June, 9 2006 WWW.KANESTREET.ORG Shabbat Naso
In this issue …
We celebrate the founding and sustaining of the congregation, by highlighting significant events and people from 1853 to the present day. “Rabbis, Cantors and Presidents 1856-2006” reflects the names of several nineteenth-century leaders recently discovered through the Brooklyn Eagle and congregational archives. On Shabbat Naso, the Torah portion includes the blessings bestowed on the children of Israel, “May the Lord bless thee, and keep thee, and make his face shine upon thee, be gracious unto thee, lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” Numbers 6: 24-27. Our synagogue leaders have repeated the priestly blessing for one hundred and fifty years.
The earliest record of a celebration is in 1881 on Baith Israel’s twenty-fifth anniversary. By coincidence, that same year the Eagle reported on Congregation Achai Israel’s first annual ball. It seems that Achai Israel of Columbia Street was the predecessor to Anshei Emes of Degraw Street. Baith Israel’s anniversary balls were annual events that were held for many years at Saegerbund Hall, located at Smith and Schermerhorn streets near the Boerum Place Synagogue. “Anniversary Celebrations 1881-2006” reveals slight variances in the month, location or nature of the event. During the 1920s, weeklong Bazaars offered merchandise for sale and entertainment. Word from Albert Socolov is, “Dinah Shore came to sing at one [when] she was just an unknown, a fledgling… I have some recollection that Harry Belafonte was at Kane Street.” Most anniversaries were dinner and dancing at a hotel, a catering hall or the synagogue’s community room.
Synagogue archives include anniversary souvenir journals from most years beginning in 1916. An exhibit now on display in the synagogue lobby features the souvenirs, which offer details on the congregation’s social history, its organization of committees, schools, membership and ads. The exhibit includes a panoramic photograph of the guests attending the 1956 Centennial at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel and a scrapbook filled with clippings and telegrams acquired through a publicity campaign led by Howard J. Rubenstein. Fifty years after the Centennial, Howard J. Rubenstein Associates is providing publicity for the 2006 gala. This year, the Congregation honors Donald Olenick who has served as President for the past two years. The event will be held at the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge on June 14th.
The annual meeting will be held this year on June 20th at 7 PM. In 1880, members not attending the annual meeting were assessed fifty cents. For many years, committee chairs would give annual reports; some were saved between the pages of Trustee minute books. Today, the notion of charging fees to members who don’t attend the Annual Meetings seems harsh. Meetings are festive with the election and installation of Officers and Trustees, and refreshments in our air conditioned community room. Congratulations to incoming President Susan Rifkin, the Officers and Trustees. Shehekianu!
Carol Levin, Editor
Congregation Baith Israel Anshei Emes 1853 - 2006
The chronology reflects significant events and people during the congregation’s first one hundred and fifty years.
Rabbis, Cantors and Presidents 1856 – 2006
Many of the early Rabbis and Cantors on this list were recently discovered.
(image c. 1971: Rabbi Elliott Rosen and future presidents Isaac Druker and Judith R. Greenwald)
Anniversary Celebrations 1881- 2006
This list of anniversary events provides dates, venues, honorees and themes.
Brooklyn Eagle on 19th Century Anniversary Balls
“The Achai Israel Ball”
Credit: Brooklyn Eagle, December 22, 1881, Page 3
A significant article as it dates the establishment of the Anshei Emes congregation to 1880 and its Columbia Street address. Although the spelling of the congregation differs, several names correspond to Anshei Emes membership records.
“To Celebrate an Anniversary”
Credit: Brooklyn Eagle, March 16, 1887, Page 4
“In celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone.”
“Congregation Baith Israel”
Credit: Brooklyn Eagle, February 20, 1900, Page 2
Article relates that “it was almost daylight the next morning when the final waltz was reluctantly whirled off.”
“Congregation Baith Israel”
Credit: Brooklyn Eagle, February 11, 1891, Page 3
About four hundred people attended the annual ball. A partial list of attendees includes young single men and women. “The grand march was led by [president] Lewis Jacobs and his daughter, Miss Hattie Jacobs.”
History Repeats Itself
Judy Greenwald reports on milestone celebrations fifty years apart. Howard J. Rubenstein handled publicity for the Kane Street Synagogue’s 100th and 150th.
Credit: Drucker-Hilbert Co.
(Detail of panoramic photo - May 13, 1956, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel)
1853: Jews of Brooklyn organize the United Brethren Benefit Society and consecrate Jewish burial ground at Washington Cemetery, Gravesend. They attend synagogues in Manhattan.
1855: Members of United Brethren organize as Congregation Baith Israel.
1856: Congregation Baith Israel incorporates in January and dedicates a brownstone building at 155 Atlantic Street near South Ferry Terminal as Atlantic Street Synagogue.
1860: Several members secede from the Congregation to form Beth Elohim.
1862: Baith Israel, with thirty-five members, builds the first Jewish house of worship on all of Long Island. The Boerum Place Synagogue, located three blocks from City (now Borough) Hall on the southeast corner of State Street and Boerum Place is completed at a cost of $10,000. The land cost $3,000.
Julius Corn, organizes the Sunday school and serves as principal for twenty-five years
1863: The Civil War claims the life of congregant Brigadier-General Leopold C. Newman, a hero of seventeen battles. He is buried in the Congregation’s cemetery in Union Field in Cypress Hills. The cemetery had been acquired in 1862 from Shearith Israel (The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue).
1869: Reform dissenters from Baith Israel secede and join with dissenters from Kahal Kodesh Beth Elohim of Williamsburg to organize Temple Israel. In 1925 Temple Israel rejoins Beth Elohim of Williamsburg and forms Union Temple on Eastern Parkway.
1873: Mixed seating is adopted. On Sukkot, Baith Israel holds its first Confirmation service for girls.
1874: The Daughters of Israel Society is organized to relieve the sick and the poor.
1876: The Sunday School holds its first public examination of one hundred twelve students; all are present in the Sanctuary.
1878: Rev. Dr. Tintner is dismissed after officiating at the wedding of a Jewish woman and Christian man.
1879: The synagogue is reconstructed with the traditional central reading table moved to the front. The women’s front and side galleries are removed.
1891: Baith Israel wins a lawsuit to stop the building of an elevated railroad along Atlantic Avenue, Boerum Place and Adams, Sands & Washington Streets.
1898: Simon Brenner, a member of the Chevra Kedusha, (burial society) has his bed moved into the synagogue before his death so he may live his last hours there. Burial rites and a burial plot are privileges of membership.
The Chevra Kedusha society administers to the dying and to burial until 1921, when the Cemeteries Committee is formed. Funeral parlors take over the administration of burial rites, but the Committee continues to maintain the congregation’s burial grounds in Union Field, Beth-El, Machpelah, and New Mount Carmel Cemeteries in Cypress Hills, in Washington Cemetery in Flatbush, and in Wellwood Cemetery in Suffolk County. Today membership includes the privilege to purchase a plot on these grounds.
1899: Chevre Talmud Torah Anshei Emes is organized. It meets at 140 Degraw Street until 1908.
1905: Membership declines to thirty. To promote future growth the Congregation sells the Boerum Place Synagogue and purchases its present premises on Harrison (now Kane) Street from the German Evangelical Lutheran Church of South Brooklyn. The premises had been built between 1855-56 by the Middle Dutch Reformed Protestant Church, which sold the property in 1887 to the Salvation Army. The acquisition by the German Evangelical Lutheran Church of South Brooklyn occurred shortly thereafter.
The Congregation hires Israel Goldfarb who serves for one year as Cantor and is then retained as Rabbi for the next fifty-three years until 1959. Thereafter he continues as Rabbi emeritus until his death in 1965. Rabbi Goldfarb was a member of Rabbi Solomon Schechter’s first graduating class at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1902.
Rabbi Goldfarb forms a daily afternoon Hebrew School. The school’s most famous bar mitzvah student is composer Aaron Copland. The school is also attended by Sidney J. Weinberg, renowned chairman of Goldman Sachs from 1939 to 1969, and by prominent realtors Sol and Irving Goldman.
1906: The Sunday school building is wired for electricity.
1908: Congregation Baith Israel and Chevre Talmud Torah Anshei Emes merge to become Congregation Baith Israel Anshei Emes.
1911: The Sanctuary is rededicated with newly installed electric lights, pulpit, stained glass windows and bronze menorahs.
1913: The United Synagogue is organized with Rabbi Goldfarb and members Isaac Applebaum and Michael Salit among its twenty-two founders.
1915: The Talmud Torah offers Hebrew instruction to girls for the first time.
1917: The Congregation petitions President Wilson to support “the development of Palestine into a Jewish Common-wealth” and solicits members to become “Builders of Zion.”
The Jewish Circle installs a new medallion art window with a Star of David above the Aron Hakodesh. This is replaced in 1929 with stained glass “Ten Commandments.”
1918: The Congregation holds a service recognizing the war effort and the one hundred eleven congregants who served in the Great War.
Rabbi Goldfarb composes the melody Shalom Aleichem as a prayer for peace. The song is soon universally adopted for Friday evening services. The rabbi becomes known as “the father of Congregational Singing.” During his career he compiles ten books of music, composes numerous melodies and teaches liturgical music at the Jewish Theological Seminary and Hebrew Union College.
1922: A steam heating system is installed in the Sanctuary and school building.
1923: Fire nearly destroys the school building.
1928: When Harrison Street is renamed, the Congregation adopts a new name - Kane Street Synagogue.
1929: The bemah wall is repainted with a naturalistic floral border replacing neo-classical ropes and horns. Memorial plaques are installed.
1932: When women join the Congregational Singers, the mixed choir is moved to the organ loft to be less visible to traditionalists. The pipe organ is dismantled to make room for the choir.
The first issue of The Scroll newsletter is published.
1933: The Synagogue towers are repaired. The choir is relocated to the main floor in pews 55, 57, 59, 61.
Congregants Max Brown, Michael Salit and Abraham Haber emigrate to Palestine and establish Colony Raananah. BIAE donates a Sefer Torah to Congregation Moriah in the Holyland.
1939: The Congregation refers to the synagogue as “Baith Israel Temple House” and the rabbi as “Dr. Goldfarb”, a reflection of the trend to acculturate.
1941-1945: Over 400 congregants serve in the armed forces. Rabbi Goldfarb’s hymnals are distributed to the troops.
1953: BIAE completes a six-year project that encloses tower windows, refinishes stone masonry in brown stucco and re-paints the Sanctuary interior. The generous donors to the project, Herman Belth, chief among them, are commemorated with a vestibule plaque.
1956: Despite declining membership, the Congregation’s centennial draws back to celebrate many past members who moved from the area. Brooklyn’s Borough President John Cashmore proclaims “Baith Israel Anshei Emes Day” to commemorate the Congregation’s one hundred years.
1960: Julius Kahn, a trustee since 1916, assumes the position of treasurer and continues in that position until 1985.
1966: The Congregation grants women pulpit honors. Jacob and Anne Hertz are the first couple honored with Hagba and Galila.
1967: Rabbi Henry Michelman, a grandson of Rabbi Goldfarb, becomes our part-time rabbi. Following Israel’s victory in the Six Day War, an Israel Bond rally draws young pioneering brownstoners into the Congregation.
1971: Children’s voices fill the school building again with the opening of a nursery school and Prozdor religious school.
1972: Evelyn Rubenstein becomes the Congregation’s first woman trustee.
1974: Women are included in the counting of a minyan. The DeRossi Singers organize and sing for special occasions.
1975: A chapel is constructed in the Community Building and named in honor of Herman & Florence Belth.
1977: The Community Room is renovated with new walls, ceiling and lighting.
1978: The Congregation celebrates its first bat mitzvah as Jane Abramowitz is called to the Torah to read and chant Haftarah.
1978: The first Shabbaton the annual summer retreat is held in Ellenville, NY.
1979: The first Israel raffle is held.
1980: Nancy Fink becomes the Congregation’s first woman president.
1982: Women are given full equality with the right to blow the shofar and duchen as Kohanim.
1984: The Sanctuary is repainted after 31 years.
1986: The first Scholar-in-Residence weekend is held. An 1826 Torah Scroll recovered from a Czechoslovakian synagogue after World War II is dedicated for use primarily at bar and bat mitzvot to symbolize the triumph of Judaism over its enemies.
1987: B’nai mitzvah candidates pair with peers living in the Soviet Union who are unable to practice Judaism.
1988: Rabbi Debra Cantor becomes the Congregation’s spiritual leader. With the decision to engage a woman rabbi, several families leave to start B’nai Avraham, an Orthodox congregation in Brooklyn Heights.
1991: A planning committee drafts a proposal for a total rehabilitation and expansion of the Community Building as classes for over 100 students are being held in five deteriorated classrooms, the Belth Room, the office and the choir loft.
1994: Buildings are refurbished with repairs to the stained glass windows, parapet tower, brownstone, landscaping and naming of the Tucky Druker garden. With a grant from the Sol Goldman Charitable trust, the bimah and vestibule are refurbished.
1997: The Kane Yirbu, a weekly Shabbat newspaper, begins publication.
1998: A committee forms to gather support for major fundraising to renovate the Community Building. This group is the forerunner of the Renewal Committee.
2000: The Renewal Project process begins with a feasibility study by Development Consultants Inc. and a Feasibility Study and Condition Survey by Tesoro Architects.
2001: Architectural Plans and campaign logistics evolve slowly. The Congregation commits to the rebuilding of its Community Building. A 20-week capital campaign begins the week prior to the World Trade Center attack. The theme L’dor Vador, From Generation to Generation, resonates. Over two hundred gifts are made; more than three million dollars is raised, including a grant of one million dollars from the Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust.
2003: The Landmarks Preservation Commission approves the Tesoro Architects plans to build a three-story building behind the two-story stone façade and to add a connector building. Levien & Co are engaged as project managers. Edson USA is the contractor. Prior to the Community Building demolition, structural repairs are made to the sanctuary and restrooms are added.
2004: The Sol and Lillian Goldman Educational Center is dedicated on October 24th, 1004.
2005: Kane Street Kids starts with a class of two-year olds in its first year and plans to add three and four-year olds in the future.
2006: Kaitsen Woo Architects, Inc. completes a conditions report on the Sanctuary
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Morris Ehrlich 1856
Herman Mathias 1857
Nehemiah Hofheimer 1859
Morris Hess 1861
Solomon Furst 1862
Moses Lowenthal 1863
Marcus Bass 1865
Jacob Sampter 1866
Marcus Bass 1867
Joseph Bierman 1868
Joseph Harris 1877
Louis Jacobs 1882
Moses Coleman 1883
William Bass 1885
Moss Phillips 1886
Louis Jacobs 1890
Bernard Kalischer 1893
Herman B. Alexander 1904
Bernard Kalischer 1905
Michael Salit 1906
Harris M. Copland 1907
Louis Summer 1910
Isaac Applebaum 1913
Herman Alexander 1914
Jacob Kronman 1917
Pincus Weinberg 1919
Samuel Lederman 1922
Phillip Lille 1925
Louis Summer 1929
Isaac A. Goldberg 1931
Harold L. Turk 1934
Bernard Eisenberg 1937
Julian Friedman 1939
Jacob Hertz 1942
Harold Turk 1948
Oscar Hertz 1950
Jacob Hertz 1957
Arthur Lichtman 1972
Isaac E. Druker 1975
A. Seth Greenwald 1977
Arthur Lichtman 1979
Nancy Fink 1980
Ronald J. Stein 1984
Stanley Friedman 1987
Michael D. Squires 1988
Robert Weinstein 1989
Leonard Wasserman 1992
Judith R. Greenwald 1994
Herbert L. Cohen 1996
Ellen A. Bowin 1998
Ralph Kleinman 2000
Daniel Magill 2002
Donald Olenick 2004
Rabbis & Cantors (1856 – 2006)
Rev. M. Gershon 1856
Rev. Joel Alexander 1861
Chasan Newman 1862
Adolph Ressler 1862
Chasan Ebersohn 1863
Chasan Hahn 1864
Chasan Herzman 1865
Chasan Newman 1865
Rev. John D. Lindner 1865
Rabbi Elkan Herzard 1866
Chasan N. Davidsen 1866
Chasan Goldsmith (Asst.) 1866
Chasan Salomon 1866
Chasan Cohen (Asst.) 1866
Chasan Wolf Levy 1867
Rev.Raphael Lasker 1869
Rev. Moritz Treichenberg 1869
Rev. Moritz Tintner 1873
Rabbi Aaron Wise 1874
Rabbi Adolph Bernstein 1875
Rev. Dr. Reiman 1875
Rev. Jacobson 1876
Rev. Dr. Tintner 1877
Rev. E. M. Meyers (Myers) 1879
Chasan Pulvermacher 1881
Chasan Janover 1882
Chas.Abraham Jonas Fisher 1883
Chasan Friedman 1883
Rabbi Levy 1883
Chasan Levitt 1884
Reverend A. Ettinger 1884
Chasan A. Collman 1886
Chasan Jacob Korn 1887
Chasan Wolfsohn 1887
Rev. Marcus Friedlander 1887
Chasan Isaac Sternfle 1888
Rev. Joseph Taubenhaus 1893
Rev. Marcus Rosenstein,Asst 1893
Rev. Dr. A. Rosenberg, Cantor 1899
Rev. Edward Lissman 1901
Cantor O. Millard 1902
Rev. Rosenberg 1904
Rev. Dr. S. Philo 1904
Rabbi Israel Goldfarb 1905
Asst R. Norman Salit 1918
Asst Rabbi Beck 1926
Cantor Joseph Goldfarb 1952
Cantor Edelman 1954
Rabbi Sidney Berger 1965
Rabbi Henry Michelman 1967
Rabbi Elliott Rosen 1971
Rabbi Shael Siegel 1974
Rabbi Raymond Scheindlin 1974
Rabbi Howard Gorin 1976
Rabbi Raymond P. Scheindlin 1979
Rabbi Jonathan Hillel Ginsburg 1982
Rabbi Geoffrey Goldberg 1987
Rabbi Debra Cantor 1988
Rabbi Samuel H. Weintraub 1996
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Anniversary Celebrations 1881– 2006
1881 1st Anniversary Ball of Achai Israel Gallatin Hall 12/21/81
1881 25th Anniversary of Baith Israel
1887 25th Ann. of Laying of the Corner stone Saengerbund Hall – Smith 3/16/87
1890 Annual Ball “ & Schermerhorn 2/18/90
1891 35th Anniversary “ 2/10/91
1916 60th / Grand Bazaar Harrison Street Synagogue 12/03/16
1919 Victory Ball The Imperial - Fulton & Red Hook Lane 3/23/19
1923 Sisterhood Hotel Pennsylvania 11/06/23
1924 Election Night “ “ 11/04/24
1927 70th / Anniversary Celebration Harrison Street Synagogue 2/27/27
1929 Park Manor 3/17/29
1932 George Washington Bicentennial Our Auditorium 3/27/32
1936 80th Hotel St. George 5/10/36
1940 Rabbi’s 35th year with cong The Livingston 3/03/40
1941 150th – Bill of Rights Kane Street Synagogue 5/25/41
1951 95th Anniversary Dinner and Dance “ 4/15/51
1953 97th Anniversary Dinner and Dance “ 1/25/53
1954 100th Year of “the first Jewish ‘informal’ congregation in the borough” 1/24/54
1955 99th Anniversary Dinner-Dance “ 3/1955
1956 100th / Centennial Banquet Waldorf Astoria Hotel 2/05/56
1958 Sisterhood’s 50th / Clara Summer, Kane Street Synagogue 3/23/58
Frieda Goldfarb, Ann Rosalsky,
Jennie Kern, Miriam Ilson
1961 Anniversary Celebration “ 3/12/61
1964 Herman Belth “ 3/22/64
1965 Leo H. Young “ 4/04/65
1967 Bernard and Sally Solomon “
1968 Samuel and Ann Rosalsky “ 5/26/68
1969 Jacob Hertz “ 5/18/69
1970 Corsel Strahs “ 5/10/70
1971 Charles Berkman Union Temple 4/25/71
1972 Herman Belth “ 5/21/72
1973 Jacob Hertz “ 5/20/73
1974 Hon. James V. Mangano “ 5/19/74
1975 Arthur Lichtman “ 5/18/75
1976 Congressman Fred Richmond “ 6/06/76
1977 Isaac Druker “ 5/15/77
1978 Arnold Badner East Midwood Jewish Center 6/04/78
1979 A. Seth and Judith R. Greenwald Terrace on the Park 5/20/79
1980 Sarah and Bernard Leeman “ 6/15/80
1981 Evelyn and Jack Rubenstein “ 6/21/81
1982 Rabbi Raymond P. Scheindlin Hotel Roosevelt – La Difference 6/27/82
1983 Nancy and Paul Fink Bayside Jewish Center 6/26/83
1984 Desi and Ben Zalman Garden Jewish Center 6/17/84
1985 Robert B. Weinstein Picnic House 6/02/85
1986 Marion and Ronald Stein “ 6/15/86
1987 Ellen and Mordechai Friedman “ 6/21/87
1988 Ann Rosalsky and Jacob Hertz Bayside Jewish Center 6/19/88
1989 Shira and Stanley Friedman “ 6/25/89
1990 Michael Squires and Linda Cabasin Jewish Theological Seminary 3/04/90
1991 Len and Miryam Wasserman 6/09/91
1992 Fredic L. Cohen Kane Street Synagogue 6/14/92
1993 Edward Brill and Esther Levine Brill “ 6/13/93
1994 Bernice Rosenthal “ 6/19/94
1995 Ellen and Philip Phillips The Madison 6/11/95
1996 Rabbi Debra Cantor and Jim Beede Kane Street Synagogue 6/02/96
1997 Steven Cohen “ 6/01/97
1998 Herbert L. Cohen “ 6/14/98
1999 Robert B. Weinstein “ 5/23/99
2000 Ellen Bowin “ 6/11/00
2001 George and Gerry Gross “ 6/10/01
2002 Ralph and Lisa Kleinman “ 6/23/02
2003 Rena Schklowsky, Joseph Goldfarb Brooklyn Heights Montessori School 6/22/03
& Rabbi Henry Michelman
2004 Danny & Anne-Maureen Sartfati-Magill Mt. Sinai Synagogue 6/13/04
2005 Howard Schneider Goldman Educational Center 6/5/05
2006 150th / Donald Olenick NY Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge 6/14/06
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Kane Street Synagogue circa 1971 Rabbi Elliott Rosen and future presidents Isaac Druker and Judy Greenwald
The Congregation’s Centennial in 1956 was a grand event, which attracted much attention. The Synagogue received congratulatory telegrams and letters from President Eisenhower, Vice-President Nixon, Senator Lehman, Senator Javits, Congressman Rooney, and Mayor Wagner, among many others. Articles about us appeared in The New York Times, The Herald Tribune, The New York World-Telegram, The Daily News, The New York Post, and The Journal-American.
All of the attention was the result of publicity efforts on our behalf by one enterprising and determined young man who just had started his own public relations firm in downtown Brooklyn. That young man, Howard J. Rubenstein, today is head of New York City’s leading public relations firm, Howard J. Rubenstein Associates.
When informed last summer that we were celebrating our 150th Anniversary, Mr. Rubenstein expressed amazement. As he recalled, in 1956 the future of the Congregation was bleak and his publicity efforts were geared to the Synagogue’s survival, a future he thought unlikely.
Mr. Rubenstein was amazed and delighted that the Congregation had not only endured, but had grown strong. For “old times sake” he generously has donated his services to our 150th Anniversary Celebration.
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Centennial Banquet – May 13, 1956 Waldorf-Astoria Hotel
Credit: Drucker-Hilbert Co, detail of panoramic photograph
The Synagogue Journal” is a one-year online publication at www.kanestreet.org/historical_journal.html, designed to highlight prominent individuals and events during the Kane Street Synagogue congregation’s past 150 years.
We welcome submissions of reminiscences, letters and photographs to help shape the BIAE story. For a list of upcoming Journal themes or to read past issues, see “Archives” located under the Journal banner.
Special thanks to: Lisa Smith, Alan Salzberg, Fani Brown Brandenburg, Rachel Epstein, Jeff Macklis, Rabbi Samuel Weintraub, Vivien Shelanski, Dugans Martinez and Jack Levin; Brooklyn Daily Eagle Online™, Brooklyn Public Library; www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org/eagle