|Vol. I, No. 9
Kislev 5604, December 1843
Female Hebrew Benevolent Society.
The Twenty-fourth Anniversary Meeting of the Female Hebrew Benevolent Society was held on the 1st November, 1843, (Heshvan 8th, 5604,) at which the following report was read, and ordered to be printed:
In retracing a period of twenty-four years, the managers of the Female Hebrew Benevolent Society are carried back to the day when they first assembled on this spot to adopt a constitution for their government; and while many who were then present are still here to bear witness, they are irresistibly drawn to notice facts, out of which the young and the happy may gain lessons of experience. It was on a stormy day in the autumn of 1819, that two benevolent ladies, (who are now no more,) having been deeply affected by a tale of distress which their limited means were insufficient to relieve, resolved to apply to other daughters of Israel for assistance. Unmindful of the inclement weather, (for then the poor suffer most intensely,) they visited the houses of their brethren, and every where met a welcome and an open hand. One of your present managers, in giving her mite, felt that this was but a small act of charity, and desired to go forth among her people, as the holy law requires, to visit the sick, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and bring the miserably poor to her dwelling.
On suggesting the plan of an association, these already acting members caught the idea so zealously, that the work was half accomplished ere the object on which they first set out was completed; and in another month the Female Hebrew Benevolent Society was organized. The two ladies, Mrs. Aaron Levy and Miss Hannah Levy, were members of the first board of Managers, and continued to serve until the ill-health of the former, and the latter's removal from the city, separated them from the society. The benefits resulting from this institution every year's report has recorded. O, it has not only bestowed a passing blessing on the wayfarer and the sick, but it has silently performed the words of Scripture to many who "cast their bread upon the water, and had it returned to them after many days," and others came petitioners in their seasons of trial, whom God has since bountifully visited with plenty, and they have remembered the benefaction with liberal and grateful acknowledgments.
The spirit of charity is a holy spirit; and in all religious communities, the love and fear of God manifests itself in good works towards their fellow-creatures. In the congregations of Israel in this city are many societies doing the work of charity, not only in temporal things, but in seeking and communicating knowledge.
The Sunday-school and Mr. Green's Hebrew classes are eminently useful in diffusing religious instruction; and a high source of intellectual improvement in Scriptural history is again offered to the community by Professor Wines, in another and enlarged course of lectures "on the laws and civil government of Moses." Believing that our holy religion needs only to be known to be acknowledged a sure guide to salvation, we cannot too strenuously endeavour to make ourselves wise in this most effective wisdom. We should ejaculate with Moses, "Would that all God's people were prophets;" or, as in our days more appropriate, would that they all had his law written on their hearts, treasured as the apple of their eyes, and made the guide of their lives. The high estimation in which our great lawgiver is held by the learned lecturer cannot but be acceptable to his Jewish hearers. Like Jethro of old, he has seen (in the Scriptures) all that God has done for his people, and traces the benefit of his laws through every succeeding generation of enlightened men.
The funds of the society have been increased this year by two liberal donations, as will appear in the treasurer's report, which has enabled the managers to extend more ample relief to several suffering individuals, one of whom is a stranger to our language and in our country, sick, and reduced from better fortune and station. Her meekness and fortitude gained the esteem of her benefactors, and her gratitude amply repays their care. Death has closed the sorrows of several who were provided for by your bounty, and some have been aided in seeking a home where better prospects awaited them. In all the distributions of your funds, care has been taken to make the best provision for the recipients and, therefore, the managers may conscientiously solicit the continuance of your alms; that the poor may "eat of your venison and bless you," and that God, "who loveth a cheerful giver, may find you not weary in well doing," and accept your loan.