary to establish a larger synagogue. (Tor = gate, Dammtor: a term for the gate that formerly stood where todays railway bridge crosses Dammtordamm. The area north-west of Dammtor was referred to as "vor dem Dammtor", vor = in front of). The Synagoge-Verband (Synagogue Society) made several attempts to establish a new synagogue here. In 1892 a general appeal brought several men together who formed a "committee for the establishment of the new Dammthor-Synagoge" under the leadership of Moritz Stavenhagen.
At the first meeting in 1893 a committee was elected to undertake the establishment of a synagogue "with a respectful religious service and in accordance with the requirements of the present day". It was fortunate that the community of heirs of I. H. A. Schulz agreed to build a synagogue, at their cost, on their land in Beneckestraße. All that was required was a guarantee of a ten year lease on the synagogue. There was no problem finding guarantors for the lease of the building and money for the furnishings. The synagogue had places for 500 people.
The statutes of the synagogue stipulated that the religious services were to be held according to orthodox ritual, but with the omission of the Pijutim, i.e. prayers added to the service on the sabbath and during festivals in orthodox ritual. No musical instrument was to be used but a good four-part choir was to be employed. A particular emphasis was placed upon absolute silence during services. It was also desired that a good cantor and preacher be acquired.
In the founding years the Synagogue Society made several attempts to join the synagogue. These negotiations were unsucessful as the Synagogue Society set unacceptable conditions regarding the order of prayers and the structural arrangement of the synagogue. Finally, the Synagogue Society, that had attempted to avoid the building of another synagogue in the same district, had to build the Synagoge am Bornplatz (Bornplatz Synagogue).
Also, later negotiations with the Tempel-Verband (Temple Society), a liberal religious association, led to nothing. The New Dammtor Synagogue finally remained independent because it adhered to the wishes of its founder: to hold respectful religious services without being long-draw-out but also without reforms.