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To the Public


It is now about a year ago since I issued a prospectus inviting the attention of Israelites to various works therein proposed. One of them, the “Weekly Advocate,” I have for the present abandoned, though it is not unlikely that it may appear hereafter, if the circumstances become more favourable for its success. The case is, however, different with the proposed translation of the Scriptures, and the new edition of the Portuguese Form of Prayer, which have received so much encouragement already, that it seems to me that only a little more effort is required to insure their speedy appearance. I had indulged the hope that ministers and presidents of congregations and others engaged in public business would have lent me their aid in canvassing their immediate neighbourhoods, to save me the trouble of a personal application. To some extent this expectation has been realized, especially in Philadelphia, Charleston, Curaçoa, and St. Thomas; but in other places, thus far, the prospectus has obtained but little attention, and I find myself induced, therefore, to take a tour through a considerable portion of the country, in order to see whether a personal canvass will not insure the success of these various enterprises.

All conversant with the English Bible, as compared with the original, must have frequently discovered some discrepancies between the Hebrew and its version; and that, wherever it was possible for the translators to introduce Christianity in the Scriptures, they have uniformly done so. Therefore, without disputing the general correctness and fidelity of the common version, it nevertheless requires a thorough revision to make it a standard for Israelites. I offer my services in this department: and I leave those who are acquainted with my former works to decide on my fitness for the task; and I trust that, if their opinion is in my favour, they will promptly send in their names to augment the subscription list, which, if it will cover the costs, will insure the prompt appearance of the work within a reasonable time for its careful execution.

The first edition of the Prayers consisted of but 500 copies, and became gradually exhausted in fourteen years. It is now my intention to print them again in a more portable form, at about two-thirds of the former cost, or twelve or fifteen, instead of eighteen dollars. But, to enable me to do so, I require a considerable number of subscribers; at the same time I am convinced that, if all who need the work will merely signify their wish to be supplied, enough would be obtained to defray the necessary outlay. It depends entirely on the public whether they will be supplied by the approach of next Rosh Hashanah, if I am spared; and it is to be hoped that they will secure a publication for which I have now leisure, especially as there is no prospect that it ever can be done cheaper and better. As to correctness, I pledge my word that the text and translation shall be far in advance of any which have hitherto appeared. I know what I promise, and the public is assured that it is not an idle boast.

Those who have already subscribed, I trust will pardon the unavoidable delay in the publications which they have so kindly encouraged: but they may believe me, that the disappointment hitherto has not been greater to them than to me.

As respects the Occident, which has latterly received an increase quite gratifying to its list. I hope it will also obtain such a support that its permanence will not be a matter of doubt. It is a source of thankfulness that it has been sustained for near nine years on its original plan and tendency; and without boasting of its being an organ for our people, as it is merely a private enterprise, and has no patronage from any corporation or individuals [The same is true of the digital version offered here—Webmaster], it has been more consistent, more strictly religious, than any other publication which has appeared either in Europe or this country. it is the interest of the American Israelites to sustain such a work, and I can scarcely doubt that they will do it efficiently and permanently. I. L.

October 28th, 5612