|Rabbi Michaelis Machol|
|by Nathan Arnold|
Rabbi Michaelis Machol was
one of the most interesting personalities I have
ever studied. He was an outstanding rabbi of the
Anshe Chesed Congregation of Cleveland, Ohio,
leading the congregation from 1876 until 1906.
During his tenure the congregation instituted
occasional English sermons, installed an organ
and moved to men worshipping with uncovered
heads. However he demonstrated personal
Conservative leanings in sermons and published
articles, e.g., deploring the destruction of
"every ceremony." He was often referred to as
“Reverend Doctor” Machol rather than Rabbi.
He settled first in Leavenworth, Kansas in 1869. In September 1871 he became rabbi at Kehillath Anshe Maariv in Chicago, Illinois There he married Minnie Rosenthal, the daughter of Rabbi Bernhard Rosenthal of Alton, Illinois. They would have five children: Jacob, Henry, Bernhard, Gertrude, and Ernest. The rabbi belonged to the Masons.
Rabbi Machol came to Cleveland in
1876 to lead Anshe Chesed, Cleveland's first
synagogue. He came here at the advice of his
friend, Dr. Samuel Wolfenstein, the Director of
The Jewish Orphan Asylum located on Woodland
Avenue in Cleveland. At the time of his arrival
at Anshe Chesed, the congregation had 120 member
families with a religious school of 130
children. The congregation was making the
transition from Orthodoxy to Progressive Modern
Reform. It was located in the city's first
synagogue building on Eagle Street, near the
Central Market downtown. He oversaw the
congregation's growth in the 1880s.
In 1890, he helped arrange an
agreement by which Anshe Chesed and Tifereth
Israel Congregation would jointly own the
Mayfield Cemetery located near the corner of
Mayfield and Coventry Roads in Cleveland
Heights, and also the old Willet Street
In 1901 Anshe Ched celebrated
Machol's 25th year as its spiritual leader with
a very large party held at The Colonial Hotel on
Prospect Street in downtown Cleveland. The menu
included Blue Point Oysters, Turtle Soup,
Kennebec Salmon, Filet of Beef, Mallard Duck,
Neapolitan ice cream and Roquefort cheese. Of
course, traditional Kashrut was no longer
considered appropriate for the congregation.
They also served German wines and wonderful
cigars. A three day celebration then ensued with
guests from around the country.
About Nathan Arnold
Nationally known as an appraiser of industrial equipment, Clevelander "Nate" Arnold is also well known as the man who has guided thousands on bus and trolley tours of old Jewish Cleveland. He is also the author of this website's section: A Virtual Tour of Old Jewish Cleveland.
Nate and his wife Suzanne are long-term members of Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple, where many regard him as their historian. Here he writes about one of its rabbis he knows only through much research: Michaelis Machol, who served Anshe Chesed for 36 years (1876-1907 as rabbi and 1907-12 as rabbi emeritus).
tour, In front of the
costume, ready for an interpretation
of Rabbi Michaelis Machol.