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 Shopping Mall of Zion AHAVA Hero Products 250x250

בס"ד

News Items.

 
Sunday Laws in Pennsylvania.—Our readers were informed by us, at the proper time, of the persecution of several Seventh Day Baptists, for doing some light work on their own farms on the Sunday, and that the act of the local magistrate was approved of and sanctioned by the Supreme Court of this commonwealth, upon grounds as different, as given by two of the judges, as different can be. It was not to be expected that a decision evidently so unjust, as was proved by us and others at the time, would be quietly submitted to; and an appeal to the courts being, as the supreme bench is now composed, out of the question, defeat being certain, an application was made to the Legislature so to alter the law of 1794 as to exempt those who observe the seventh day from any punishment for working on Sunday.
The Jews took no part in this petition, and it was therefore confined to the Sabbatarian Baptists only. The bill which was reported in consequence has passed the Senate of Pennsylvania, but we fear that it will fail in the House of Representatives, where the committee on Vice and Immorality have reported unfavourably through their chairman,—a curious committee, at least in name, to have referred to them the respectful petition of a portion of the freemen of the state, as moral and upright as any in its whole limits, to be relieved of an unjust burden which ought to weigh upon no class of the citizens, since many honestly contend that the state has, of right, no concern with the religious observance of any day.

Whilst on the subject we may as well record the fact that, last December, a resolution was passed at the meeting of the stockholders of the Pennsylvania Central Railroad; approving of a resolution of the Board<<55>>of Directors stopping the travelling on Sunday, after the 31st December. This decision was entered into without fully weighing the importance of the question, or adverting to the influence which brought it forward. But those who felt aggrieved by it have at length so far succeeded, though it is but scarcely more than two months since the resolution was carried into effect, as to rescind the same for the present, and to submit the question to the stockholders to vote by ballot for thirty days, to decide whether it is their wish to have daily lines on their road or not. This is a significant fact, and proves what we have frequently said, that it is only the interested and their blind followers who have so sedulously endeavoured to fasten the “Christian Sabbath” on the community, with all its appendages. We know not indeed how the question may be decided; but many believe that there is no doubt that the sense of the majority is in favour of freedom of travel on every day of the week. As regards the exemption bill we copy from the daily papers:

A supplement to an act entitled an “Act for the prevention of vice and immorality, and of unlawful gaining, and to restrain disorderly sports and dissipation,” came up on third reading. The following is a copy of the supplement:

Sec. 1. Be it enacted, &c., That nothing contained in the first section of the act to which this is a supplement, shall be construed to extend to any person or persons who conscientiously observe the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath; and in all prosecutions under said first section of the act aforesaid, a certificate, signed by the pastor, or any elder or officer of any religious society conscientiously observing the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath, shall be sufficient evidence of membership in said society, and on the presentation thereof, every justice of the peace before whom such prosecutions may be commenced, shall dismiss the same at the cost of the informer.

The bill and amendments passed final reading by the following vote ; yeas 18, nays 14. Adjourned.

Philadelphia. The German Ladies’ Benevolent Society gave lately a concert for the benefit of their charity fund; the musical director, Mr. S. Ehrlich, and the principal singer, Miss Rosa Jacques, belonging to our persuasion. Those who are acquainted with the powers of both, need not be told that everything was done to gratify the audience highly; but we regret that although Miss Jacques gave her valuable services without charge, the expenditures were so heavy, that but about one hundred dollars surplus was added to the funds.—On Sunday, the 10th of March (Adar 26th), the twelfth annual examination of the Philadelphia Hebrew Sunday School, took place at the Portuguese Synagogue. The number of scholars was about 150; and the progress displayed was a sure evidence that much useful knowledge had been imparted in the past year. The school has just completed its twelfth year, and it <<56>>affords a gratifying proof what enterprise will achieve, even when contending with difficulties. This institution supplies now, in a great measure, the want of a regular establishment for religious education among us; but we think that the time is not far distant when we shall be able to announce that the ardent desire of many pious persons to have their children educated under Jewish superintendence altogether has been fully gratified. For our part we cannot see how persons having the means, and at the same time a regard for their religion, can rest content with a mere half-way religious training for their children, when it would be just as easy to furnish a thorough knowledge, provided the will only were there to second the efforts of others to benefit them in this essential point. At the same time, it is not very flattering to our self-approbation, that the smallest village in Europe has its schools for Hebrew, whilst in America so many children have to depend upon private tuition for its acquirement. This should not be; and we hope that the reproach thus attached to us may be soon removed, not alone in Philadelphia, but wherever Jews are found all over the country; and we are glad indeed that now there are schools in New York, though as yet only in part, Baltimore, Richmond, Louisville, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Albany; and we see no earthly reason why congregational seminaries should not exist in all the communities of Israelites. If these are ever established there could be little doubt, but that a high school for the training of youth in the higher branches of Hebrew literature would be demanded, and as a matter of course, be started into life, when we should have the means of educating persons in this country for the ministry; whereas now, every one, we believe, connected with the various Synagogues, is a native of a foreign land. This ought not to be.

Richmond.—Hebrew and English Institute. At the annual meeting of “The Trustees of the Hebrew and English Institute,” held the evening of January 7th, at the school-rooms, the following officers were elected for the present year: President, Gustavus A. Myers, Esq.; Vice-President, Isaac Schriver; Recording Secretary, Jacob Ezekiel; Financial Secretary, Naphtali Ezekiel; Treasurer, Benjamin Davis. This institute was opened on the 2d January, with about thirty scholars, under the charge of the Rev. Julius Eckmann and an able assistant female teacher. The number of pupils is comparatively small, from the fact that many of the Jewish parents have entered their children at other schools for a session, which commences generally in the months of September and October. The prices of tuition has been placed at a low rate in order to be within the reach of the most destitute of our brethren, and is as follows: For Hebrew, English, and other branches, $14 per annum. <<57>>For Hebrew, French, German, or Latin, each $10 per annum. It is hoped ere long that we may be enabled to lay before your readers a flattering account of the progress of this institution.

Charleston. We learn that Dr. Isaac M. Wise, late Rabbi of Albany, has been elected minister of the Beth Elohim congregation of Charleston, to supply the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of the Rev. G. Poznanski. We have received Dr. W.’s introductory sermon, but have not had an opportunity of laying it before the public.

Mobile.—We are officially informed that on Sunday, January 20th, the following resolutions were adopted: Resolved, That this congregation will pay annually twenty dollars towards the support of the poor of Jerusalem, and that we will hereafter recognise no messenger or agent from Jerusalem. Resolved, That the president ascertain the proper person to whom this amount shall be remitted, so that it may reach its proper destination. Resolved, That the above resolutions be published in the Occident. Signed by I. I. Jones, President; and D. Salomon, Secretary pro tem. On the same day the congregation held its annual meeting, and elected as officers for the following year the following gentlemen: Israel I. Jones, President; David Salomon, Vice-President; M. Forchheimer, Treasurer; Philip Frankenheimer, Secretary; and Bernard Cohen, Joseph Morrisson, Peter Meyer, Isidore Newman, and Hayim Salomon, Trustees. The seats were then sold for the ensuing year, and the proceeds amounted to double the sum realized the preceding one; and our correspondent expresses much joy that he is able to report the welfare and prosperity of the congregation, inasmuch as they are, with the blessing of the Ruler of the universe, united and increasing, and willing to do good service in the cause of Judaism.

New Orleans. The Rev. Moses N. Nathan was chosen minister of the congregation Nefuzoth Yehudah, on the 24th of January, at a salary of 2,500 dollars per annum during good behaviour. The Rev. gentleman has, as we learn, returned to Jamaica to bring over his family, and is expected back after Passover. The Synagogue, now finished, will not be opened for divine worship before the middle of May next, after the minister shall have D. V. taken up his residence in New Orleans. The Rev. J. K. Gutheim has already entered on the discharge of his ministerial functions, for the German congregation, and we may congratulate the Israelites of the southern commercial capital that their choice has fallen on two men well able to be eminently useful in the cause of our religion; and we cannot help expressing our hope that they may be watchful and faithful, conciliatory and firm, to do all which the <<58>>nation of Israel at large, no less than their own immediate constituents, has a right to demand of them, to promote piety and true godliness among the flocks entrusted to their care.

We also learn that Mr. Touro has at length made a deed of gift to the congregation of the handsome Synagogue, which has, been fitted up with all things requisite, without regard to expense; thus consummating in the most liberal manner what he had so devoutly begun. We wish him many happy years to enjoy the fruits of his pious benevolence.

Detroit. The Sisters of Charity. The Rev. S. M. Isaacs, of New York requests us to call the attention of our readers to an appeal in behalf of the Hospital of the Sisters of Charity in Detroit. These benevolent ladies lately watched with tender care over Mr. Benedict Joseph, a member of Mr. Isaacs’ congregation, who was seized with a mortal sickness on his journey westward, and in his last days was tended with sisterly kindness by these devoted women, who though acting in the cause of their peculiar faith, show attention alike to persons of all religions. A few weeks ago a young Jewish female, on her journey from New York to St. Louis, was arrested by illness in Detroit, and also died at the hospital of the sisters. As their means of usefulness are limited by the want of funds, they have addressed a letter to Mr. Isaacs requesting him to interest himself in their behalf. He has accordingly inserted an appeal in the Asmonean, which has no doubt been seen by a large portion of our readers; and he asks of us in addition to call public attention to the same. All donations addressed to the Rev. S. M. Isaacs, 669 Houston Street, New York, will be duly forwarded to their destination.

Montreal. Thursday the 3d of January, having been appointed by the Governor-general, in council, to be observed by the people of Canada as a day of general thanksgiving for the removal of the cholera, there was a service held in the Synagogue. After Mincha (afternoon service) Psalms cxvii. and cxviii. were chanted; then followed a Hebrew prayer, then Psalm c. Next came a sermon by the Rev. Abm. De Sola, the minister of the congregation, on the text, “But he being merciful, forgave iniquity and destroyed not, and often called back his anger and awakened not all his wrath.” The service concluded with Ps. cxi. The Synagogue was well attended, as we learn.

Bavaria.—The public papers bring the following:—“In the sitting of the Legislative Chamber of Bavaria, on December 14th, the important question of the emancipation of the Jews was carried by 91 against 50. Two Catholic priests were among the minority.”

But we just learn from the same source that the first chamber had, at the<<59>>latest account, thrown out the bill by a vote of 29 to 7, and that even the equalization of the civil rights of the Jews, proposed ultimately by Count Armansperg, was rejected by 24 against 12 votes. So we may look out for a renewed increase of immigration on the part of Bavarian Israelites, into the United States, and we have here another evidence that prejudice dies hard.

Georgia.—We learn that the law of marriage which required a magistrate or a minister of the gospel to perform the ceremony, has been altered so as to place our people upon an equality with all other denominations. The wording of the law was, we think, entirely accidental.

The Rev. Mr. Nathan, we omitted to mention in our last, on first landing at Savannah, preached in the Synagogue, to the edification of the Jewish community, who are still without a minister; and at Mobile, on his stopping there on his return, for the moment, to Jamaica. It is needless for us to say that his hearers in both places would be pleased could they have the gratification often to listen to this eloquent preacher.

Montgomery, Alabama. — The Congregation of Montgomery elected for the present year the following officers : Jacob Myer, President; Henry Lehman, Vice-President; Henry Weil, Secretary; Emanuel Lehman, Treasurer; and Jacob Weil and George Myer, Trustees.

Spanish Town, Jamaica.—The congregation of this place, lately addressed a series of resolutions highly complimentary to their young minister, the Rev. Henry S. Jacobs, for his, we think, gratuitous services to the congregation, which has been for some years without a regular minister. We gave lately a sermon of Mr. Jacobs, and hope that our readers thought well of the production of this young man, who was born and educated in the island of Jamaica; he is a scholar of the Rev. Moses N. Nathan.

Another Reconversion to Judaism. The Jewish Gazette, under date of Berlin, the 30th of September, reports: “Lately there died here the rich banker Lessing. A little while before his death he returned to Judaism, which he had quitted, and at his earnest request he was interred in the Jewish burying-ground. This occurrence has excited a great sensation in the city. And well may it; for the Christians must see that they can depend but little on their converts, and that no sooner does the presence of death show them the folly of their change, the deceitfulness of their vain hopes, than they lay hold of the pillars of that faith which has supported Israel for so many centuries. So must it ever be.