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The Jewish Miscellany.


A few friends of religion having lately had their attention excited by some flagrant violations against our sacred faith, came to an understanding to endeavour, in order to enlighten the public mind on this momentous subject, to get up a society for the publication of a series of works in a cheap pocket form, calculated to diffuse information on our religion.

They first thought of calling on several persons to co-operate; but after some consideration they resolved to make a commencement first, to show the sort of material they mean to offer. They have accordingly published “Caleb Asher,” a tale which originally appeared in the Cheap Jewish Library, under the name of “The Jewish Miscellany, No. 1.” We trust that all our American readers will endeavour to make themselves familiar with this little work; and that when they are satisfied that it and the enterprise proposed to them are deserving their support, they will aid the Provisional Publication Committee in establishing the proposed institution under the style of “the American Jewish Publication Society,” with proper auxiliaries in all American cities.—We will merely add, that as we are one of the Committee, all communications (post-paid) on the subject may be addressed to us, at 119 South Fourth Street, Philadelphia. We are authorized also to state that letters may likewise be sent to A. Hart, Esq., the president of our congregation, whose hearty co-operation will not be wanting in the prosecution of the good work. Gentlemen in the south may apply also to Mr. G. Kursheedt of New Orleans, in whose well-known zeal this enterprise will no doubt meet with an active coadjutor. With these few remarks we call the attention of our readers to the subjoined Prospectus of the Provisional Committee, which precedes the first publication of our new association, destined, we trust, soon to rise to that standing which its importance both claims and deserves.

“Beloved Friends,—

“The time for action has arrived, not to struggle for political ascendancy, which we do not desire, but to support the noble fabric of our faith, which, having stood firm and unshaken during the lapse of centuries, the warfare of an entire world, and the persecutions of mankind, is now threatened by a new danger,—the secret attacks and open assaults, by specious arguments, of those whose darling object it is to break down the landmarks of Judaism. No effort is spared to diffuse false views concerning our faith among the gentiles; and our own people too are endeavoured to be reached by errors propagated through books, tracts, and publications of all kinds; and the mass of erroneous views thus propagated would, if confided in by our brethren, work in silence, but not the less effectually, the loss to Israel of many precious souls who are now of our communion.

“The time, therefore, for counteraction has arrived; and they who are zealous for Israel, cannot any longer remain quiet and see the poison scattered far and wide, without endeavouring to do something to arrest its fatal effects.—But how are we to proceed?—We cannot imitate the mode of procedure of our gentile opponents; we cannot send out missionaries, to assemble around them the young and the old, to preach to them the truth that abides with us; as our people live dispersed over so wide a space of country that we are precluded from waiting upon all individually to speak with them upon the concerns of their immortal souls. But the PRESS is at our service; the thoughts which animate those favoured with the knowledge of the Lord can be sort abroad though the writers themselves are unable to travel; the words of peace can be transmitted to every town, to every house, though the speakers themselves may never be seen away from home. This is, in fact, the plan adopted by our opponents; and shall we not profit by them? Shall they alone be active, whilst we loiter by the way, as though a lion were in the road or a leopard in the streets? What do we fear? Have we not liberty of conscience? liberty of speech? liberty of the press? And why shall we not labour? Is the object not one of the greatest interest? of the utmost importance? is not every soul saved unto the Lord a merit in him by whose humble efforts such a result is brought about?

“Let us hope, that neither any vain idea of fear nor a criminal negligence may prevent us from following the line of duty which both reason and religion mark out as the one which we should pursue. There is surely sufficient enlightenment and knowledge in our brethren to prepare suitable publications to be circulated among all classes of our people, from which they may obtain a knowledge of their faith and proper weapons to defend it against the assaults of proselyte-makers on the one side, and of infidels on the other, by which means they may become Israelites in knowledge as well as to be Israelites merely in name.

“We, therefore, appeal to all who feel with us the potency of the obligation to unite with us in forming a JEWISH PUBLICATION SOCIETY whose object it shall be to prepare and publish works to be placed in the hands of all Israelites, and which shall have the double effect pointed out above. Such a series may embrace, tales, sermons, treatises, conversations, &c., all prepared with the sole idea of giving a candid and unprejudiced view of Jews and Judaism, to be distributed by the contributors, or sold for the benefit of the general fund.

“We address ourselves to all American congregations and individual families, and request them earnestly to communicate with their respective friends in the different cities, and to inform the subjoined Provisional Publication Committee.

“It is from no motive of egotism or officiousness that the Committee have offered themselves as leaders in this project; but merely to give the matter a beginning; and as soon as the projected society is formed, they will be anxious to submit themselves to any rules which may be adopted. They, therefore, propose no plan of operation, and content themselves with merely publishing the accompanying tale, copied from the ‘Cheap Jewish Library,’ as a specimen of what they conceive ought to be the character of the works to which they desire to give currency.

“The reverend ministers, teachers, presidents of congregations and societies, are earnestly requested to notice the plan and to urge it upon the serious attention of those who are placed within their sphere of action; and we trust that much good may result, and a strong united effort be made to diffuse light and knowledge among our friends.”