|Vol. IV, No. 5
Ab 5606, August 1846
The Rev. Mr. Jacobs, of Kingston, Jamaica.—The Voice of Jacob, No. 127, of April 24th, contains a short article respecting the state of the two public Jewish schools at Kingston, which is described as languid and unsatisfactory, owing to the paucity of duly trained and qualified teachers. The correspondent farther remarks, “the union of the two schools, with a view to tempt thither a man of superior attainments and lame experience, is said to be much desired.” Indeed, the whole scope of the article, short as it is, appears to cast censure upon the gentlemen who are engaged as teachers in the Sephardim as well as the Ashkenazim Schools. When the paper reached Jamaica, the Rev. Solomon Jacobs, the minister of the German Synagogue, who had acted for some time as head master of the school connected therewith, resigned the latter charge without consulting his friends, a portion of whom have requested us to say, that so far from deserving the animadversion of the correspondent of the V. of J., Mr. Jacobs has given general satisfaction in the capacity of teacher. We regret deeply that he should have thought himself called upon, by an anonymous paragraph, to relinquish an important trust; since the best method of refuting an unjust charge is to live it down. If public men were to hear all that is said of them, and resign upon all occasions when they are censured, there would be but few incumbents left to discharge the various public functions. But as we suppose that Mr. J.’s resignation cannot well be recalled, we hope that a fit successor may soon be obtained. We copy by request, the following from the Jamaica Despatch, which has been sent us for the purpose:
“We learn that the Rev. Mr. Jacobs, who has hitherto had charge of the Free School attached to the English and German Synagogue, and whose exertions to forward the children entrusted to his chanrge, appear to have been satisfactory to the Directors or the Society, has resigned his appointment as Master to the institution, in consequence of an uncalled-for, and no less unjust, attack having been made on his capabilities, by a Jamaica correspondent of the Voice of Jacob.
“The appearance of the article alluded to, is doubtless an attempt, which we are sure will prove fruitless, to injure the reverend gentlemen in public estimation, the more so, as it appears in a Jewish publication widely circulated in England, his native country, and away from the scene of his labours.
“Mr. Jacobs, we understand, has no difficulty in tracing the author of the slander, who, it is believed, is an individual ‘clothed in a little brief authority.’”
Jewish Freemasons In Prussia.—For some time past, the Jewish periodicals have spoken much concerning the exclusion of Jews from Prussian Masonic Lodges. But as we are not a member of this society, and not feeling any particular interest in the question, believing, as we do, that Jews should have too much self-respect to seek society where they are not wanted, we omitted taking any notice of the matter. But the subject has taken a different turn; since the Grandmaster of the fraternity in Great Britain has adopted such measures as to vindicate the rights of man outraged in the persons of the English brothers excluded from the lodges of the Germans. The bearing of the Earl of Zetland is truly noble, and he deserves our warmest thanks for his manly defence of the right cause. Would only that our own Israelitish brothers, who have wealth and standing, would act equally promptly, and not hold any intercourse, either from policy or interest, with an oppressor; for then these would soon learn that Jews could defend themselves, though scattered and oppressed. We copy from the Jewish Chronicle, of June 12th; we only have to add, that Mr. Faudel is an Israelite, who has taken great pains to bring the matter to the present issue.
“Jewish Freemasons.—Important Decision Of The Grand Lodge Of England.
“On Wednesday, the 3d inst., a quarterly communication of the Freemasons of England was holden at the Hall, in Great Queen Street, Lincoln’s Inn Fields. The Right Hon. the Earl of Zetland, Grandmaster of England, in the chair, supported by the Right Hon. Lord Wriotesley, M. P., Deputy Grandmaster, and a numerous suite of other Grand Officers, &c.
“After the usual routine of business, the Earl of Zetland requested the serious attention of the Grand Lodge to a most important subject, viz.: the result of the correspondence which had taken place between the Grand Lodges of England and Prussia, on the subject of the refusal of the latter to admit Jewish Freemasons into masonic meetings. The Grand Secretary then read the correspondence. In reply to a question from the Grand Lodge of England, whether a person professing the Jewish religion, and holding a certificate or diploma of the Grand Lodge of England, can be admitted to their assemblies in Prussia, during the time of working their masonic meeting, the Grand Lodge Royal York of Friendship, of Berlin, replied, that any brother professing the Israelitish or Mahometan faith cannot, by the constitution of their country, be admitted to any of their masonic meetings, not even to a subordinate one, who are bound by allegiance to their superior masonic authorities strictly to enforce such exclusion; and should the director of the ceremonies, whose duty compels him to ascertain the religion of a visiting brother prior to his admission, neglect to do so, and an Israelite thereby gain admittance, on the fact being ascertained, the Israelite would be ordered to withdraw, and should he refuse to do so, the meeting would be dissolved instanter. After the reading of this reply, the Grandmaster stated, that he considered, as Freemasonry was universal in its brotherhood, and neither knew nor acknowledged any distinction of faith, that he should not be doing his duty if he did not withdraw the representative of the Grand Lodge of England from the Grand Lodge Royal York, in Berlin, whose principles were at variance with true Freemasonry. Thereupon the Grand Lodge unanimously agreed, on the resolution of the Grandmaster, ‘To withdraw at once their representative from the Grand Lodge Royal York, in Berlin, and that the representative of the latter to the Grand Lodge of England, viz.: Brother Chevalier Hebeler, be acquainted, through the Grand Secretary, that he could no longer be acknowledged, or take his seat, in the Grand Lodge of England, as the representative from the Grand Lodge Royal York of Friendship, in Berlin. Brother Faudel, the indefatigable masonic Jewish champion, and to whom all Israel is under deep obligation for his noble conduct in this affair, suggested, as a further holding forth of the olive branch of peace, whether it would not be advisable to forward another communication on the subject to the Grand Lodge of Prussia; but the Grandmaster was of opinion, that such a course of proceeding would be derogatory to the dignity of the Grand Lodge of England, but that he would, however, embrace any opportunity which might occur to restore that fraternal union that had for so many years existed between the Lodges of England and Prussia.
“Brother Faudel said, he would bow to his Lordship’s superior judgment, and moved that a vote of thanks be passed to the Right Hon. the Earl of Zetland, M. W. G. M., for the effective manner with which his Lordship had carried out the measures consequent on this unhappy affair, and addressed the Grandmaster in terms of grateful acknowledgment for the courteous manner in which his Lordship had replied to his communications during a lengthened period, as well as for the liberal principles avowed and eventually carried out by the noble Earl; which, being seconded by Brother Dr. Crucifix, was carried unanimously. His Lordship returned thanks. He was gratified to find, that in the discharge of an unpleasant duty, his conduct had been duly appreciated by the Grand Lodge.
“We understand that there were several Israelitish brethren present, among whom were Brothers S. M. Lazarus, and J. Abrahams, W. M. of the Lodge of Joppa, 223, but who did not take part in this interesting discussion, in consequence of the very efficient manner in which the subject had been from the first handled by Brother Faudel.”
Confirmation at New York. Rabbi Lilienthal, for the first time in America, celebrated the new ceremony of confirmation, introduced in Germany of late years, on the last Feast of Weeks. We have not received the particulars.
Confirmation at St. Thomas. On the Eve of Shabuolh, after the evening service, before עלינו לשבח, nine children, to wit: Alfred Julien, Morris Fidanque, Moses C. D’Azevedo, Esther Piza, Rebecca Levison, Julia E. Simmonds, Deliah Devalle, Rebecca Piza, and Rachel De Meza, were confirmed by the Rev. M. N. Nathan, minister of the congregation. The ceremony is represented as having been very imposing. After having been examined in religious instruction, in which they acquitted themselves so well as to reflect credit on themselves and their teachers, they promised obedience to the law of God in groups of three, each with a hand on a sacred Roll (Sepher Torah), three copies of the law having been taken out of the Ark for the purpose by the President, Vice President, and Treasurer of the congregation, the Hazan reading to them the promise to fulfil all that they had been to taught by their teachers and parents, and asking them whether they would obey, to which then answered, “We do promise.” The parents were then called upon to bless their children, after which the Hazan likewise bestowed his benediction. The address of Mr. Nathan on the occasion is spoken of as highly effective.—Though so much is told of this child of modern days, we are for our part not yet satisfied of its usefulness; and though not opposed to its being resorted to, however we might except to some of the details, we have not yet seen enough to satisfy our own judgment of the propriety of its introduction.
Charleston. We omitted to state in our last, that the late decision of the Court of Appeals having virtually excluded the friends of the old order of things from any probability of participating in the government of the Synagogue Beth Elohim, they have organized themselves permanently into a separate congregation of the name of Shearith Israel, upon the model of the usual Portuguese form of worship; English discourses only being permitted. The officers are, Isaiah Moses, President, Samuel Hart, sr., Vice President, Nathan Nathans, Abraham Tobias, Solomon Moses, Moses D. Hyams, and M. Loovis, Trustees, and S. Valentine, Secretary and Treasurer.
Prospective Return Of Jews To Spain. We learn from Les Archives Israelites, that Prince Henrique, of Spain, lately attended worship at the Synagogue at Bayonne, on Friday evening. After the service he was introduced to Mr. Marx, the eloquent Rabbi of that district, who addressed him upon the subject of justice to the Israelites in Spain. The Prince replied in substance, that he yet hoped of hearing the same service he had witnessed that evening performed in his native land. It would indeed be a proud triumph of Justice, were we publicly recalled to that country, where we have suffered so much for our faith; and how gloriously would our ancient hymns sound in the sanctuaries, purified from the images and unfitting decorations of a strange worship. May God grant it speedily!
Election Of Grand Rabbi of France. On the 17th of June, at seven o’clock in the evening, the central consistory and the delegates met at the Hotel de Ville, and by a vote of seventeen to one elected Mr. Marchand Ennery, present Rabbi of Paris, to the important post of Chief Rabbi of France. Rabbi Ennery is a conservative, and his election will therefore be a signal for the prevalence of the ancient order, despite of the efforts of the lovers of wild and arbitrary changes. We hope however that all useful improvements will find a ready support in the Chief Rabbi and his learned coadjutors, such as Lambert, Godechaux, Marx, and others.
Sir Moses Montefiore and Lady arrived on the 16th of June at Dover, on their return from Russia. Lady Montefiore’s health had improved of late. Their reception in London was, as might be expected, cordial in the extreme. Our limits compel us to be brief.
Palestine Jews. A letter has been received in Philadelphia from Rabbi H. Lehren, of Amsterdam, asking aid for the poor of Palestine, who are exposed to all the horrors of scarcity of food. Donations sent to A. Hart, Esq., of our place, will be forwarded to their destination.
The Russian Jews and Sir Moses Montefiore.—The mission of Sir Moses Montefiore to Russia, to intercede for the Jews in that empire, it would appear, has had a partially good result, inasmuch as the various decrees of oppression have been suspended for a period, as will appear from the subjoined letters of the worthy knight, who in this instance, as on previous occasions, has given ample proof that he is an Israelite who well graces his profession by his extended philanthropy and straightforward bearing. May many blessings attend him.
“St. Petersburg, 10th April, 1846.
“Dear Sir,—The very lively interest which yourself and the other members of the Great Synagogue expressed for the success of the object that brought me to this Imperial Capital, will, I trust, reader a few lines from me acceptable.
“I have the pleasure to inform you that, with the blessing of God, I have had the opportunity of pleading the cause or our brethren in this empire before the mighty monarch. On Thursday I was honoured with an audience by the Emperor, was most graciously received and all my statements listened to most patiently. His Majesty said I should have the satisfaction of taking with me his assurance, and the assurances of his ministers, that he was most desirous for the improvement of my co-religionists in his empire, and that object engaged his attention at present. His Majesty intimated a desire that I should visit my brethren in those towns in which they were the most numerous, and he would put the in communication with his ministers.
“Wishing you many happy returns of the approaching festivals, believe me, my dear sir, with great regard yours truly,
(Signed) “Moses Montefiore.”
“Warsaw, 20th May 1846 (5606).
“Our journey to this city has not been rapid, having spent a little time at most of the villages and towns on our way, the principal inhabitants of which were Israelites. We were eleven days at Wilna; and I am happy to say, that before we left it, we had the satisfaction to find that all our co-religionists were desirous to comply with the wishes of his Majesty the Emperor, in every respect. Thousands would engage themselves in the cultivation of the land. Several of the Talmud Tora schools have undertaken to have the boys instructed in the language of thécountry, arithmetic, geography, &c. The fur cap has nearly disappeared at Wilna; this change of costume will, in my opinion, be followed very cheerfully by our brethren in Poland. The population of Vilna is 80,000, of whom 45,000 are Israelites, and most religious ones too. I was delighted with their schools. Among boys of nine and ten years of age, many were masters of the Hebrew language, and admirably acquainted with the Talmud and our Laws. In several of the girls’ schools, we met pupils who could read and write four different languages.
“There is much yet to be done in Poland, where our co-religionists are one-fourth of the whole population of the kingdom. Here I have already received the promise of many of the Hasidim to change their fur caps for hats, and to adopt the German costume generally. I think this change will have a happy effect on their position in this kingdom, and be the means of producing a good feeling between their fellow subjects and themselves. The Viceroy has most considerately allowed an extension of three months for the change of dress; and this is a great boon to the poor, as it will enable them to procure the new dresses. I have received in this city the assurance of many, that they would willingly engage themselves in agriculture if they could procure land; and his highness the Viceroy is desirous that they should do so. I therefore hope that those Jews in this kingdom who have the ability, will purchase land (which I am told is very cheap), and will employ their brethren in its cultivation. Our co-religionists are most willing to work; they are good masons, bricklayers, carpenters, &c., and of course tailors, shoemakers, bookbinders, weavers, &c. I was pained to witness how some labour for a morsel of bread; there were thousands of them on the roads breaking stones, and truly happy when they could get even that humiliating employment. The crops hove failed for the two last years, and consequently there is a great poverty in the land; but I hope the merciful goodness of God will crown the present year with plenty. The government has been very kind to the Jews as well as the Christians, and has mitigated as far as it could the distresses of the people.
“At Warsaw there are nearly 40,000 Jews in a population of 90,000. The Jewish hospital is a magnificent establishment, with 400 beds, and I regret to add, that on the day I went over it, all the beds were filled. Its arrangement is admirable; and well may our brethren be proud of it. The schools are also most deserving of commendation; here also the females are quite equal in talent to the males.
“We reached this place four days before his Imperial Majesty entered it, and I remain here during his Majesty’s sojourn, to be in attendance if it be his Majesty’s pleasure to see me again before my return to England. My presence in the city will be made known to the Emperor; but I shall not solicit the honour of an audience, as I cannot possibly have a more gratifying assurance than that I have already had the happiness to receive; nevertheless, it is most gratifying for me to be able to assure his Majesty that my brethren, one and all, that I have spoken with, are most anxious to comply with the wishes of his Majesty and his government in every particular. I have satisfied them that the measures proposed are by no means intended to interfere with their religion. * * * My poor wife continues an invalid; I hope she will be better on our return to happy England.”
“At the same time we are gratified that Sir Moses met with such marked attention upon his journey, though he declined so much as possible all public demonstrations. We are sure that our readers will thank us for laying before them the evidences of the esteem of the people for Sir M., which are furnished by the following extracts from the Voice of Jacob and Jewish Chronicle, partly taken from Christian Journals.
“The ‘Allgemeine Zeitung des Judenthums,’ states, on the authority of a private letter, which has since been corroborated, that a milder course is already being adopted in Russia towards the Jews. The Polish Jews are allowed to continue their costumes till the 1st of October; and the permission to keep public houses and inns has been prolonged to 1847. These are, at all events (says the editor of the above paper), essential facts to prove, that although the former harsh ukases are not yet entirely suspended, the government begins to be animated by a milder spirit towards our brethren. Sir Moses is, therefore, deserving of immortal thanks for having been (though not perhaps the direct cause of these concessions) the instrument for working this change, by his appearance in Russia, which served the government as a convenient link to connect with the chain of a new policy.
“Berlin, 2d June.—Sir Moses Montefiore received, on the 29th ult., a deputation, which had arrived purposely from Cracow, headed by Chief Rabbi Meissel. On the 30th, he was waited upon by the heads of the Jewish community of this town, with their President, Dr. Veit. On the same day, Sir Moses also received another deputation from the Society of Friends (an old established and highly respectable Jewish charity), the chairman of which, Mr. J. Lehman, addressed Sir Moses in the English language. The other addresses, spoken in German, were interpreted by Dr. Loewe, formerly librarian to His late Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex. Next, the Rabbis waited upon Sir Moses to pay their respects. On the Sabbath, as well as on the two days of Pentecost, Sir Moses attended the Great Synagogue, and the most cordial wishes from our whole community accompany this high-minded philanthropist on his return to his native country. He left this day, accompanied by his amiable lady, for Frankfort-on-the-Maine.
“Wilna, 18th May. We can communicate the following details concerning the visit of Sir Moses Montefiore: At St. Petersburg, one of the state carriages was placed at the disposal of the honoured guest, and a government official ordered to be in constant attendance. When he visited the Prayer-chamber of the Jewish soldiery, it was prepared and handsomely decorated on the occasion, at the charge of the Emperor. In our own town, the military Commandant and Governor General, Von Mirkowicz, waited upon him immediately after his arrival, and had a lengthened interview on the subject of Jewish interests. On the following day, Sir Moses was invited to meet all the principal authorities at a grand dinner, which the honoured Sheriff (as he is here called) declined, on account of his strict adherence to the Mosaic ceremonial and dietary regulations; the entertainment was therefore converted into a public breakfast, at which the most intimate friends of the Governor, and other persons of distinction, attended. Soon afterwards, the lady and daughters of the Governor waited upon Lady Montefiore, to manifest their reverence for her, and the young ladies kissed her hand. This interview lasted also some time.
“Here, as well as at every other place he has visited, Sir Moses left orders with his attendants to admit all who sought his presence, so that he was often occupied until late in the night, either with those who desired the honour to be presented to him, or who wished to appeal to his charity. He gave donations to the poor of all confessions, without distinction, and left on his departure, 10,000 silver rubles to the Jewish poor of the town.
“In Kowno, through which town he passed on his journey to Warsaw, the rejoicing among his co-religionists was so great, that business was altogether suspended during his stay. Altogether, his visit to Russia cannot fail to be of essential service to the Jewish people, even though nothing grow out of it for the improvement of their position; for the people, who usually regulate their own conduct by that of persons in higher station, when they see the honours which the Government pays to merit, without reference to the quarter in which it is found, will learn to conquer many of their existing prejudices.”