|Vol. II No. 9
Kislev 5605, December 1844
[Published by direction of the Society.]
The recurrence of anniversaries, whether commemorative of religious, civil, political, or, as in the present instance, charitable institutions, offer properly occasions for retrospect and reflection; but the very unchangingness of their object scarcely admits variety of theme; their interestingness is consequently depending on the well regulated feeling and principles of those to whom they address themselves. In this our sixth report, we are enabled to confirm the assurance of benefit afforded, and yet of the greater required. The first object of this association, that of clothing children and the sick, contemplated as a result in case of the former primarily, that they would thus be enabled at all seasons to attend school; which heretofore the want of comfortable clothing probably prevented. Secondly, the parents, relieved both in care and expense, rejoicing, too, in their present comfort, would be induced to encourage and urge such application as would tend to render their children intelligent and useful members of society,—worthy professors of Judaism. We are bound to inquire and report to you how much or how little this object has been attained: much has been done, but much remains to do. To simply bestow surplus means or time that else were idly spent, is not true charity: though its effect may be beneficial, it can only be rendered permanently so by a spirit that seeks to ameliorate; not because it shrinks from the sight of physical suffering—not from mere impulse. To be efficient, charity must be from principle—its basis love of God and man. Neither are instinctive: both spring from the same source—the source that bids us seek wisdom; for without it, that which we purpose for good may produce evil. Entire dependence on charitable institutions (except in peculiar cases) is inconsistent with moral rectitude, with self respect. It is, therefore, incumbent, that whilst ministering to the wants of our youthful pensioners, to make them sensible of the higher object and aim in view. How is this to be effected? It is conceded, and abundantly proven, that of the physical wants of our people we are sufficiently mindful: no amelioration can be suggested but finds ready response in the kindly hearts of Israelites; but of their mental, their moral condition, there is not the same susceptibility: the one, like cutaneous disease, meets the eye, and at once receives sympathy and relief; the other, as with incipient preying on the springs of life, is scarce developed ere its victim is beyond remedy. How infinitely important, then, to watch ere care be useless. If the malady, physical or moral, be hereditary, judiciousness in season may yet avert fatality. We have been induced to these reflections by the actual experience of the past and preceding years. Those whom we had occasion to reprobate and deplore as practising imposture, pursued their onward course of crime, and as a consequence are now the inmates of an institution, having for its object reformation of the youthful culprit. It is not our purpose, nor are we qualified, to sit in judgment as to the means or the attainment of it generally; but in the present instance it has been ascertained, that conversion to another faith is the foundation on which they purpose to base moral reform, as though though trinitarian doctrine embodied a purer code than that which emanated from the God whose unity is proclaimed in power illimitable, wisdom infinite, mercy and truth unending and unfailing: and is it not worth and worthy an effort to disseminate such understanding of those precepts, as will induce their practice? Proselytism is repugnant to our creed, and in like degree is it incumbent to preserve the race of Abraham unsullied. Ignorance only can be the cause of defection; be it the care of the informed to remove that evil. What nobler object could the philanthropist assume, than an institution where youth should have an opportunity for good plain education in the vernacular and national languages, combined with such religious instruction, as must necessarily tend to render them honest, virtuous and industrious? No monument could be more glorious— no offering to the God of Israel more acceptable—than that of hearts made pure, of minds made wise, of souls enlightened through the means His blessing has prospered and made abundant.
We rejoice to be enabled to state some instances to prove your benefits have not been vainly bestowed. To fifty-one children and six adults, 442 garments have been dispensed: a great proportion of the children are under six years of age. Almost without exception, those older attend public schools; also that which, in its efforts to impart religious knowledge, strives, and we hope successfully, to preserve them from the evils which, from their situation, they are peculiarly liable to. The eldest boy hitherto numbered among our regular pensioners, has attained the age when in the sight of God he is deemed responsible for his own deeds, and in the estimation of man capable of his own support. He seems to recognise those duties in efforts to assist a widowed mother. Another has been placed with a respectable mechanic, and promises well.—Although in its purpose, consequently in its report, there can be (as previously observed) little variation, yet no where are changes more apparent than in institutions like this. At the early age of fifteen, just emerged from childhood, with timid but buoyant wistfulness, anticipating the life whose threshold she has scarce entered, the maiden feels it a privilege to be associated with those of maturer years in useful duties; and whilst so engaged, the vivacious spirit is brightened and purified by the knowledge that a mother’s care is lessened, a child’s comfort catered to, an invalid’s couch rendered more neat by her labours; a few short years probably finds her the mistress of a household made more mindful of others’ cares even by her own happy ones which she has learned to fulfil, “so that the heart of her husband doth safely trust in her.” And now, alas! even in her bloom one has been called from our midst, who had realized all this—had actively sought to do such service as devolved on her as one of our board. May we not hope those works found acceptance in the sight of God, who, calling her thus early from her home on earth, has graciously assigned her a place in heaven.
For our pecuniary resources, we are greatly indebted to Mr. Abraham Hart, Mrs. Abraham Hart, Mr. Andrade, Messrs. Gans and Berg, Messrs. H. A. Phillips and Bernheimer, Mrs. Isaac J. Phillips, Mrs. John Moss, Mr. Mayer Arnold, Mr. Abraham Wolf, Mr. Dux, Mr. Cauffman, Mr. and Mrs. Julius Jacobs, Mr. Moritz Jacobs, Mr. Ansell Arnold, Mr. Joseph Jacobs, Mr. Moritz Arnold, Mr. Springer, Mrs. Jacob L. Florance, Mr. I. Wolfe, Cincinnati, Mrs. L. J. Cohen, New York, Miss Josephine Etting, Baltimore, Mrs. Hays and Miss Gratz. From many others donations were received at the last meeting not known to us. May their names be registered among those who, delighting to do good, obtain abundant reward. To the managers of the Hebrews’ Benevolent Ball we beg to say, that the addition thus afforded to our funds of $163.25, enables such extension of the benefits as we had infinitely desired, but inadequate resources hitherto compelled the withholding of. Need we offer other commentary? Can words of thanks convey so grateful meaning—so rejoice the hearts of those who, even in their gayer hours, remember the injunction, “Stretch wide thy hand unto thy needy brother?”
Whilst rejoicing and encouraged at the state of our funds, of which the treasurer will inform you, we beg to appeal to the kind of heart, the ready of hand, for active service. To those who have but lately kindled their domestic light, we would fain suggest, its beams will burn more brightly if the darker hours of the widow, the orphan, the invalid sufferer, are lessened of their gloom by their exertion. As earth exhales from its bosom the moistening drop, that resting on plant and flower give vigour to its root, fragrance to its blossom, so is the never-wearying spirit of benevolence, that in every relation of life should characterise the Women of Israel.
Louisa B. Hart, Directress.
Oct. 27, 1844. }
Treasurer's Account for the year commencing October 22d, 1843, and ending October 27th, 1844.