|Vol. I, No. 7
Tishry 5604 October 1843
Hebrew Sunday-School of St. Thomas.
The first examination of the Sunday-school of the Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas took place on Sunday, August 13th. We learn that it was attended by the members of the Royal Council, who distributed the prizes, the mayor of the town, the Intendant of H. D. M. Customs, and a great many of the most respectable Christians of the island. The particulars will be found in the subjoined extracts from the St. Thomas Times of August the 16th. The number of children present was 63, of which 52 were examined, and all are said to have been perfect. The first class was examined on the moral law and the creed in the Catechism for Younger Children; the second on the creed and the ten commandments to the end of Pyke's Catechism, and the third from the commencement to the commandments in the same manual. Three hymns were sung: 1, "Oh God! to Thee my soul I raise,"* 2, "We are yet young,"† and 3, "Lord over all."‡ We congratulate our friends of St. Thomas on the successful result of this examination, and hope that the results may be what the founders of the school expected, and that the piety of the pupils in after life will do honour to the early instruction which they now receive.
From the St. Thomas Times of August 16.,
Hebrew Sunday School
On Sunday last an examination of the pupils attached to this school took place in the Synagogue before a large assemblage of the members of the congregation, and a considerable number of ladies and gentlemen, who attended as visitors. We were particularly surprised at the juvenility of the majority of the candidates, with the exception of a very few: they were mere infants. The ceremony commenced with a hymn, which the pupils sang very sweetly and correctly; afterwards Master J. Wolff gave a short prayer, peculiarly appropriate to the occasion. The candidates for the prizes were divided into three classes: Rev. B. C. Carillon, examiner; Hon. G. V. Schmidten, K. D., Hon. Major A. A. Kiellerup, K. D., judges. We were particularly pleased with the promptness and correctness which the children displayed; indeed, had it been left to us to award the laurels, we should have been sorely puzzled to make the selection. If it be borne in mind that the school has only been established fifteen months, and that many of the scholars were unable to speak the English language when they entered it, we think that such an example of what, perseverance, unremitting attention, and consummate ability to impart knowledge can effect, has rarely been witnessed. That this eulogium is merited, we appeal to all who were present. The prizes were awarded to the subjoined, whom the judges deemed most proficient.
Premium, Julius Wolff.
Premium, Seporah De Meza.
Premium, Julia D'Azevedo.
At the close of the examination, Miss R. Hoheb repeated a prayer, and the prizes were then distributed; after which Benjamin Levy, Esq., read a very flattering address to Aaron Wolff, Esq., signed by numerous members of the congregation, expressing in the most gratifying terms their lively sense of the obligations they were under to him as the founder and promoter of the valuable institution. But we refer our readers to the address itself, which is an interesting document, and which we hope the gentleman to whom it is addressed, will hand down as an heirloom to his children.
Mr. Wolff replied in a speech replete with feeling, which will also be found in our columns; after which Dr. Pretto addressed the meeting, and in a brief but forcible speech supported the tenor of the address. The Rev. B. C. Carillon then delivered a discourse suitable for the occasion.
After the service was concluded, a large party adjourned by invitation to the residence of Aaron Wolff, Esq., where a plentiful array of cakes, sweetmeats, fruits, &c., caused the eyes of the juveniles to sparkle with delight, whilst the seniors with equal gusto drank a variety of toasts, and caused a pleasant hour or two to glide away most delightfully.
St. Thomas, 13th August, 5603 (1843).
Aaron Wolff, Esq.,
Sir,—We should be deficient in every sentiment of gratitude, did we depart from this sacred edifice, or return to our homes and families, without publicly expressing the great pleasure we have to-day experienced, in witnessing the progress made by the youthful attendants at our Sunday-school.
When, sir, we recall the recent formation of this excellent institution, and contemplate the beneficial results already attendant on your charitable exertions, we feel our inability to convey in words the high sense we entertain of the inestimable blessings conferred by you, under favour of Almighty God, on the children of our faith. No sacrifice, however great, sufficed to check your philanthropic purpose; to your perseverance are our youth indebted for a knowledge of those essential truths of religion, which will constitute their surest armour against the host of trials and temptations that beset the path of man in his journey through life; nay, this school, so noble in its design, may truly be styled the offspring of your pious zeal and unweariable energy; over its infancy you watched with the anxiety of a parent, whilst with fostering care you preserved it from dissolution.
Sir, we entreat your acceptance of this accompanying mark of our esteem, as a slight token of the very great value we attach to your efforts to promote the welfare of your fellow-creatures, by implanting in their minds a holy fervour and religious devotion, and by extending the benefits of moral education to the children of the needy, as well as to those born to wealth and affluence, for rich and poor alike gather the fruit of the goodly tree your hand hath planted.
We pray the Almighty Father of the universe to bestow on you his choicest blessings, and may He who fails not to record the deeds of his pious servants, regard your zeal in the cause of virtue and religion, and "count it unto you for righteousness;" may your years be greatly prolonged, and may you in a ripe old age see yourself surrounded by a happy, prosperous, and united community, all striving to excel in acts of piety and love, and ardently devoting themselves to the service of their God, their sovereign and their country.
Here follow the signatures.
Gentlemen,-I cannot well express to you the feelings of pleasure and gratitude, with which I attended yesterday to the kind and benevolent address that your honourable committee delivered to me in your name. That generous and unexpected testimony of your approbation for the feeble services I have rendered to our community, bereft me of the power of uttering my acknowledgment, and of conveying to you the wishes I form for the welfare of the younger branches of our families, whose examination in the tenets of our religion, had assembled us in our sacred house of worship.
I have done but little. Any member of this community, placed in the office which I at present fill, would have been stimulated, by the regenerating spirit that manifests itself among our brethren in faith throughout the civilized world, and would have recurred to the establishment of a religious school, as the groundwork which is to insure the spiritual, as well as the temporal happiness of the rising generation. It is, however, a mere commencement. Much, gentlemen, is yet to be achieved. An elementary school for the poorer class of our congregation is an institution almost as desirable as that which we have already created. It is to you, principally, next to the powerful and merciful interference of Divine Providence, that the directors of the Sunday-school will look for support; it is on your efforts that they rely for the accomplishment of their view, and for the promotion of the primary aim of the existing institution, the diffusion of religious principles and religious knowledge among our children. Instructed in those sacred dogmas which during so many centuries have united, as one compact mass, all the children of Israel scattered over the face of the earth, our offspring will turn to us for the practice of the religious virtues they are taught; and it is by our example that they must be made to feel that strong attachment to the faith of their ancestors, which ensures their happiness through life, and will make them partakers of eternal bliss hereafter.
I accept, gentlemen, with unspeakable satisfaction, the token of your esteem with which you have been pleased to present me; and while tendering you my sincerest thanks for the good and pious wishes that terminate your address, I will conclude, fervently praying the Almighty to impress upon the mind of our youth the word of his holy law, to render them the joy and comfort of their parents, when years shall crowd upon them, and to inspire me with unceasing fervour for the benefit of this community, to which I will joyfully devote my latest hour.
Thomas, 14th August, 1843.