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After Congregation Shearith Israel recalled the Rev.Gershom Mendez Seixas to New York, Congregation Mickvé Israel elected the Rev. The latter had officiated as Chazzan of the Spanish and Portuguese synagogue in Montreal and had served in a like capacity in New York during the British occupation.The first Jewish resident of Philadelphia on record was Jonas Aaron.His name appears in 1703 ("American Historical Register," April, 1895).
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.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.He ministered to the Congregation Mickvé Israel until his death in Sept., 1811.
As a result of the departure of its members, in 1788 the congregation encountered financial difficulties.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.