Vol. VII, No. 1
Nisan 5609, April 1849
The Proposed Assembly.
In our last we inserted a circular, on the suggestion of several persons, in regard to a convention of Israelites in America. On our own responsibility, we proposed that the meeting should take place at New York, on the 11th of June. We recommend the above city, as it contains a larger number of congregations than any other in the country, and the time, thinking it most convenient for nearly all those likely to attend. But should it be found that it is inconvenient for the congregations to act promptly on the suggestion, and that a later day would be better, we shall not hesitate to yield our views to those of others, and call the convention together at a later day. In the meantime, we request all persons interested in the welfare of our religion to give the subject their best consideration, and we urge on all communities to elect their delegates, and to inform us with the least possible delay of the names of the persons chosen. For our part, we prefer a meeting of delegates to that of ministers on their own volition, and of such laymen as might voluntarily join them; but we presume that in case the convention does meet, any one will be admitted as a visiter, and to offer such thoughts as may suggest themselves to his mind. Our space will not permit us to say more at present; but we request our friends to communicate to us their views for publication. A union can do no harm, of this we assure all our friends, and only the state of isolation can bring injury to our cause. Reform of the wild nature which was witnessed in Europe was chiefly owing to the latter cause, and it will be the same here, in case each congregation reforms after its own views.—More anon.
Albany, February 19, 1849.
Knowing the interest you take in all matters relating to our sacred religion, I take the liberty to enclose hereby certain resolutions passed.
At a meeting of Israelites in the city of Albany; on Saturday evening the 17th inst., Mr. Martin Stern was called to the chair, and Feist <<42>>Traub acted as secretary. The meeting being convened for the purpose of taking in consideration the project of an assembly of delegates of all Jewish congregations of North America, requested Rabbi Dr. Wise to address the meeting. After his eloquent address was finished, other speakers also spoke in favour of the project, when Mr. M. Shloss offered the following preamble, and resolutions, which were unanimously passed:—
Whereas, we are convinced of the necessity and utility of a convention of delegates, representing all Jewish congregations of North America, who, being elected by the people and having the honour and welfare of Judaism at heart, are willing to raise the American Israelite from his lethargy in regard to our holy faith to a true understanding of its requirements and duties: and,
Whereas, the press is the mighty lever of public opinion in this enlightened age, and more especially in our free country, we think therefore that the establishment of a cheap paper advocating rational reform; to elevate our moral condition, should be the first consideration of such a convention; and,
Whereas, we find that the school-books now used in our schools are not such as we ought to place into the hands of our youth, we think that the compiling and procuring of more suitable books should be one of the first subject matters of action; therefore be it unanimously
Resolved, that the Beth-El Congregation of Albany declares hereby its willingness to send at least one delegate to the proposed assembly.
Resolved, that the transactions of this meeting be communicated to the trustees of the Beth Jacob Congregation of this place for their favourable consideration and action in conjunction with us.
Resolved, that these proceedings be sent to the Rev. Isaac Leeser, the Editor of the Occident, in Philadelphia, with the request of having them inserted in the next number of his periodical, he having the merit, on the suggestion of our esteemed Rabbi, of agitating and bringing this subject before the American Israelites.
Resolved, that the thanks of this meeting be tendered to Rabbi Dr. Wise and Rev. Isaac Leeser.
Martin Stern, President,