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Proceedings of Israelites at Columbia, S. C.

Columbia, S. C., October 11th, 1846.

A meeting of the parents and pupils of the Israelite Sunday School of the town of Columbia, was called this day for the purpose of receiving the report of the Directress, and the tender of resignation of that lady from the superintendence of the above-named school. Miss Boanna E. Wolff, Directress, was called to the Chair, and Miss Julia Mordecai, requested to act as Secretary.

The meeting being organized, the Directress submitted a full report of the prosperous condition of the school and its finances, and delivered a neat and appropriate address on the subject of her connexion with the same, and urging the great necessity of fostering the institution. After tendering her resignation, Mr. Jacob Levin, addressed the meeting as follows, and submitted for consideration the resolutions annexed, which were unanimously adopted.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Before dissolving this meeting, permit me to enlist your attention but for a few moments, for were I to permit the object for which you were called together this afternoon to pass without an effort to impress on your minds and feelings, the great and important feature connected with it, I should be doing injustice to you, myself, and greater injustice to one who has so zealously presided at the head of this institution, from its first organization to the present day.

Need I ask you to call to recollection this day three years, the day when this institution was ushered into existence, and tell me what portion of religious light our little ones were then in possession of? Alas! to our discredit as Israelites, not only our youth, but those advanced in age, groped in darkness for the want of knowledge of the fundamental principles of our religion. It was then at this period, with those ennobling feelings of philanthropy which animated the bosom of our ancient Jewish maidens, that the amiable Directress of this institution commenced the arduous task of organizing it; with what success she has carried out her views with regard to it, your response will be, It has far exceeded in realizing our most anxious expectations.

Need I say to you, that previous to the formation of this school, your children were not only deficient of the knowledge of the requirements of Deity, but almost of Deity itself? Need I say to you now, ask your youngest from whom it derived its existence and what will be its reply? Need I say to you, ask those in the green age of youth what are the commands of Israel’s God, and they will give it to you as handed down to our holy prophet Moses? Need I say to you, ask them what are the fundamental principles of an Israelite’s faith, and they will call your attention to their recital of the thirteen creeds? Religious instruction being the foundation of every moral and social virtue, yourselves, children, and posterity, will owe a debt of gratitude to the founder of this institution difficult to repay. I have said under her superintendence prosperity has attended her labours, the natural result to all institutions, when the direction is confided to one like her, possessing the qualifications to insure its success.

To me it has been a source of pleasure and satisfaction to have witnessed the faithful discharge of the important trust confided to her, and in the discharge of those duties, strictly careful never to permit prejudice or partiality to interfere with her requirements, demanding respect for herself and instruction, ever mindful of that due to others. This day is to sever the connexion which has existed between her and this institution, so zealously commenced, and with so much fidelity closed. Who is there here under the sound of my voice, parent or child, whose heart does not feel grieved at the separation? Who in this little congregation but feels the loss this institution sustains by this separation? creating a void regretted by all, and adding another useful lesson to our reflections, that our sojourn and connexion with each other are not in our own hands, for our lives are for the most part made up of union and separation, and small, often very small, is the space that divides us, for like joy and sorrow, meeting and parting often lie close together, and these are perhaps the circumstances under which the dispensation is the least painful. Yet grievous is the separation from those whom years of usefulness have endeared them to us, and painful is the breaking up of associations in which the affection of friends has each day, on meeting together, bound around thorn and their connexion, as it were, a fresh bond of soul.

But the name of Boanna Wolff will long be remembered by a grateful community, and cherished in the hearts of those who have been receiving those moral, instructive, and essential lessons from her, and thus laid the foundation whereon to cement their future moral and social virtues. For you, respected lady, was reserved the proud and glorious task of making the first effort to erect this monument of holiness. To you has been confided the guidance of our youth to a proper knowledge of Israel’s God, and his commands. To you has been confided the management of all the concerns of this institution. To your successor have you this day transferred them, in the full tide of prosperity, with the assurance on our part, as well as a firm conviction on yours, of having discharged the duties devolving on you with honour to yourself, and entire satisfaction to those interested; and when separated from us in after years, should your imagination wander back to this little community, you will with proud gratification remember that we this day tender to you our grateful acknowledgments, for the able, zealous, and faithful discharge of the responsibilities devolving on you, and you take with you in the new station you are soon to occupy in society, our undivided and sincere wishes for your happiness, contentment, and prosperity.

Be it therefore resolved, by the parents and assistants of the Israelite Sunday School, of Columbia—That we deeply regret the separation from us of Miss Boanna Wolff, whose connexion, as founder of this institution, has existed so long, with so much honour to herself and benefit to the rising generation of our community.

Resolved, That we hereby tender to her our grateful acknowledgments for the able and indefatigable discharge of the duties as directress of this school.

Resolved, That in the new station she will shortly occupy, she has our best wishes for the bestowal of heaven’s choicest blessing upon her.

Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be entered on the record of the school, and that a copy of the same be forwarded to Mr. Isaac Lesser for publication in The Occident.