|Vol. III, No. 3
Sivan 5605, June 1845
St. Thomas.—About the middle of March last, as we learn from one of our correspondents, under date of April 2, the Rev. Moses N. Nathan, minister elect on the part of the congregation, arrived at St. Thomas, to assume the sacred functions to which he had been called by the popular vote, although up to our last accounts he had not been confirmed by the governor-general of the Danish islands. Mr. Nathan preached two sermons, and was to give a third, on the text of Jonah 1:9: “I am an Hebrew and fear the Lord,” &c. The Synagogue was filled on both occasions, and all were desirous to hear the next sermon.—From another source, under date of April 10, we are informed: “He has caused a species of regeneration; the Synagogue for the last three weeks has been crowded to excess, insomuch that a subscription is now going on to enlarge the Synagogue; about fifteen hundred dollars are already collected.” This result is highly gratifying, and it clearly proves that there is a better spirit reviving among our people, and that before long every congregation will strive to have an eloquent man settled among them, to instruct them in the way of the Lord. In the mean time, we trust that Mr. Nathan’s confirmation from the Danish government may be soon obtained, if it has not arrived before this; for, independently of the personal regard we have for Mr. N., he is far better calculated to serve an American congregation than any European gentleman who may just arrive, especially if he be not thoroughly acquainted with the Portuguese Minhag, the congregation of St. Thomas conforming thereto. It must not be forgotten that our communities are not rich enough to support both a minister and a preacher; and hence for some time to come the incumbent must be qualified to officiate in both capacities, which could not be the case in St. Thomas, should the preacher not be able to read the service.—We are also informed that Mr. N. immediately sat about reorganizing the choir which existed there under the last minister; and we trust that he will succeed in producing that harmony in the worship which is “the beauty of holiness.”
Montego Bay, Jamaica.—The Synagogue in this place was lately consecrated by the Rev. B. C. Carillon, of Spanish Town. The congregation in this place is still without a minister.
Falmouth, Ja.—The Israelites of this place are discussing the propriety of forming themselves into a congregation; and we hope to be able to announce their having done so before long. This will be the second congregation organized in Jamaica within a year.
Mr. P. S. Jacobs, late of Charleston, S. C., has been elected Assistant Hazan of the Spanish Town congregation, from last March.
The Rev. Solomon Jacobs, the newly elected minister of the English and German Synagogue at Kingston, has thus far, as we learn, given entire satisfaction, both as reader and lecturer.—The school connected with that Synagogue has been confided to the Hazan, conjointly with Mr. Henry S. Jacobs, a young gentleman, a native of the island. As this is the latter’s first essay in public life, we hope to hear soon a good account of his proceedings. We are also informed that, though the school belongs to the German congregation, it is also open to the poor of the Portuguese community. We trust that this kindly spirit may always exist, to the advantage of all the Israelites of that place; and that the same example may speedily be followed by Israelites wherever settled.—A charity sermon, preached by the Rev. Mr. Jacobs, in aid of the directors of the above school, to enable them to clothe the children under their guardianship, produced the handsome sum of two hundred and fifty dollars.
Political State of the Jews.—The civil and political disabilities under which this persecuted people have hitherto existed, appear to have at length excited the attention of the continental nations of Europe. The following paragraphs, from English papers, evince a strong desire to meliorate their condition, and are in accordance with the spirit and temper of the age.
A letter from Dresden, of October 14, says: “In the second sitting of the Congress of Orientalists, now held in this city, which reckons three Rabbins among its members, Professor Weber, of Bremen, passed some jocose remarks against the Jews. Immediately all the Christian members of the society, forty-two in number, rose and interrupted him, and Mr. Tiersch observed to Mr. Weber how improper it was to offend persons on account of their religious belief, particularly in a society altogether scientific. Mr. Weber wished to explain, but the president refused to allow him to speak, as the matter, he said, was terminated by Mr. Tiersch’s very proper remarks. The other Christian members loudly applauded this decision, and Mr. Weber left the sitting. A few minutes after, Mr. Weber sent a letter to the president, declaring that he had not intended to offer any offence to the Jews in what he had said. He has since left Dresden.”
A letter from Hamburg, of November 22, says: “The Senate and College of the Ancients have just declared in favour of emancipating the Jews. What principally decided our two highest bodies, in the state to consent to this act of justice, is the immense sacrifices which the Jews of Hamburg have made to succour the numerous victims of the fire of 1842, and the spirit of patriotism and charity with which that body has been animated for a long series of years. The emancipation of the Jews will be, it is said, complete, except that they cannot form part of the Senate, which indeed would be impossible, for all the solemn and public acts of the Senate are intimately combined with religious ceremonies, in which no one could take part without belonging to the predominant religion, namely, the Confession of Augsburg; so that even Christians of other confessions are in fact excluded from our Senate.”
[We believe that this announcement is somewhat premature; for The Voice of Jacob, of March 28, positively says, that the Council of Ancients has rejected the proposition to admit the Jews to equal rights.]
A letter from Brunswick, November 29, says: “Our reigning Duke, who has more than once declared in favour of the emancipation of the Jews, and has shown them so many marks of favour, has just presented to the states a bill, having for its objects, 1. To abolish the present law, ordering all Jews to take the oath in courts of justice more judaico only; and, 2. To permit them to swear in the same way as Christians, by raising the right hand and invoking Almighty God.”
A letter from Berlin, December 3, says: “It is confidently stated that the government is preparing a bill to grant the Jews some of the civil rights which they are at present deprived of. Persons generally well informed even assert that it is intended to confer on them all civil rights, without exception, so that they should be excluded only from the exercise of political rights, which among us consist in being able to elect deputies to the states, and to be elected to such functions.”
The two chambers of the Hungarian Diet, in their last session, passed a law for granting to the Jews the greater part of the rights enjoyed by the people who are not noble; but it did not receive the royal assent. These chambers have now voted another bill, the objects of which are, first, to confer on the Jews the right of living in all the towns of the kingdom indiscriminately, and there carry on their trades and professions, even some of the learned professions; secondly, to abolish the special capitation tax imposed upon them. The Jews have sent a deputation to the Emperor of Austria, as King of Hungary, to supplicate his Majesty to grant his sanction to the measure. It is composed of the Grand Rabbi and six distinguished merchants of Presburg, and has been received by the Minister of the Interior, Count Kollowrath, who has promised to solicit the Emperor to grant it a private audience.
N. Y Com. Adv.
Jews of Morocco.—The Emperor of Morocco has replied most graciously, through his Grand Vizier, to a memorial which Sir Moses Montefiore, on behalf of the Mogador Relief Committee, addressed to him some few weeks since. We understand that this memorial was a most elegant piece of caligraphy, sumptuously ornamented, and that its prayer was for a concession of the same immunities to the Barbary Jews, as the Hatti Sherif of the Porte enacted for their brethren in the Turkish dominions. The Emperor’s reply assures Sir Moses Montefiore, that the Jews in his dominions already enjoy equal rights, privileges, and protection; in short, in every respect the same advantages as the Mahomedan population. He also expresses the most lively grief at the calamities which have befallen Mogador. The gracious terms of this reply, and the known humanity of the Emperor, induce the hope that he needs only the power to enforce his behests throughout his dominions, in order to put an end to those anomalies of which his Jewish subjects complain, and to render his rule as paternal as he designs it to be.—Voice of Jacob.
Mobile.—We learn from our correspondent, that, during the past winter they had regular service, Friday evening and Sabbath morning, and no doubt is entertained of the same being continued during the summer. The following persons have been elected to serve for one year, at the last congregational election:—Israel I. Jones, President; David Solomon, Vice President; L. H. Goldsmith, Treasurer; and D. Unger, H. Hiller, and I. L. Lewis, Trustees.—We have also to record, as an evidence of the existence of liberality of feeling, no less than equality in the eyes of the law, in the State of Alabama, that the Governor lately appointed David Solomon, Esq., his aid-de-camp, with the rank of colonel.
When the last steam packet (of May 18th) left England, the Jewish Civil Disabilities Bill had not been reached in the British House of Commons, though no doubt was entertained of its passing that body, especially as it had received the sanction of the House of Lords, where before all measures for equalizing the Jew and Christian have been looked upon with distrust, and almost uniformly rejected.
Jerusalem—We have been shown a private letter from Mr. Warder Cresson, U. S. Consul at the Holy City, dated in the beginning of March, in which Mr. C. gives a very melancholy picture of the destitution of the Israelites in the seat of their ancient glory, and avers that the conversions which have been reported as having taken place under the patronage of the Protestant Episcopal Mission, were owing to the wants of the converts, not to their conviction. This is a curious testimony from an ardent Christian. But can nothing be done to relieve so much suffering? Mr. Cresson suggests a system of collections; but this has been often tried, and has always signally failed. The influential Jews of Europe ought, if possible, to give them habits of industry and means to develop them; this would be charity indeed. But is it practicable? We merely throw out the hint, and hope it may lead to something more than the mere expression of sympathy.
During the last two years we inserted two prospectuses for Hebrew schools; but as yet neither has gone into operation. We are nevertheless not discouraged from making another attempt to bring the subject again before the public. There is a friend of ours, a native of one of the southern cities, an elegant scholar, one who handles a ready pen, who is anxious to devote himself to the duty of instruction, and only waits the due encouragement being extended to him, to move hither with his wife and family, to commence the school which is so much needed. One thing we can assure our friends, that their children will receive instruction the most thorough and patient, and they shall never regret having confided them to our friend. As he does not trust himself with teaching the Hebrew and religion, we are willing either to teach these branches ourself or to devolve this duty upon those fully qualified for the task. We trust that the experience we have in teaching will be a guarantee that so far as we are concerned nothing shall be wanting to answer the expectations of parents and friends. But farther than the assistance to be rendered by us, if required, we shall have no interest in the enterprise.
We will merely add that the school will be commenced as soon as forty scholars are obtained. The terms we cannot state, not having yet received any definite statement from our friend, who expects doubtlessly some pupils from his own city and the others from New York and this place. We earnestly request all who desire to see a Jewish school of a higher order established among us, to forward their names to the Editor of the Occident, by post-paid letters. Should sufficient encouragement be extended to warrant a commencement being made, all subscribers shall be at once notified.