The Oakland Hebrew Benevolent Society was organized by Samuel Hirshberg on October 5, 1862, and he also served as its first president.
And so it was in Oakland that in 1862 the Oakland Hebrew Benevolent Society was established by a small group of 14 leading Jewish citizens of Oakland, to fulfill the religious and charitable needs of the community. It functioned as a fraternal lodge, and like most benevolent societies in the early American West, it arranged for the use of a tract of land for burial purposes, in what is now Mountain View Cemetery. This cemetery was partitioned into three tracts, one for Roman Catholics, one for Jews, and one for all others. This division reflected the fact that people of all faiths came to Oakland in its first years and granted each other mutual respect and recognition.
In 1869 had only 12 members, and the group owned a tract of land at the Mountain View Cemetery. At that time the following were officers: S. Beal, President; J. Letter, Vice President; M. Tash, Secretary; J. Doblin, Treasurer; L. Heyneberg, S. Hirshberg, H. Ash, Trustees.
In 1876 the Hebrew Benevolent Society met on the first Sunday evening of each month at the Hall, Broadway between 7th and 8th Streets. A. Barrett, President; N. Witkowsky, Vice-President; D. S. Hirshberg, Secretary, J. Letter, Treasurer; I. Marcus, L. Greenebaum and S. Hirshberg, Trustees.
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