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Ninth Annual Meeting of the Ladies’ Hebrew Sewing Society of Philadelphia


On Sunday, the 30th of Tishry, the 10th of October, the Ninth Annual Meeting of the Ladies’ Hebrew Sewing Society of Philadelphia, took place, at the Committee Room of the Portuguese Synagogue, Cherry Street, when the First Directress presented the following Report.

<<408>>Directress’s Report of the Ladies’ Hebrew Sewing Society.

“Nine years have elapsed since the ‘Ladies’ Hebrew Sewing Society’ commenced its labours and its duties; and circumstances render it now more than even usually incumbent, to report to those constituting it, its progress as well as its present position. The first year, I find it stated in our accounts, that the receipts were $163.21; the expenditure, $143.56, leaving a balance of $19.65. I will not anticipate the Treasurer’s statement of this year, but reference to the last shows an outlay of $280.89; with a fund in hand so disposed as to be immediately available, of $341.87. The number of garments distributed during the first year was 260 to 22 children. The present year 494 to 22 adults and 53 children; also 100 yards of muslin, and a bed have been given.

“When we contrast the past, with the present state of the Institution, it becomes apparent that much exertion was necessary to place it on the basis it now occupies; having for its purpose the clothing of children until they attained years and ability to provide for themselves; affording the same to sick adults, whether residents or strangers; also when occasion required, to provide beds and bedding. The sum seemed scarcely adequate; nor could it have proved so, but that each member recognized the responsibility of membership, a responsibility inducing persevering efforts to promote the object for which they had combined. Whilst pecuniary aid is important, no less so is personal. The industry that fashions the garment, is as useful as the money that purchases the fabric. The habit of punctual attendance on the various occasions of meeting is essential, not only because of the actual service rendered, but as an incentive to others, who lack zeal, though they may possess feeling. Who can doubt that benevolence is often undeveloped, because objects are not brought ostensibly before one? The child of affluence hears a tale of sorrow, perhaps sheds a tear of commiseration, bestows a mite; then, satisfied at having afforded immediate relief, thinks not that a morrow, of equal destitution, comes; nor gives one remembrance to the forlorn being whom, had he seen and judged for himself, would have awakened sympathy that could not, nor would have slept, until some efficient and permanent means had been adopted for the comfort and well-doing of the indigent.

“A large proportion of the recipients of your bounty are emigrant strangers. Their past destitution, and present poverty are the only plea, the most earnest claim, they can offer; and is it not all-sufficient?

<<409>>Can it for a moment be supposed that a voyage across the ocean, with a meagre allowance of provision, subject to the discomfort, the wretchedness of a crowded steerage, would be undertaken by those who, probably, ere then, had scarcely travelled a league from the village or  town where father and son, from generation to generation had toiled, almost in servitude, and surely in oppression, until both had become as familiar as the bondage of brick and mortar? Would they, but to escape from this, seek so far a country, where the different habits and language make theirs, by contrast, seem uncouth and discordant? but for the hope that the one universal language of charity would render that far-off land a home, a refuge from misery, a haven of comfort and peace? And shall we disappoint those expectations? Shall we chill the heart of the stranger? Shall we not remember that he who cometh to sojourn with us, shall be even as one born among us? Shall we forget that a Hebrew, be he from the uttermost part of the earth, is one of whom God himself has promised that each and all shall be gathered together as one people, under one ruler, and with one hope, faith, and trust in Him, the God of our fathers? I have been induced to call your attention to this especially, having had frequent occasion to combat objection to this class of claimants. I rejoice to say there is a decided diminution of the resident poor, so far as our observation extends, and this, too, not from removal, but that the assistance afforded, and their own exertion, now suffice for their maintenance.

“Year after year changes have occurred in the Board of Managers, thus initiating many in the respective duties and cares, affording opportunity to know and to exercise the ability to do that, which was promotive of the well-being of the pensioners and transient applicants for aid. For several years the expenditure was almost commensurate with the receipts; yet confident in the goodness of their purpose, satisfied that it met the approval of all who vouchsafed their attention, sustained by the especial kindness of several gentlemen, the association still persevered in its efforts. Each year added somewhat to its means. At length the efficient aid of the ‘Hebrew Ball’ gave basis to its pecuniary position,  as well as indicating a satisfaction with what had been done; and now, through the kind assistance of Joseph S. Cohen, Esq., a Charter has been obtained. It alone seethed requisite to give the ‘Ladies’ Hebrew Sewing Society’ a permanent place among those older institutions that have so zealously sought to give comfort to the homeless, the widow, and the orphan; yet let us not stay the good work, nor think that naught else is to be done. That may not be said until every Jew can say of his fellow-Jew, ‘Worthy art thou of the race from which thou <<410>>hast sprung!’ That may not be said until every son of Abraham can feel ‘The God of our fathers dwelleth among, and hath made us a light to the nations.’ Such regeneration seems almost beyond our limited powers. But the question arises, How or by what bounds are these powers limited? May we not fear, by the very means that should extend them? The education afforded our youth, as citizens of this commonwealth, is surely an infinite good. Let it not be subversive of a greater, that of inculcating such religious knowledge as will enable every son of Israel to vindicate in word, and in deed, those  sacred truths that teach him alike his duty to his God, his country, and himself. Institutions like this, are, or should be, the primary schools from which, we trust, others will arise, calculated to produce such results; then, and then only, can we say, ‘according to our ability hath been its uses.’

“And now, I hope it will not be deemed irrelevant to the occasion, to ask your attention personally for a few moments. Article 22d requires the constitution of the association to be in accordance with that of the commonwealth. The letter may be adhered to, whilst the spirit is infringed. Deeming it both in letter and in spirit wise in its construction, I desire to prove it judicious in its application, consequently, withdraw as candidate for office, satisfied that we number among our members such as are fully adequate to each and all the duties required. So happy, and with little exception, so harmonious, has been the relative position of Directress and Directed, that the remembrance will be to me most gratifying. So peculiar is the association and connexion in an institution like this, that only the truest spirit of urbanity and courteousness, with a well-understood sense of the necessity of regular system on the part of the members could have rendered it pleasurable. May I beg their acceptance of my thanks, my assurance of real esteem for such co-operation. With the hope that no after-feeling of regret may mingle with remembrance of those evenings spent in doing service to the needy, and that my successor may equally rejoice in the unanimity that has lightened duties which otherwise were, in no small degree onerous, I trust that the prayers of the alleviated may call down blessing on their benefactors, now and ever.”

After the reading of the Report, the following resolution was adopted:

Resolved, that the thanks of this meeting be tendered to Miss Louisa B. Hart, for the able manner in which she has so long presided over this society for her exertions in its behalf singe its organization; and, that the Secretary be requested to forward her a copy of this resolution.

<<411>>And the election for officers for the current year having been held, the following ladies were declared duly elected:

Miss Bluma Hart, First Directress; Miss Esther E. Solis, Second Directress; Miss Julia N. Carvalho, Treasurer; Miss Amelia J. Allen, Secretary; and Misses Rachael Pesoa, Sarah Abrahams, Hester Stork, Sophia De Young, and Rachael N. Carvalho, Managers.

The Treasurer for the past year presented the following Report, which with the other proceedings, as above, was ordered to be sent to The Occident for publication.

Julia N. Carvalho, Treasurer, in account with the L.H.S. Society
Cr. Dr.
Oct. 1847     1846  
  By different orders paid to committees $223.00     To cash on hand at the last annual meeting $11.87
          Subscriptions and donations from members, and other benevolent contributors $90.50
  Cash on hand $17.86   1847    
        Jan. 13 Received from the Ball Committee $138.49
    $240.86       $240.86

On deposit in Saving Fund $330.00, and interest due thereon, $13.20, showing an available fund of $361.06.

Julia N. Carvalho