Vol. V, No. 8
Heshvan 5608, November 1847
Philadelphia.—We omitted to state in our last number, that the male scholars of Mr. A. I. H. Bernal, were examined on Sunday preceding Rosh Hashanah, in the meeting room attached to our Synagogue. We say in candid sincerity, that the proficiency of the scholars was truly gratifying, and that many who did not know a Hebrew letter six <<412>>months ago, read any passage in the prayer-book with tolerable fluency. Several also showed a good progress in translating and vocabulary exercises, and proved that only a little effort is required to propagate successfully Hebrew learning among the children of this country. Shall this effort be made? Let our readers answer, for they alone have the power to carry out the proposition for youthful training into successful execution.
New York.—We lately had the pleasure of spending a few days in New York, and we will lay before our readers some of the results of our inquiries. The first thing we learned on our arrival was, that the ladies belonging to the congregation Shearith Israel had formed a society under the name of “The Ladies Sewing Association, of the Congregation Shearith Israel, of New York,” which was organized by the adoption of a constitution, on Sunday the 10th of October. The successful organization is, we are told, owing to the exertions of Miss J. Palaché, and Mrs. T. I. Tobias, the former of whom already had many things made up by her pupils for distribution among the needy during the past winter. The annual contribution has been fixed at one dollar, and the Wednesday of each week from 11 to 2 o’clock, P. M., during the winter, is the time allotted for sewing. The officers for the current year are, Miss Sophia Tobias, President, Mr. Benjamin Nathan, Treasurer, Mrs. Benjamin S. Hart, Secretary, and Mrs. Israel B. Kursheedt, Mrs. T. I. Tobias, Mrs. J. J. Lyons, Mrs. S. N. Judah, Mrs. J. L. Seixas, Miss Hannah Isaacs, Miss Judith Palaché, Miss Zipporah Hart, and Miss Henrietta Hendricks, Managers. The society consists already of full fifty members, and held the first sewing meeting on Wednesday the 20th of October. Under present regulations, the distribution of garments is only to be during the winter season; but we have little doubt that with the increase of their means, these benevolent ladies will distribute their charities also during spring and summer. We are pleased to record this new instance of the benevolence of our people, who love to feed the hungry and to clothe the naked; may they meet with their reward.
Respecting the schools, we have some little to communicate, we wish it were more; but our time was too limited to do more than make a casual observation. We witnessed a partial examination of the school under the care of the Rev. Herman Felsenheld, attached to the Henry Street Synagogue. Whilst we were there the scholars, both male and female, probably near a hundred in number, were examined in English by the teacher of that branch of education, and, considering that nearly all the children are those of German emigrants, and that they hear seldom any other language than <<413>>that spoken at home, and in view that many of the pupils themselves are only lately in this country, they acquitted themselves remarkably well. We could not stay to hear their examination in Hebrew, but the well-known ability of the learned teacher leaves us no doubt that they are proficient in what they have learned. From the Synagogue we went with Dr. Lilienthal, who was also present to attend the examination, to view his Union School, No. 1, in Ludlow Street, where we found about one hundred and sixty scholars engaged in their studies under four teachers, in three different rooms, opening one in the other. We hastily examined the first class, male and female, in Hebrew translation and reading, geography, English grammar, and German; and we must acknowledge that the proficiency displayed was excellent, and. all that could be expected, if not more, from the short time the school has been in operation. Both schools are an evidence of progress, and we confidently look forward to a greater extension of the cause of education under our own teachers, before long, in other places besides New York. The people are just awakening; and so soon as they understand their wants, the necessary step will be taken to remedy the existing defects. We would make one suggestion to the managers of the schools in question, to have the schoolrooms handsomely plastered and whitewashed; a fine open room is a wonderful incentive to a scholar, and is not to be neglected on any account. Perhaps too little attention is generally paid to the exterior of the room, but it is a great error. In fact, Dr. Lilienthal informed us that his school would soon be thoroughly repaired, which information gave us great pleasure. There has been formed lately among the German Israelites of New York, a literary society, who have a reading-room where they meet every evening about eight o’clock. We found there several Jewish periodicals, German, English, and American, besides other works, and we learned that already fifty-two persons had joined the association. Nearly all the ministers of the German congregations are members of this society, and it promises much good, provided only it be properly conducted. We should judge, however, that the locality chosen is not the best in every respect; but it is, perhaps, the best which can be obtained under present circumstances. We have been promised the laws of the society, but hitherto they have not reached us.—We also learned that the congregation Benay Immanual have purchased a church, (we did not learn the street where situated,) for about twelve thousand dollars. The building is large enough to seat twelve hundred persons, and the necessary alterations will no doubt be immediately commenced. The Rev. Mr. Merzbach is preacher, and the Rev. Mr. Cohen, Hazan <<414>>of this congregation.—As an instance of the display of charitable feelings on the part of the Israelites towards each other, we have much pleasure in stating, that the Rev. Jacques J. Lyons, learning that the funds of the charitable society in New Orleans had been exhausted, during the terrible epidemic which lately desolated that city, and that much distress prevailed among the poor there, went about to make a collection among his own congregation, the Portuguese, and obtained, without much exertion, the handsome sum of four hundred and sixty-nine dollars, which was transmitted to New Orleans whilst we were in New York. Mr. Isaac Hart, the President of the Hebrew Benevolent Association of New Orleans, also acknowledges in the public papers, to have received from New York, one hundred dollars from the congregation Gates of Prayer, (Rev. Mr. Isaac’s), one hundred dollars from the New York Hebrew Benevolent Society, and fifty dollars from the Elm Street Synagogue (Rev. M. Leo). In this connexion we take occasion to say, that no request was addressed to any of us in Philadelphia to contribute, or else we have no doubt that a proper response would have been made. We cannot divine any reason why the same request was not addressed to us, as to New York, and it was only by learning that a collection had been made in New York, that we learned that aid was required.
Reconversion to Judaism.—Dr. Lilienthal informed us that he had reconverted to Judaism two apostates. He has promised to give us the particulars, which, when received, we will lay before the public. These once deluded men owe it to their conscience to make a public profession of their sin, as an exemplary warning to others.
Tribute of Respect.—Several gentlemen of the choir at the dedication of the new Synagogue, Wooster Street, New York, resolved upon presenting Mr. Edward Woolf, who conducted the music on the occasion, and composed many of the pieces, a handsome silver cup. The presentation accordingly took place some weeks ago, at the house of Dr. M. Levett, Broadway. Mr. A. Abraham addressed Mr. Woolf, as we learn, on presenting the token of respect, in a few pertinent remarks, to which the other replied. The cup bears the following inscription: “Presented by a few gentlemen of the choir that assisted at the consecration of the Synagogue in Wooster Street, on the 25th of June, 1847, to Edward Woolf, Esq., in testimony of approval of the abilities displayed by him, as composer and conductor of the music on that occasion.” Accompanying the cup was the following letter: <<415>>
New York, Sept. 9, 1847.
With every sentiment of regard and esteem,
We are, Sir, yours respectfully,
Morris Levett, S. Phillips, George J. Levy, Edward Josephi, Benjamin J. Levy, David Levett, Henry J. Levy, Lionel Jacobs, Barah Seligman, M. Seligman, H. Goodman, A. Abraham, Hon. See.
To Edward Woolf, Esq.
Albany.—During our recent absence from our post, we also paid a short visit to Albany, to make the acquaintance of Dr. Wise, who presides over that congregation; and we were gratified to hear the desirable progress made by our brothers there, both in prosperity and religious improvement. Dr. Wise’s school numbers eighty scholars, and the Israelites there amount to fully one thousand, if we understood our informant correctly. Owing also to the exertion of the eloquent preacher at the head of this Kahal, we are told that the Sabbath is universally observed, with but few exceptions; a gratifying contrast to the formerly reported state of indifference.
New Congregations.—We learn that new congregations have been formed of late at Bangor, Maine; Hartford, Connecticut; Patterson, New Jersey; and at Chicago, Illinois.
Boston.—The Rev. Mr. Wurmser has been re-elected Hazan of Boston, with an augmented salary; this shows the increased ability of the congregation, which numbers about seventy seatholders at the present time.
Baltimore.—The old congregation held their election on the 4th of October, and elected the following officers: Leon Dyer, President; Wm. Steigerwald, Treasurer; Abr. Rosenfeld, B. Himmelreich, and S. Fleischman, Managers.
Richmond.—The corner-stone of the new German Synagogue, it is expected, will be laid during the month of November.
Cincinnati.—It gives us sincere pleasure to announce the election our friend, the Rev. James K. Gutheim, as Hazan of the congregation Benai Jeshurun, of Cincinnati. The handsome vote which Mr. G. <<416>>obtained, is both honourable to him and his constituents. We trust that the election may be beneficial, both to the minister and the people. More we need not say.—At the annual election held by this congregation on the 14th of September, the following gentlemen were chosen: S. Bernheim, President; S. Friedman, Gabay Zedakah; A. Stern, Gabay Beth Chayim; A. Fechheimer, Treasurer; Henry Mack, Secretary; and B. Simon, H. Sachs, S. Katzenberg, L. Michael, and L. Friedman, Trustees; I. Marshetz was appointed Shamas. The officers of the congregation Beth Israel, for the current year, are: Joseph Jonas, Parnass; Isaac Lyons, Gabay Zedakah; Mozley Ezekiel, Secretary; Hyman Moses, Gabay Beth Chayim, and M. E. Moehring, Treasurer.
Montgomery, Alabama.—We have received a very gratifying letter, portraying the progress of the new congregation in the capital of Alabama. They celebrated the festivals at the splendid saloon of the Lyceum Hall, and the number of attendants amounted to more than sixty Jews, including married and single females; several coming from a distance of more than two hundred miles. The service, we are informed, was conducted with solemnity and devotion, by a beautiful choir and Hazanim, according to the German ritual. At the eve of the feast of New Year, all the Jews closed their places of business, (and kept them so at least during the duration of the festivals,) and repaired to the place of worship, which was crowded with Christians whenever service was performed, attracted by the novelty of the Jewish service, which had never been held there before. And, as an evidence of liberality on the part of the Christian community, we may state that very liberal donations were promised for the erection of a Synagogue, whenever it should be commenced.—Much to the regret of the worshippers, the Sepher Torah, which they had ordered, did not arrive till the Eve of Succoth, consequently they were without it, for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It may easily be imagined that its arrival was hailed with joy by the faithful, and it was read to them on Succoth and Azereth, by Mr. Aaron Englander, who also addressed them to the best of his ability. Mr. H. Lehman was Hatan Torah, and Mr. L. Marks, Hatan Bereshith.—Does the above not tell well for the good of our southern brothers?—We wish them success.
Savannah.—At a meeting of the Congregation Mickva Israel, at Savannah, held at the Synagogue, 5th of Elul, (August 16,) 5607, the following gentlemen were elected officers for the ensuing year: Isaac Cohen, Parnass; Levy Hart, J. De La Motta, Solomon Cohen, Octavus Cohen, Dr. Solomon Sheftall, and A. A. Solomons, Adjuntas, from who was elected Gabay, and Jacob De La Motta, Secretary.
<<417>>Memphis, Tennessee.—We are informed that Mr. Joseph J. Andrews, of New York, who is a large property holder at Memphis, has presented, in consequence of the decease of his brother, a piece of ground as a burial-place for the Israelites residing there. We expect that before long a congregation will organize in that flourishing town, as we hear that several families are already residing there. There are many Israelites scattered through the states of Tennessee and Mississippi; but we have no accounts of them; will our friends having the information oblige us by furnishing us with whatever facts they may be cognizant of? Everything relating to the progress of the Jews in this country will be welcome to us, and be of great interest hereafter in an historical point of view. Let this be remembered.
Louisville, Kentucky.—We have before us a letter from Mr. Joseph Abraham, President of the Congregation “Adas Israel,” of Louisville. The congregation was established under a Charter of the State of Kentucky, eleven years ago, and numbered within six months past, forty-five members. But by the activity of the president, and a proper committee, a salutary code of by-laws has been established since then, and now the members have increased to sixty-three. The following gentlemen have been elected, under the new laws as officers:—J. Abraham, President; A. Tantler, Vice-President; B. Mack, Warden of Burying-ground; B. Sachs, Treasurer; and A. Schwab, Secretary; together with six Trustees, whose names we have not received.—They are making strenuous efforts to purchase a piece of ground whereon to erect a Synagogue; their present place of worship being entirely unsuitable for the sacred purpose. But as the means of the Israelites in Louisville are very limited, they appeal through us to the liberality of their co-religionists throughout the country, for aid, which we trust will not be denied to them.—Any donations sent to us shall be faithfully transmitted.
France.—During the stay which Sir Moses Montefiore recently made in Paris, he had the honour to be presented to the King of the French. Sir Moses was accompanied by Dr. Loewe. The King expressed to the worthy English Israelite the hope of seeing the Jews everywhere emancipated, and in the enjoyment of the same privileges which they possess in France. The King was also pleased to take into consideration the complaints of Sir Moses against the French consul in Damascus, and announced his intention of recalling that high functionary.—Archives Israelites, for September.
Prussia.—At length we have something official in the Orient of <<418>>August 20th, just received, with respect to the amelioration of our position in Prussia. The measure decreed by the King, upon the address of the Chambers, is yet very far from placing us on a perfect equality; but it is something wrung from the persevering bigotry which excludes Jews from all participation in the affairs of the country, upon the plea of its being a Christian state. We have not the space this month to give the decree at length, which otherwise, also, would not be interesting to an American reader, as it goes into the minutest details of Synagogue and poor regulations, entirely local in their character.—The first article says: “There shall be granted to our Jewish subjects, so far as this law does not otherwise determine, in the whole extent of our kingdom, with (the obligation of) equal duties, also equal civil rights with our Christian subjects.
“A Jew shall only, then, be admissible to any mediate or immediate state or communal-office, when there is not connected with the same the exercise of any judicial, police, or executive power. Besides this, the Jews shall remain altogether excluded from the government or superintendence of matters pertaining to Christian worship and education.—In Universities the Jews may be appointed, so far as the statutes are not opposed thereto, as private teachers, extraordinary and ordinary professors of the chairs (Lehrfächer) belonging to the medical, mathematical, natural scientific, geographical, and linguistical departments. They remain excluded from all other branches of tuition, likewise from the academical senate, and the offices of Dean, Prorector, and Rector. In schools of art, industry, (Gewerbe,) commerce, and navigation, Jews may be admitted as teachers. Otherwise, the appointment of Jews as teachers remains confined to Jewish educational establishments.” (The latter clause is rather obscure to us, but is literally rendered from the German.) “Jews cannot be elected as representatives; and should such a right belong to a property acquired by a Jew, it remains dormant while in his possession. The same is the case with the right of giving benefices, (Patronat,) and superintendence of church property. Jews cannot exercise, in person, any judicial or police power; they may, however, elect the judge and administrator of police. The Jewish possessor is, nevertheless bound to bear all the duties, (Lasten,) which are connected with the above-mentioned rights.—If the patronage belongs to a community, the Jewish members cannot take any part in the exercise of the same; but they must bear the charges resulting from their possessing this species of property. Resident Jewish members of a city or village community remain, moreover, compelled to pay the contribution for the support of the church, in proportion to their real estate; <<419>>also, all Jewish proprietors are held bound to the payment of all church rates to which their property is liable.” We must stop for the present, and probably may recur to the subject hereafter.