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In 1761, owing to the influx of Spanish and Portuguese Jews from England, the Netherlands and the West Indies, the question of building a synagogue was raised, but nothing was then accomplished in that direction.
In 1773, when Bernard Gratz was parnas and Solomon Marache treasurer, a subscription was started "in order to support our holy worship and establish it on a more solid foundation." The number of Jewish residents in Philadelphia was suddenly increased at the outbreak of the American Revolution by the influx of Jewish patriots from New York, which had been captured by the British (Sept., 1776).
The first Jewish resident of Philadelphia on record was Jonas Aaron.
His name appears in 1703 ("American Historical Register," April, 1895).
Part of their business consisted of the importation of slaves.
Along with Joseph Marks, Jewish merchants from Rhode Island, Jacob Rivera and Aaron Lopez, they brought in about 650 or over half the slaves that arrived in the region.
The estimate for the new building was £600, and the subscription being inadequate, Haym Salomon, the banker and financial agent of the Continental Congress, agreed to pay one-fourth the cost.After Congregation Shearith Israel recalled the Rev.