Home page The Occident and American Jewish Advocate Jews in the Civil War Jews in the Wild West History of Palestine The Occident Virtual Library


News Items.


Philadelphia. We have more than usual pleasure in announcing that at length there are well-founded prospects for the speedy establishment of a general and Hebrew school under the supervision of the Hebrew Education Society of Philadelphia. The Board of Managers, at a meeting held on the 12th of January, appropriated one thousand dollars towards paying the expenses for one year with the conditions that a limited number of pay scholars can be obtained, and the services of one competent Hebrew and English teacher be secured; which all, we think, can be readily accomplished. In addition to the above sum, there is an appropriation of two hundred dollars for one year made some time since by the Kahal Mikvé Israel; and we hesitate, therefore, little in predicting, that if the proper spirit only animates the parents or those who have children under their care, Philadelphia will soon have cause to boast of a school second to none in the country, wherein all the necessary branches of education are taught in connexion with a knowledge of our ancestral religion. We fervently hope that we shall not have to chronicle a failure, after having been permitted to expect at length the realization of a long deferred hope.

The Young Men’s Hebrew Literary Association of Philadelphia elected, on the 22d of December last, the following as their officers for the current season : Abraham Isaacs, President; Solomon C. Van Beil, Treasurer; Jacob Lyons, Secretary; Solomon L. Linse, <<575>>Librarian; Hezekiah W. Arnold, Louis De Young, and Morris J. Asch, Managers.

The Congregation Bnai Israel, composed mostly if not entirely of Israelites natives of Holland, was organized about four years ago, and the worship, which is conducted on the strict principle recognized at Amsterdam, has hitherto been held in a hired locality; since notwithstanding the good intentions of the members, they have not been able to afford the outlay to erect a proper building for themselves. They have, however, resolved to begin the work in earnest, and have already purchased a suitable piece of ground, but they lack the means to defray the expenses of the building. They have accordingly requested us to make a public appeal for them to the various congregations of America to aid them in their pious work, which we now cheerfully do. Any donation intended by the pious-minded for this worthy object may be sent to Mr. Abraham Leon, President of the congregation, 95 Chatham Street, New York; Mr. S. A. Lichtenheim, 21 Oliver Street; Mr. Philip Levi, 32 City Hall Place; or Mr. M. S. Cohen, Reade Street; all of whom are authorized to receive donations and subscriptions, and we sincerely trust that this appeal may not be made in vain.

Baltimore. Having a little leisure, we spent, during the current month, a few days at Baltimore, and we may truly affirm, that we were greatly gratified at witnessing the progress which our brothers have made in that city. It is now about seventeen years ago that the first serious organization was attempted to unite the scattered few into a regular religious community, and now there are two orthodox congregations, each with its regular Hazan and preacher, and a properly organized school; in addition to which, there is a reform society, worshipping after the form of the Hamburg temple, which is sufficiently well known to many of our readers. We could only find time to visit the oldest Synagogue, though it is not yet four years old, in Lloyd Street, both to look at the school, which is kept in the basement, on Thursday, and to attend worship on the Sabbath, and though we did not find all as we could have wished it, we saw enough to please any friend of Israel. There were assembled about two hundred chil­dren of both sexes in four class rooms, under as many teachers, two of whom are for Hebrew and the others for English. The names of the latter we did not learn, but the others were the Rev. Mr. Hochheimer, the minister of the congregation, who thus spends his time usefully in diffusing knowledge among the youthful portion of his flock, <<576>>and Mr. Sachs, who has for some years already officiated as the regular teacher of that community. The Rev. Dr. Aaron Gunzburg also superintends the school attached to his Synagogue in Eden Street, but we were compelled to defer a visit thereto to a later period. On the Sabbath, the Synagogue was filled almost to its full capacity, and we should judge that the space was not large enough for all those who belong to the congregation; hence we should not be surprised that before many years a new Synagogue will have to be erected to accommodate the constantly increasing number of Israelites in the flourishing city of Baltimore; but we hope that whether this be the case or not, every effort will be made by those in authority to elevate the moral and religious standing of those entrusted to their care, and to unite for a common good though they worship in different Synagogues.

Cleveland, Ohio. The Synagogue “Tifereth Israel” was duly consecrated on the 22d of Tebeth, the 27th of December last, at which occasion the Rev. Isador Kalisch, the Rabbi of the congregation, delivered an appropriate sermon in the German language. We have received from the reverend gentleman in addition to the sermon, the manuscript hymns in Hebrew and German, composed by him, which were sung on this occasion, but our space this month absolutely precludes our doing more than merely alluding to them; at the same time that we cannot now enter upon the discussion which Mr. Kalisch invites in reference to the rights of ministers as the proper superintendents of public worship. No one more than we can claim proper independence for the ministry; but we still must doubt the right of determining on the mode of worship by any single individual or separate congregation without concert with properly educated persons of ether bodies, and even then with more care than the present reform mania will permit on all occasions. We shall not, however, lose sight of the subject, should it be in our power hereafter, and we hope that Mr. Kalisch may yet have an opportunity of discussing the question in our pages.

New Orleans. We stated lately that for the Sunday School just then established by the Sephardim Kahal, Mrs. Cohen was elected Secretary. We regret to learn that domestic affliction has caused her to resign, and Mrs. David Goodman has been chosen in her place. At the same time we must correct an inadvertent error we made in giving the name of Mrs. Henry Florance in place of Mrs. Benjamin F. as the superintendent of the school. Both the ladies we number among our warmest friends; but in the present instance, it would be welcome to neither to have the credit due to the daughter of our venerable friend, Mr. Israel <<577>>B. Kursheedt, of New York, transferred to another. We must also congratulate in this connexion, this ancient Israelite who has seen the Jews in America grow to their present position by slow degrees, that he has been spared to witness his children and their immediate connexions taking so active and prominent a part in our public affairs, since it was mainly owing to his wise instruction that they have been fitted to assume the rank they occupy as leading Israelites both in New York and New Orleans; and we hope that he may yet be spared longer to see good fruits result from his and their deeds.

California. We have before us a letter dated San Francisco, about the 1st of December, which gives some gratifying details of the progress of Jewish matters in that distant quarter of the globe. On the 13th of October, there was finally organized “the first Hebrew Benevolent Society of San Francisco,” or חברה שערי חסד של אמת, when the following gentlemen were duly elected: A. Wassers, President; M. Rehfish, Vice-President; G. Mac Cowan, J. J. Joseph, H. Hart, and H. Krause, Trustees; H. M. Lewis, Treasurer; and J. H. Rosenbaum, Secretary. After which it was resolved to open books for the admission of members for four weeks, at the end of which time the society had increased to upwards of one hundred and twenty members. In addition to this, there was formed, in October, another society, composed mostly of Germans, and counting about sixty members. It bears the name of Eureka. During the prevalence of the cholera, a Humane Society was formed, composed of members of both the other associations, to render personal assistance to the sick, and to attend to the burial of the dead. Mr. J. J. Joseph, late of Charleston, was the president. In Sacramento City also a Hebrew Benevolent Society has been organized and a burying ground purchased. The burying ground in San Francisco, our correspondent states, was purchased last April by the “First Hebrew Benevolent Society” as a public property for all the Jews of the place. It is neatly fenced in, and has a house with all the requisites usual among Israelites. This proves that our brothers in the far West do not forget their origin, and we trust to be able to chronicle soon a permanent organization of congregations in all places where Jews are settled. In fact, from all we learn, the best spirit prevails, from which we expect the best results. We also learn from another source that the Israelites are about erecting a large hospital for themselves; the building is to be fire-proof, to have a dispensary, nurses, and two physicians; the poor are to be admitted gratis, and others at the rates chargeable at similar institutions. Mr. Marks has <<578>>given the ground for the purpose; it is valued at $6000. Mr. Hart gives $1000; Mr. Davidson, and many others, $500 each. This is cheering, and betokens still greater progress.

Jamaica. The late visitation of the cholera, has called into action the benevolent feelings of our people, and efforts are made to erect an institution wherein children of a certain age can receive maintenance, clothing, serviceable education, religious instruction, and be trained to industry, without running the risk of jeopardizing their faith. The circular before us is signed by the Rev. Isaac Lopez, Rev. Solomon Jacobs, Edward Lucas, Aaron De Cardova, Emanuel Lyons, D. Hart, David Lopez, Phs. Bravo, and S. Magnus, and is thus composed of the leading men of both the congregations of Kingston. We hope to be able to report good progress hereafter.—At Falmouth they discuss the propriety of forming a congregation; but we regret that there is much difference of opinion about the proper steps to be taken. Let us exhort the people to union; and let no division of sentiment about the custom, whether German or Portuguese, prevent the consummation of the good work.

New Publication. We have received a new work styled the Polyglott Pocket-Book, compiled by I. Strause, who lately was minister of the New Haven congregation. It is a phrase book of the English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese languages, and has obtained the approbation of many eminent teachers in various parts of the country. We likewise recommend it heartily to our readers, and trust that they will, as far as they can, encourage our able fellow-Israelite in the laborious work which he offers to their kind attention. It is published by William Radde, of New York; but many will doubtless have an opportunity of seeing Mr. Strause himself, as he purposes visiting the South and West during this winter.