Vol. VII, No. 1
Nisan 5609, April 1849
Philadelphia.—The eleventh annual examination of the Hebrew Sunday School of Philadelphia took place on the Sunday after Purim, the 11th of March. The attendance of scholars was quite large, and the answers were given with more precision than the last year, creditable as the scholars then acquitted themselves. It is indeed gratifying that we have this institution among us to scatter the seeds of religious knowledge, in the absence of regular seminaries, of learning superintended by our own people, though now we see some hope of yet beholding such springing up before the lapse of many years. The exercises on the above occasion were of the usual order, wherefore it is not necessary to dwell upon them. A collection was also taken up, and resulted in obtaining about the usual average of late years, which will amply pay the expenses of the establishment, where all is conducted with the most admirable economy. The superintendent must certainly be highly gratified that her example in commencing this school has excited elsewhere the emulation of doing so likewise, especially as the results have so generally been proved to be productive of much good.
Louisville, Ky.—The new Synagogue, “Adas Israel,” of Louisville, was to be consecrated on the 30th of March. Probably we shall be informed of the most interesting particulars, by the time our next number is issued.
New York.—During a sojourn of a couple of days in New York, we were present on the evening of March 20th at a concert given in aid of the funds of the Hebrew Benevolent Society of New York, at the Broadway Tabernacle, and we witnessed a numerous assembly to do honour to the occasion. Of course, the Christian attendance was, to judge from the physiognomy of the faces, much more numerous than that of the Jews, among the latter of whom we recognised at a great distance the President of the Society, M. M. Noah, Esq. The Committee of Arrangement were very active, and we should judge that they did well in the discharge of their duties. The pieces performed were generally well given, both by the vocal as well as the instrumental performers of the Italian Opera Company now in New York, and other artists, though we could not accord a great deal of merit to several of the male singers; but we are too unpractised in these matters to give a decided judgment, besides it is quite foreign to the tendency of our magazine to write criticisms on public performances. But one thing we regretted, that as the entertainment was for a Jewish charity, something was not done to give it a little of a Jewish character, which the Casta Diva, beautifully as it was executed, and the rondo by Ricci, romanzas by Verdi and Donizetti, and duets by the same and Rossini, were decidedly not. Still, perhaps, it was impossible to do according to our ideas of propriety, and the result of an addition to the funds of the charity of several hundred dollars well sanctifies the employment of secular music for the present occasion, just as balls are approved of even by the religious heads of our people, when employed to scatter the fruits of charity among the poor. We presume that the net proceeds may have bred about six hundred dollars, though we have no official information. The amount received, however large it may be, <<58>>will all be needed in the relief of the distressed Israelites now, or soon expected, at New York, whither the poor of Europe are flocking in large masses, and it is but too likely that the emigration from the overpopulated districts of Germany will continue, and this in an increased ratio through the coming summer. We even learn from a late number of the Orient, that emigration unions are formed in Bohemia, which of course will bring many persons over who otherwise might not find the means of leaving their native land. No doubt many persons with sufficient property to aid themselves will also come; but the majority, we fear, will be the poor, or those who find Europe no longer a field to furnish a sufficient support for themselves and families.—Whilst we were in the Synagogue Shearith Israel, we were shown a clock just presented by Mr. Benjamin S. Hart; we also saw there a silver perpetual lamp, given some months since by several ladies,—we would mention their names, but we have not learnt them officially, wherefore we must be excused from enumerating even those we have heard. In connexion with this circumstance, we will merely state, that glad as we are to record all congregational occurrences, we find it exceedingly difficult to get authentic information of what takes place in New York. No doubt all think us well informed of what is known to them; but we would respectfully remind them that, if they desire us to notice matters of interest to them, it is requisite for them to inform us officially, when it shall be our fault if they are not brought properly to the notice of the public.
Presentation of a Massive Silver Salver to the Rev. S. M. Isaacs.—A correspondent who chanced to be present when a committee of ladies effected the presentation, sends us the following account: In consideration of the valuable services rendered to the Ladies’ Benevolent Society by the Rev. Mr. Isaacs in his capacity as honorary secretary, the members unanimously resolved to subscribe for a piece of plate as a memento of their feeling towards him. It is a large and truly chaste salver, engraved with the following inscription: “Presented to the Rev. S. M. Isaacs, by the members of the Ladies’ Benevolent Society, as an acknowledgment of their grateful appreciation of his valuable services as their honorary secretary.”
Cincinnati.—The ball of the Ladies’ Hebrew Benevolent Society took place on the evening of the 8th of March at the Masonic Hall. Much praise is due to the managers for the great zeal manifested, and for the excellent manner in which the affair was conducted under their supervision. About two hundred couples joined in the festivities of the <<59>>evening; and doubtless when the object of the society is considered, few who were then present will ever miss a future celebration. Great credit is due to the ladies, members of this excellent society, for their able management of its affairs, which are in a most flourishing condition.
Evidence of the Increase of the Jewish Population in the West.—When the congregation at Cincinnati was first established, they baked about one hundred pounds of Passover cakes; this year it takes them six weeks to prepare the quantity required, by machinery, and fears are entertained that that time is not sufficient, as over twenty thousand pounds will hardly satisfy the demand already made.
Mobile.—The congregation of Mobile is, as we learn, in a flourishing condition, and every year a better disposition is shown to support the faith of our fathers; and continually there is evidence that the exertions for sustaining our religion in that part of the country meet with success beyond the most sanguine hopes; and a confidence is expressed that in a few years the Jews of Mobile will stand out as an example to those of other cities of the Union in a due regard to the duties required of them. Such a rivalry in doing good we should be pleased to see, and we trust that this contagion may spread far and wide till it embraces all Israelites.—The officers of the congregation which bears the name of Shaar Hashamayim lately elected, are:—Israel I. Jones, President; Col. D. Salomon, Vice-President; J. Forchheimer, Treasurer; Joseph Morrison, Secretary; and B. L. Timm, H. Salomon Jr., D. Markstein, J. Goldsmith, and A. Goldsticker, Trustees.
Charleston.—We learn that several of the congregation Shearith Israel, of Charleston, are in favour of the proposed convention, though they have not as yet elected their delegates; we hope, however, that this will be done before our next number appears.
Montreal.—Mr. Samuel Benjamin has been elected city councillor for one of the principal wards of Montreal, which is, as we learn, the first time that a Jew has been thus honoured in Canada; and our correspondent expresses his conviction that Mr. B. will do credit to the post by his sterling integrity and sound judgment.
Constantinople.—We are always pleased to make public any evidences of real progress which may come to our knowledge; it is, therefore, with uncommon satisfaction, that we give publicity to the following from the last number of the Archives Israelites received by us, extracted from the letter of Dr. J. De Castro, principal physician of the military hospital of Haidar-Pacha, belonging to the Imperial Guards, dated Con<<60>>stantinople, Oct. 10th, 1848. “The Examination of the scholars of the school of Galata-Serail took place before the feast of Bairam, in presence of his imperial majesty the Sultan, and all the high dignitaries of the empire. It was, indeed, a truly touching sight to behold, for the first time since the foundation of the school, several young Israelites submitting the first proof of their studies. It was sufficiently satisfactory; although their admission to the school only took place a year ago; and the progress which they have made in this short period, gives us authority to expect that in the coming year they will not be the last among their associates. The school of Galata-Serail has already been in existence these nine years past. It was founded by the glorious Sultan Mahmoud. Up to the present time all communions were admitted there except the Israelites. This exclusion may appear strange under a sovereign who is the friend of liglit, and permits no difference among his subjects. But it must be said, that it depended not on his system, and that this exception was owing to a deception on his honesty. People endeavoured to persuade him that it was repugnant to Jews to send their children to the same school in which were found assembled Mussulmans and Christians. The real cause of this intrigue took its rise in the inveterate hatred against the Jews entertained by a person formerly very influential, whose name you will allow me to keep concealed. When his Excellency Ismael-Effendi was appointed chief physician of the empire, things took another complexion, and a new era arose for our co-religionists. H. E. Ismael-Effendi, moved by a sentiment of justice, which is never inconsistent with itself, desired to make reparation for the wrong done to the Israelites. He admitted at once fifty young Israelites to Galata-Serail, at the same time taking all the necessary measures in regard to the demands of their religion in the minutest detail. Otherwise these measures have no influence on the regularity of their studies, and in the classes the Israelites are mixed up with the other scholars; they enjoy the same rights with the latter, and are the objects of the same care.” The writer farther speaks of the spirit of toleration, the wisdom and agreeable manners of Ismael Effendi, to which he unites a probity and philanthropy which cause him to be beloved by all; and avers that as Jews all over the world have a fellow-feeling, this enlightened gentleman is entitled to the thanks of all Israelites; and not those of Turkey alone, for the intention he has displayed of rescuing our brothers in the Levant from that state of abjection and ignorance in which the fanatics of all nations, not excepting those of our own, would gladly retain them. He concludes with the assertions that barbarous Turkey may serve as an example to enlightened Europe.