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New York Hebrew Assistance Society


This institution, established in 1839, under the auspices of several charitable and enterprising individuals of our faith, celebrated its fourth anniversary on the 15th Nov., by a public dinner given at the Washington Hotel, in that city. Numerous invitations were extended to gentlemen of the Christian faith, as well as our own, and probably a hundred sat down to a sumptuous banquet, prepared with great skill and particular regard to our religious rules. A choice band of music enlivened the company during the festive scene. The Rev. Mr. Lyons pronounced the usual blessings before, and the grace after meals in his usual impressive manner. The regular toasts were then given by the chair, and responded to with great spirit by the company. The President of the Society, Benj. Nathan, Esq., then addressed the company, describing the rise and progress of the Society, the situation of its funds, its purposes, &c., &c., closing with an earnest appeal to the hearts of all present to aid the Society in their good work of relieving the distressed and unfortunate. Park Benjamin, Esq., a Christian gentleman of celebrity as a writer, (well, known as the editor of the New World,) being presented to the assemblage, made a very eloquent and affecting appeal in behalf of the Jewish poor, dwelling with peculiar force on their strong moral principles, particularly of the female portion. His remarks were most liberal towards the Jewish people. Dr. Mott, another guest, also furnished the evidence of his not meeting in the hospitals or poor houses a member of our faith throughout the range of his long and extensive practice as a physician and surgeon. Many very excellent volunteer toasts were also given throughout the evening, and donations to the amount of rising $1500 were received, several of which were sent by absentees, including one of $100 anonymously, and several from ladies. The evening passed off very pleasantly and harmoniously, and what lent an additional and peculiar spirit to the enjoyment of the feast was, the concealed presence of several ladies, the relatives of some of the Managers and Committee of Arrangements, who, desirous of witnessing this very interesting meeting, had been admitted into the gallery usually occupied by the orchestra, but on this occasion vacated for their accommodation; a neat curtain, being placed as a screen, left them a full view, whilst their faces were only partially exposed. Some very gallant; yet perfectly delicate expressions of pleasure, were manifested by the gentlemen in their toasts, sufficient to evidence that the presence of the fair was felt fully although but partially developed. The company retired at an early hour, with great satisfaction to all parties, and particularly to the advantage of those whom it was intended to relieve.

This Society dispenses charity to all poor Israelites, resident and transient,— expending all the funds it can command. The amount disbursed within the year preceding the dinner being $1495, and since its establishment, rising $6000. It has no cumulative fund, although holding as a temporary investment the sum of $1250, the greater part of a legacy from the late Washington Hendricks, the immediate relatives of whom are among its most liberal patrons.