|Vol. III, No. 9
Kislev 5606, December 1845
New York Hebrew Benevolent Society
The twenty-fourth anniversary of the Hebrew Benevolent Society was celebrated by a public dinner at the Apollo Saloon, on Thursday, the fifth of November; the company was unusually numerous, and preparations had been made upon an extensive scale. The Grand Saloon was brilliantly illuminated, and three long tables, and one at the head of the room, were spread with every thing that the season afforded, together with a rich display of all kinds of fruit and choice wines. At seven o'clock, the President, Judge Noah, left the reception rooms in company with his honour the Recorder, and other distinguished guests, with the following Vice-Presidents and Officers: Israel D. Walter, Ed. Manson, David Samson, Philip Pike, Isaac Bernstein, Ed. J. King, Sam'l Philips, Hart J. Moyes, H. M. Ritterband, L. Garrits, Benjamin Lewin, George Godfrey, Sylvester Brush, Isaac Raunheim, Isaac Dittenhoeffer, J. M. Mier, Philip Levy, Marcus King, Bennet King, Treasurer, John Levy, Secretary, Henry Goldsmith, Assistant Treasurer, Geo. Manson, Assistant Secretary, Joel Nelson; the company filing off to the right and left passed into the dining-room; while Dodsworth's celebrated Band played the grand march from Moses in Egypt. The company being seated, grace before meat was said in an impressive manner by the Rev. Mr. Lyons. On the conclusion of the dinner and dessert, the President announced that it was customary to sell the honour and the privilege of saying the blessing to the highest bidder, for the benefit of the poor, which was purchased for thirty-five dollars, by Abraham J. Jackson, Esq., and by him given to Lyon Levy, Esq., who said the grace after the manner of the German and Polish Jews, with impressive effect.—The table being cleared, the President commenced reading the regular toasts, which were repeated by Simeon Dreyfous, Esq., Vice-President, and received with great cheering and applause, as follows, each toast with appropriate music from the Band.
On the 5th toast being drank, the President rose and spoke as follows:—
"It gives me pleasure to state to the members or this charity, and to the gentlemen assembled, that the receipts of the last year amounted to 3500 dollars, and the expenditures to nearly the same amount; that in addition to the weekly allowances to families, which commences in the winter, and terminates in the spring, aid has been afforded to poor emigrants, which has enabled them to commence some small business, and has afforded them a living, in this, the country of their adoption. The society has also a permanent fund of 3000 dollars, and a few lots of ground, and I hope in a few years, that the increase of this fund, will enable us to erect an asylum for the aged and poor among our brethren. There is every thing, therefore, to encourage us, in the good work we have so auspiciously commenced. We have lost a few members, in the establishment of other praiseworthy institutions; but the loss has been more than made up, by the accession of new members. To me, gentlemen, it is a source of the highest gratification and pleasure, to see you assembled around the festive board on this interesting occasion. It is near twenty four years, since a few members obtained from the Legislature of the state, the charter under which this society is governed;—the little plant, watered and nurtured by your fostering hand, has grown into a goodly tree which in time will spread its protecting branches over the aged and indigent; and that time I may say has already arrived; for from a population of some 5 or 600 Jews, when the chatter was first established, we have now increased to over ten thousand, and from a single Synagogue, nine places of worship, l am told, have arisen. A hardy, enterprising race of men, driven by despotic laws from foreign governments, here find a home, freedom, comfort, and wealth; supporting their own poor, and respecting the laws of that land which afforded them protection, and adhering faithfully to their religious rites and ordinances. To the world at large, we are ever objects of peculiar interest, as the descendants of the Israelites who came out of the land of Egypt—the people to whom were intrusted the oracles of God, and are the living witnesses of their truth. Born in the infancy of the world, preserved amidst the rise and decay of ancient and modern nations, we may be destined, as the chosen people, if we are true to ourselves, to be the last, as we have been the first of nations. The secret is in our nationality, in our adherence to our laws, in our international marriages, in our charity and unity, and bearing in mind the solemn admonitions in our law, that the poor shall never depart out of the land. I could, gentlemen, long dwell on these interesting subjects, but our worthy friend and co-religionaire, Mr. Jonas B. Phillips, desires the honour and the pleasure of addressing you on this occasion, and to him I assign the pleasing task, of dwelling on the duties, and the high prerogatives of charity, and all the blessings it brings in its train.
Mr. Phillips arose amidst the cheers of the company, and spoke as follows:—
Mr. President and Gentlemen:—The return of this anniversary is a subject for congratulation among all who delight in contemplating the benefits resulting from associations instituted for purposes of benevolence. Twenty-four years have elapsed since the organization of this society, and each return of this anniversary, has practically illustrated the excellence of the charity. The report which has just been read, has informed you of the present condition of the society, and its resources. Much has been accomplished; yet there is much remaining to stimulate us to further efforts to mitigate the sufferings of those whose lots are cast in adversity and affliction. It has been usual to appeal to those who attend this annual festival, in behalf of an association which commends itself to the best sympathies of our natures; and I respond to the call with which I have been honoured, although convinced that there is but little need to attempt to awaken the active spirit of benevolence, which glows in every heart, and beams from every eye.
Man is a dependent being, such has he ever been since his "first disobedience," and so must he continue, until the end of time. Thrown upon the world by the divine command, to "earn his bread by the sweat of his brow," he relies upon the assistance of others to enable him to stem the troubled tide of existence, and his success is proportioned to the aid and encouragement he receives in the prosecution of his daily avocations. As society advanced his wants became more numerous, and hence that the burden of relieving those wants, might not fall too heavily upon individuals, associations were formed alike for the encouragement of industry, and the benevolent purposes for which this Society was instituted. There is a pride inherent in the Israelite, which shrinks from soliciting at the hands of strangers the aid he may claim of his brethren. Hence, instead of resorting to the public charities, our own societies take care of our own poor. The public Alms Houses contain no Israelites; and what is far more gratifying, it is rarely indeed that the walls of a prison enclose a Jew for offending against the laws of the land,—not that we are exempt from the frailties or the vices of human nature, but because obedience to the laws and a reverence for virtue are early inculcated, and seldom forgotten.
He that is truly charitable confines his zeal within no narrow bounds; to the unhappy of every nation, and of every faith, he affords relief; and he finds his reward in the consciousness, that his kindness has consoled the sorrows of the widow; that his benevolence has gladdened the heart of the orphan; that his hand has smoothed the pillow of sickness, and that beneath the sunshine of his charity, the drooping flower of life has been again restored to healthful bloom.
In a country like this, where we almost realize the sacred land of promise, it is peculiarly our duty to assist those whom we are bound by the holiest of ties to cherish and protect. Day after clay, we behold philanthropy "with healing on its wing," seeking the abode of the wretched, and removing their hapless tenants from their homes of misery to a more congenial atmosphere. And strange indeed would it be, if, when hourly some bright example of humanity is before us, we should neglect those, whose claims upon us are of a character so strong, because so just.
We are told that "the poor shall never cease from out of the land;" let it then be our grateful duty to take care that they shall never become a burden it to the land. There are now eleven thousand Israelites in this city, and hundreds are daily flocking to these shores, seeking beneath the glorious banner of this happy country, a refuge from the persecutions and oppression which have driven them from their father-lands. Nor do they remain idly here, but emigrating to the "far and fertile west," by their indomitable energy and perseverance, soon acquire competency, and in many instances fortunes.
Many of these adventurers have been aided by this Society, and from the little seed thus planted, have gathered golden harvests, which have enabled them to repay, (unsolicited,) the amounts which have been advanced, and in turn become contributors to, and members of the institution, which blessed and prospered them in the land of the stranger. All that are wealthy, all that are prosperous, hold these blessings in trust for the benefit of their fellow-beings,—and he is ungrateful to his God, who has so blessed him, that withholds his mite, when charity with her "heaven-born smile" asks him "to remember the poor," so that the Lord shall bless him in his hour of trouble.
I avail myself of this hour, when the most generous sympathies implanted by the God of nature in our hearts are awakened, to appeal to you to exercise one of God's own attributes. It is not alone to the wealthy, I address myself; let "every man give us he is able;" for while benevolence exalts the wealthy,
plucks the meanness from the poor man's lot,
The experience of the past, convinces me that you will cheerfully and liberally respond to this appeal, so that the prayers of the widow and the orphan shall prosper you in life, and plead for you
The offerings then commenced, which were briskly and rapidly made; the gallery was crowded with ladies of different religious denominations, to whom refreshments were carried by the pages in waiting. The President arose and said—"I think, gentlemen, among the names of the donors I heard that of the Rev. Mr. Labagh, an Episcopal clergyman, whom I have great pleasure in recognising as a warm and enthusiastic friend of Israel, and with your kind permission, I beg leave to propose his health. The health of the reverend gentleman being most cordially drunk, he replied as follows:—
Mr. President:—Accept my thanks for the kind manner in which you have noticed my presence among you this evening, and especially for the honour of a seat at your festive board. Believe me, when I assure you, that I do esteem it a great honour to unite with so many of the children of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, in the promotion of such an heavenly object as this Society has in view, and, Sir, never have I realized with more pleasure and sweetness, than while sitting at this board, that promise so dear to many a Christian heart—"Many shall come from the east and from the west, and from the north and from the south, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, in the kingdom of God."
Mr. President,—The gentleman who just addressed you, alluded in his remarks, to the many bitter persecutions that your people have endured in past centuries. Sir, I do here, in the name of Christianity, express my deep repentance for all the cruelties and wrongs that have been inflicted upon the chosen people of God, by Christian hands; and, Sir, could I with tears of penitence wash away the guilt that has been contracted by these cruelties, I would pray, in the language of one of your prophets, "Oh, that my head were waters and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the sins of my people."
Sir, I hope I have not read history without profit. One important lesson that I have learned from history is this: that persecution of the Jews has always been an unprofitable business for the gentiles. When I read in that book, which is peculiarly a Jewish book—though, through the mercy of God, open to the perusal of all mankind—that the Most High reproved kings for their sake saying, "Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm," and again, "He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of mine eye," I feel that it is better for all men to keep their hands off them; and when I learn what has been the fate of all their oppressors, I feel the more deeply convinced of this truth: Sir, follow their history down from the earliest to the present time, and see if it is not so. When they were yet but few in number, and went down into Egypt about seventy souls, whilst Pharaoh nourished them, and protected them, and dealt kindly with them, he was prospered beyond measure—his land was made the granary of the earth—God gave him one of the wisest counsellors that any king ever had—his servant Joseph—through whom he had the honour of sustaining the human family alive throughout seven years of famine in all lands. But when another king arose, which knew not Joseph, and began to oppress the children of Israel—ordering their male children to be thrown into the Nile, and commanding them to make brick without straw, God turned against him, laid his land desolate, and finally overthrew his hosts in the Red Sea. What a striking commentary on the promise to Abraham—"Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee." And so will we find it to be if we follow the stream of their history down. No sooner had they crossed the Red Sea than Amalek came out and fought against them. This is wicked king was determined to interrupt the journey of God's redeemed people to the Holy Land; and for this malicious attempt, it was not sufficient that Joshua should go out and discomfit him;—the Lord would not let the matter drop there; He swore that He would "blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven." About the same time, Jethro, the father in law of Moses, having heard of all first God had done for Israel, came out in the wilderness to meet him, and rejoiced with him for all the goodness that God had showed them, and offered sacrifices for God, and said, "Now I know that the Lord is greater than all Gods," and gave Moses important counsel and advice, which was of great service to him and to the people.
And now pass over a period of 500 years, and see whereunto these things grew. When Saul had become the first king of Israel, the Lord sent this message to him—"I remember what Amalek did to Israel when he came out of Egypt; now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that he hath; spare nothing" Saul went, and came to a city of Amalek, in a valley, and found there the Kenites, who were the descendants of Jethro, settled there; and he said unto them, "Go, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest ye be destroyed with them, for ye showed kindness to the children of Israel when they came up out of Egypt." A kindness shown to them full four hundred years before, was remembered for their good, whilst an injury inflicted at the same time brought ruin upon their foes. Is it not true, then, that it is safe to be their friend, but dangerous to be their enemy? And so throughout their whole history. The Babylonians led them into captivity; the Persians liberated and restored them. The Greeks had constant wars with them during the reign of the Maccabees; and the Romans finally destroyed their city and temple, and scattered them over the face of the earth. Now look what follows. Babylon became a den of dragons, and the nation wholly lost. Greece became divided, distracted, broken up and subdued. Rome, overrun with northern barbarians, lost its imperial sovereignty, and was divided among the conquering tribes. Persia alone remains. Through many revolutions and changes of dynasty, it is Persia still. Is there any thing in all this that may be attributed to the working of the principle, "Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee?" Do we come down to modern times. Charles I. expelled the Jews from England, and soon after lost his head and throne. Cromwell recalled them. Spain, about four hundred years ago, was one of the mightiest kingdoms of Europe, and had all the elements of increasing prosperity and power. In an evil moment she passed a decree of banishment against the "Children of the Covenant;" and what has been the consequence? A downward course, until she has come to be designated by the title of "poor unhappy Spain."
Mr. President, I rejoice that my forefathers assisted in laying the foundation of a government under which the sword of persecution was never to be drawn out against the Jew; where he is to enjoy, of right, all the privileges of the most favoured classes. And I say to my brethren, wherever I go, Be kind to the children of Israel. All civilized nations are their debtors. It has been a question whether it is wise and safe to receive into full citizenship such great number, of the population of Europe as annually come to our shores. Now, sir, without entering into this question generally, allow me to say, for myself, that I welcome to these shores as many of the children of Abraham as may incline to cast in their lot with us; for I am sure to find in every one of them a true lover of liberty and good order. I only wish that I could bring Jerusalem along with them, and then, with the Holy City in it, this would indeed be the GLORY OF ALL LANDS. But as it is the will of God that that shall remain in Asia, I am content. Now, sir, how laudable is the object of this Society, to assist the poor that come here in pursuit of an honest livelihood, and with a little assistance to supply their most pressing wants, and to enable them to provide for themselves, and in the course of time to become benefactors to others. I, sir, have been for some time past, carrying out the principle of this society, without hardly knowing that I was doing so. It was but a few weeks since, that two young men, brothers, came to my house and asked for a night's lodging; upon inquiry, I found that they had but just landed, three or four days before, and had already commenced, with a very small bundle, to trade. I cheerfully granted their request. When I went within doors, my wife asked me, Who are those strangers that wish to stay here? I told her, two young Germans, who had just come over. She said, is it safe to entertain such strangers? You do not know who they are; we read in the papers of so much robbery and violence from foreigners, that you do not know what injury they may do you. Oh, said I, my dear, I said shalom alachem to them, and their countenances immediately brightened, and they answered, shalom. Well, she replied, we have never known Jews to be men of violence, or do injury in such ways; and she immediately attended to their wants. 1 have seen and entertained these young men since, and I am happy to say, their little bundle has grown to quite a large pack, and they are doing well. But I must not trespass too long upon your time, and thus leave no room for the remarks of others, who may address you with more profit. Allow me to offer in conclusion, the following sentiment:—
Kindness to the poor—a precept enjoined by Moses, and confirmed by Christ, (both of the seed of Abraham,) and therefore common to both religions. May Jews and gentiles walk together in this GOOD OLD WAY, so pleasing to the Father of us all, and so beneficial to his indigent children.
Loud and enthusiastic cheering followed the liberal observations of the reverend gentleman, who spoke with a zeal and fervour which evinced his sincerity. On the ninth toast being drank, in favour of education, Mr. George Lyon addressed the company as follows:—
Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen:—I am particularly flattered in being permitted to take part in the proceedings of this evening, inasmuch as it enables me to give expression to the interest I feel in any and every institution which, by its ameliorating the worldly condition of our poorer brethren, justifies the heavenly principle of our revered religion. As I labour under the disadvantage of being personally unknown to the majority of this meeting, I deem it necessary to say that I do not come before you without some slight experience in charitable Societies, and I feel justified in asserting that that experience fully warrants the position I assume at this moment.
It is hardly necessary for me to dilate on the merits of your Society. Founded by men well known to fame for much piety and great practical benevolence, several of whom are happily spared among you—managed for twenty-four years by a Directory culled from the most active of our people—men who have laboured not only zealously but wisely—who, looking on the grievous privations of their fellows, have devoted their time, services, and money, to alleviate the incurable distress and misery to which they were pained witnesses, when acting as visiting committees, they penetrated into those deserted quarters where
anguish pours her moans,
The labours of these gentlemen have caused the benefits of this charity to be widely known, and too universally acknowledged, to need eulogium at my hands, and it would be more particularly out of place, after the talented and able address just made to you by Mr. Jonas B. Phillips. Therefore I shall content myself by soliciting that you will bring to your recollections the poverty of its treasury, and the startling fact that, after an existence of nearly a quarter of a century, the directors have never been enabled to accomplish the most important object, for which the Society was projected. Gentlemen, it has been well observed, that charity furnishes a link to bind together the two great sections into which society is divided—"the possessors of the luxuries, and the seekers after the necessaries of life"—and that its divine character, like that of mercy—blessing him that gives as well as him that takes—is never more manifest than when ministering to the wants of suffering, humanity; and it ever must be foremost in our recollections, how strongly, how deeply, how repeatedly, our great lawgiver of blessed memory, whose inspiration is unquestionable and beyond a doubt, enjoins the unlimited practice of benevolence. The Pentateuch teems with passages showing the imperishable existence of poverty, and its indefeasible right to relief; and the passage just quoted by Mr. Phillips is extremely applicable, and runs thus: כי לא יחדל אביון מקרב הארץ—"For the poor shall never cease from the face of the earth;" therefore, it is wisely ordained, that you shall open wide your hands to the poor and needy, both your brother and the stranger. I do not presume to quote the many and varied forms in which this injunction is repeated, but I venture to call to your recollections that, in the New Year's Service in which we have just participated, after reciting the infinite power of the Deity to allot and prescribe our destiny for the coming season, we humbly say—ותשובה ותפילה וצדקה—Penitence, Prayer, and Charity, can avert the evil decree. Now, gentlemen, let me entreat you to mark the moral of this passage. See how beautifully the sage who compiled the prayer, leads us to assert that the exercise of Charity will be most efficient in propitiating our Creator. Gentlemen, I fear you will deem these remarks unbecoming me, seeing that I am not a minister of religion; but I am proud of being a Hebrew, and, as such, hold it as a bounden duty, in every place and on all occasions—by being an humble advocate of Charity—to manifest my grateful remembrance of the mercies conferred by the Omnipotent on my ancestors, at the Exodus. I have said. I am proud of being "a Hebrew of the Hebrews" No man who has been justly reared in the faith, and made himself acquainted with the history of the past, can say otherwise; nor when 1 look around, can I forget that it is by the ordination of Providence,
That our ancestors, suffering oppression, tyranny and abuse for near two thousand years—sojourning on the Shores of the Tiber, the Danube, or the Thames—still living in what place soever they did—
under evil, and work ease out of pain,
Gentlemen, it is matter of history, that the tendency of the Jewish mind is evidently not mechanical; for we find that however much they may have been depressed by poverty, and driven into obscurity, they do not adopt mechanical trades; but strike out some course more in accordance with their disposition for traffic and barter, and permitting the free exercise of the bias of their minds, and which, in many cases, has led to the production of the highest order of intellectual vigour. Their capabilities for carrying on extensive mercantile operations, the world has long since acknowledged; for the Hebrew
o'er many marts,
Even at this moment, as pioneers of commerce, they are pushing an enormous trade to the confines of the great far west, and, by eliciting its resources, gathering wealth to enrich their adopted country. The great British novelist, Benjamin D'Israeli, the younger, himself the son of an offshoot from Judah, in his semi-political novel of Coningsby, has most eloquently painted the bright and dazzling career of many Jewish minds. Indocile, indeed, must be the mind of a man who can contemplate our national career and not be affected thereby. Gentlemen, in aristocratic Europe, the proud peer of England, standing on his broad acres, obtained by pandering to a tyrant, or by fraud and oppression of the people, looks back with secret and glowing satisfaction, upon the generations which have passed since his property was first acquired, and plumes himself upon the antiquity, the modern antiquity, I will say, of his house; while the poor Jew, even he, who has come a wanderer from far distant climes, to seek a home on these hospitable shores, with no other patrimony than a legitimacy pure, unbroken and undefiled—regarding the sacred ordination by which, in ages so far distant as to absorb more than half the history of the world, his career, as part of the great race of Levites or Cohenites, was marked out, and he says with humility, in opposition to the peer's proud vaunt that his father fought on the fields of Hastings, Cressy, or Agincourt, that his, the Hebrew's ancestor, worshipped on the banks of the Jordan three thousand years ago.
Gentlemen, there is something in the genius of our people, in the spirit of the institutions of this happy land, which gives bright hopes for the future; and it has been truly said, that the past and the future are counterparts of each other; for without the former we can have no conception of the latter. With us, the past brings bitter recollections of brilliant positions blasted, of long continued regal magnificence thrown away, without a vestige or a shadow remaining. איך נפלו גבורים—"How are the mighty fallen," said the Psalmist of yore, when mourning over Israel's aelf immolated king. How much more appropriate would the hymn be at this day, not as an elegy over a king, or a line of kings, but as a requiem over the ruins of a nation's greatness. But, gentlemen, placed as we are in this blessed land of religious and political freedom—sheltered in this ark of refuge for the persecuted of all nations, the Synagogue rears itself beside the Church, and reaping instruction from the past, the Jew merges into the American citizen, and as such, obtains immunity for the profession of his belief, and the exercise of its ceremonials, while he enjoys every hope and every right of political advancement.
On no spot on this habitable globe, does the same amount of religious liberty exist as here; although toleration is rife and spreading through the Old World, toleration is not freedom, and persecution for belief has not yet entirely ceased. The same causes are now in operation to people the Great West as led to the colonization of New England; for the magnates of the north of Europe, by their tyranny, are driving their people here by shoals. How oft does it occur that a man and woman arrive here to obtain the facility and power of being united—a right denied to them at home—and many, very many in this city can tell of the rigours they suffered previous to renouncing their native shores for the
of the hickory and pine,
Gentlemen, you who are native here can have no conception of these debasing hardships; but, nevertheless, they exist. The freedom of your institutions is favourable to the propagation of truth, and permits Jew and Christian to go hand in hand in founding and supporting societies for the mitigation of the evils of this life. It is no idle boast to assert that in no other country does the same amount of religious liberty exist as here. England, even tolerant England, with her innumerable charities, and her missionaries spreading over the globe, metes out emancipation with a sparing hand—denying the right to legislate to the men whom she permits to hold the scales of justice amongst her population. France, noble France, guarantees liberty of conscience under the charter of 1830, and restricts it by her administration of 1845. It was reserved for America—for that republic whose banner is freedom, and whose people are
and to none accountable, preferring
to prove to the world the truth of the axiom, that the conduct of men in society is a proper subject for statute law, but their religious opinions are manifestly out of the reach, as they are out of the province, of legislative enactment. Gentlemen, this principle has become so strongly engrafted in the minds of Americans, that nothing will ever dislodge it; its benefits are felt now, and will continue to bless future generations for many distant ages; it permits the mingling of your children at the public schools; it allows the discussion of doctrinal points, without the violation of private friendship. I saw this finely illustrated a short time since, when standing beneath a fane, hallowed to another faith. I heard a talented co-religionist attempt to rebut the calumnies of two thousand years' growth. The cause was worthy of the labour—of the difficulties encountered—the essay creditable to his talents, demonstrative of his erudition, and evinced much religious zeal. But how shall I truly speak of his audience, nine-tenths of whom were of another creed. Their breathless silence, their rivetted attention, during the whole of a lengthened lecture, manifested their enlightenment, their liberality, and unbounded freedom from sectarian prejudices. The impression then made on my mind will never be effaced, and it emboldens me to-night to solicit their assistance towards this charity, and to request that their bounty may be extended freely and not sparingly, in order that the managers, when putting up their edifice, may inscribe in imperishable characters upon every stone, from base to turret, "Founded by Jewish piety, and erected by the aid of Christian benevolence."
To you, gentlemen, who worship at the same altar as myself—whose adorations are uttered in the same language, and offered at the same shrine—I say, let the memory of past wrongs be forgotten—do not disturb the present generation with the follies or the passions of the past; bear in mind the spirit-stirring invocation which we repeat in our festival prayers—שובה ישראל אל תירא יעקב הנה לא ינום ולא יישן שומר ישראל—"Return, O Israel; fear not, O Jacob; behold, thy guardian angel neither sleeps nor slumbers;" and which is most applicable at the present day, for we are on our voyage of national regeneration; our course is clear and defined: it is to organize Societies for the cultivation of the intellect. And here I cannot refrain from briefly alluding to an article lately published in the New York Commercial Advertiser, on the want of Jewish periodicals in this country. The writer, after detailing the various means now in progress in Europe for the advancement of information amongst our people, slightly glanced at the Occident, and stated his surprise that we had not in America, a newspaper devoted to the same purpose. Truly, it is a matter of regret that we are destitute of the means of disseminating intelligence of our holy fraternity, to the extent requisite; and it is still more to be regretted, that the general apathy on this subject, permits the valuable periodical which I have just alluded to, with its indisputable claims to public support, from the acknowledged talent and ability of its learned editor, to want that support and general circulation which its merits fully entitle it to. Earnestly do I hope, that the time is not far distant, when this literary destitution, and this coolness of support, will cease. Indeed, the paragraphist himself is well qualified to take the lead in this matter; however, gentlemen, to you I appeal, for it remains with you to support every attempt which may be made to elevate and organize our co-religionists: you must erect colleges; you must educate well and extensively your youth of both sexes; you must create an ecclesiastical authority—an authority before which the mind will bend without the heart being abased, and that not for carrying out any specific changes in our ritual, but for securing its greater efficiency; and no one who hears me will deny the necessity for all this, for at this moment our church is entirely without such an authority. There is no Jew on this continent entitled to the prefix of נורא מאד or justified in the performance of certain ceremonies requisite in extensive Jewish communities; and this, in some measure, accounts for the very alight influence beyond their own congregation, which our Hazanim possess. But the fault rests with yourselves. You make them readers, and you leave them so, forgetting that something more is due to the man whose prayers you employ at the birth of your offspring, and whose supplications are poured over your mortal remains at its return to its parent dust. Gentlemen, I am warned by a friend that time is fast waning; therefore, I hasten to apologise for detaining you, and, in conclusion, beg to propose the health of our most worthy chairman, with the expression of our sincere wishes for his health and happiness.
The President, in reply to the toast of Mr. Lyon, which was received and drunk with great cordiality and applause, said that he always felt himself deeply indebted to his friends and brother Israelites for untiring manifestations of kindness and confidence; he could only hope to merit its continuance by a devotion to every thing that could contribute to their temporal happiness and prosperity. It gratified him to see the unanimity and good feeling which prevailed on this occasion, and the prompt and kind manner in which every one aided this laudable charity to the extent of his means. But, gentlemen, said he, we are not yet done; there is still some "balm in Gilead;" some of our uniform and kind patrons have not forgotten us, and their bounty on this occasion is truly munificent. Wealth, said he, is only to be envied when it enables its possessor to dry the tear of affliction and soften the woes of the unfortunate; and those are to be thrice honoured who are pious without bigotry, and liberal without ostentation. The President then announced a donation from Mrs. Harmon Hendricks of fifty dollars, Miss Hannah Hendricks one hundred dollars, and the Misses Selina and Hermoine Hendricks twenty-five dollars each, which were received with great cheering, and the health of the family enthusiastically drank. The offerings amounted to nearly two thousand dollars, and the company separated at a late hour, highly gratified with the results of the anniversary they had celebrated. Great and splendid preparations are making for the Annual Ball, for the benefit of the same charity, and the utmost exertions will be made to sustain this institution, and extend the benefits and blessings it confers upon our brethren, without reference to what division, section, or Synagogue they may belong, regarding all alike as Jews and brethren, and to the extent of the means affording every one aid who are worthy objects and need it.