|Vol. VI, No. 4
Tamuz 5608, July 1848
Philadelphia.—On the 4th of June the adjourned meeting for the promotion of education was duly held, when the difficulties of which we spoke in our last, were happily overcome, and the principle of having pay as well as free scholars was adopted, on a somewhat different plan from that reported by the committee, which consisted of Isaac Leeser, as chairman, Z. A. Davis, J. M. Asch, Hyman Polock, Simon Elfelt, Julius Stern, A. S. Wolf, Louis Bomeisler, and Simon M. Klasser. In brief, the constitution and by-laws as reported, were adopted with some few amendments, and ordered to be printed for general circulation. The society has not yet been organized, but the chairman of the meeting, Mr. Z. A. Davis, was authorized, before adjournment, to call a meeting for organization and the election of officers, when he may think it suitable to do so. It is probable that it may be held before we issue our next number; and as the subject is one of interest not alone to Philadelphia, but other congregations, we shall report duly how the cause of education may prosper or otherwise, under the auspices of the new “Hebrew Education Society of Philadelphia.” We shall probably present a synopsis of the constitution after the society has gone into operation, in order to induce persons elsewhere to imitate the example, and if need be, to improve on it.
Albany.—In the congregation Beth-El, the ladies have organized an association for the promotion of education, charity, and the aiding of progress in worship, and have assumed the name of “The Ladies Progression Society.” They have elected as their officers Mrs. Freund, Mrs. Shloss, Mrs. Wise, and Mrs. Simon. Mr. Beckel was chosen secretary, In the congregation Beth Jaacob likewise, a Ladies Benevolent Society has been organized, but we have not received the particulars. On the first day of last festival of Shebuoth, the Rev. Dr. Wise held a confirmation in his Synagogue; the number of the confirmed was only eight, five girls and three boys, and the occasion is represented to have been one of deep solemnity, and many an eye was suffused with tears.—Large numbers of Jewish immigrants lately passed through Albany, on their way westward, and many are bound for Wisconsin, where, by the by, we lately learned that there are several agricultural settlements of Israelites, but their religious state is repre<<214>>sented as deplorable. But this is often the case when Jews first settle in this country; it is only after the first trials are over that they generally bethink themselves of their God and his law. Some efforts ought to be made to benefit them; but the “how?” is the question.
New York.—Consecration of the Synagogue Imanu-El.—This event, which took place on Friday the 14th of April, we expected to notice in our last number at the latest; but we never received the official report till the 27th of May, of course after all the matter for the June number was printed off. We mention this as a reason for our giving news from New York nearly three months old, when we often publish accounts from Europe less than a month after they have transpired. But it is not our fault; there is a great remissness occasionally on the part of those who ought to report proceedings, in not furnishing us with what concerns them personally in time, when the news are news, and consequently too late to be of any use to us. But we still will now give a brief synopsis, though not the whole of the report sent us. The ceremony commenced at 2 o’clock, p. m., of the eve of Sabbath Haggadole, and consisted of 1, an opening chorus, Psalm 42; 2, opening the doors by the President director of the congregation; chorus, Psalm. 24:7-10; 3, Entrance of the ministers bearing the Law; chorus, “How beautiful are thy tents, oh Jacob,” &c.; 4, Benediction שהחיינו pronounced by the minister of the congregation, the Rev. L. Merzbacher; 5. Recitation by the choir and congregation of “Hear O Israel,” and “One is our God;” 6. Circuits of the procession three times; a. Chorus, the verse, “Thine O Lord, is the goodness;” b. Recitation, Psalm 100., by the Rev. J. J. Lyons; c. Chorus, Psalm 29. 7, The Law being deposited in the ark, recitation, the verse “And when it rested he said,” &c., by the Rev. J. Hecht; 8. Ode of Consecration, three verses; Prayer and Sermon by the minister of the congregation; 4th and 5th verses of the ode; intermission to receive donations; 9. Ode of Consecration resumed and concluded. Closing address and benediction, by Rev. Dr. M. Lilienthal; 10. Final chorus, Psalm 110., Hallelujah. The sermons of the Rev. Mr. Merzbacher, and Dr. Lilienthal, are represented as having been truly affecting; and when the latter concluded, it is said that the whole assembly which filled the large structure was deeply moved.
The Synagogue was formerly a Methodist church, and was purchased last year by Messrs. J. Dithhöfer and S. Schäfer for the congregation, for the sum of $12,000, and the necessary sure to secure the purchase was immediately contributed by the members by way of loan, of which <<215>>Mr. D. contributed one thousand dollars without interest for a number of years. The premium obtained for sale of seats amounted to $1300, and notwithstanding so many outlays already cheerfully borne by the members, the collection at the consecration amounted to $900, of which Mr. C. Würshing contributed one hundred dollars. The Board consists of nine persons, to wit: Messrs. I. Dithöfer, L. Goldstein, I. Rosenburg, I. Stettheimer, H. Kling, B. Lindheim, J. Ochs, W. Renau, and A. Michelbacher.—The music was under the direction of Mr. S. Kling, jun., and consisted of the best pieces of the Synagogue melodies of Vienna and Munich; the leader was ably seconded by Messrs. W. Kling, sen., I. Seligman, J. Ochs, and A. Hirschman.
England.—Much against the expectation of the English Jews, the Bill for their emancipation from the trammels of the Middle Ages, was thrown out by a decisive majority in the “House of Orphans,” as their Lordships, temporal and spiritual, have been wittily called, on the evening of the 25th of May. The vote stood, Contents, present 96, proxies 32, 128 for the Bill; Not-Contents, present 125, proxies 36, 163 against the Bill, majority 35. The Most Rev. Father, his Grace of Canterbury, opposed the Bill, and so the Rt. Rev. Lord Bishop of Oxford, the son of Wm. Wilberforce; and so did his royal highness, the Jew friend, the Duke of Cambridge; The Marquis of Lansdowne, Lord Brougham, Viscount Canning, the Bishop of St. David’s, and others supported the Bill; but no reasoning could outweigh the bigotry and ignorance of the enemies of human rights, which we consider as violated in the rejection of any class of virtuous men from their rights as freemen and citizens. If we lived in England we would speak out what we think the occasion does demand; but it is useless at this great distance to do more than to lay the bare facts before our readers; and this is enough to arouse their indignation against royalty, nobility, and church power; and we hope that our English brothers will in future have independence enough not to offer any more incense and fulsome flattery, as they have done hitherto to the Royal Duke, as patrons of Jewish charities upon each and every occasion. They ought to discard all such creeping, and rely for success upon the God of their fathers, and the strength of their own cause. For one, we hope that this defiance of the popular will as expressed by the Commons, may be the means of purifying the Constitution of England of hereditary legislators, and of the right of overfed priests to tyrannise over the people in virtue of their election by the king or queen and council.
Europe.—The nations of Sclavonic origin continued at the latest <<216>>account to maltreat our brothers, as in Hungary, Posen, and elsewhere. But in Germany matters appear to take by degrees a more cheering aspect. In Prussia, Baden, Hesse Darmstadt, and Homburgh, the equalization of the Jews has been decreed, and even in Hungary it was the emancipation by the Diet of the Jews which induced the priests, as it is alleged in a German paper before us, to excite the populace against them. The accounts which we have received are too meagre for detail; but this much is certain, that in proportion as the government endeavoured to lighten the burden of our people, the rude and ignorant masses attempted violence against them. This was the case in the above countries. At Pressburg, in Hungary, the cruelties committed were so great that the large congregation there quitted the city in fear for their lives; at Ofen (Buda) the same scenes would have been enacted had it not been for the active interference of the young men of Pesth, who took the Jews under their protection; the same occurred at Stuhlweissenburg, where the Jews, to the amount of sixty families, were driven out of town, and called back afterwards by the interference of a commissary of the Diet, Count Pulski; in Baden, Westphalia, Posen, and even in Alsace, excesses have been committed against our people, and in Trzemeszno, in Posen, four Jews were murdered, and according to reports, at Buk, Wreschen, Grätz, Kempen, Kosten, were other cruelties committed, and in the first-named place the Synagogue was burned down. In this portion of Prussia the priests are accused of exciting the fanatical mob; and our only hope is in God, thatHe may stay the fury of the assassins against the weak and defenceless.
Progress.—Four Jews have been elected to the German parliament, now in session at Frankfort; Dr. Julius Fürst, editor of the Orient, of Leipzig, for Posen; Dr. Gabriel Riesser, late editor of the Jew, of Hamburgh; Dr. Johann Jacoby, of Königsberg, and Mr. Kuranda, of the University of Vienna. Mr. Leone Pincherle has been appointed minister of commerce, provisionally, for the republic of Venice; Mr. Luzzati, of Undine, is also member of the provisional government; per contra, the Governor of Mantua has imposed a forced loan on the rich Jews to the amount of a million of liras.
P. S.—Brunswick.—Two important laws were promulgated on the 18th of May. The first abolishes all disqualification on account of religion, and therefore de facto emancipates the Jews; the second repeals the prohibition of intermarriage between Jews and Christians. (The latter is not a desirable permission, it would be better for all could the state prohibit such marriages, though even here the evil, bad as it is, is better than state interference.)