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בס"ד

Report of the President of the Hebrew Education Society.

 

At the annual meeting of the Hebrew Education Society of Philadelphia, the President, Mr. S. Solis, presented the following report, which, on motion, was ordered to be printed in circular form, for distribution among the members of the Society, and the Israelites of Philadelphia in general.

In making a report of the progress of the Society in the third year of its existence, the feasibility of the objects intended to be carried out by its organization will be plainly shown. The prognostications of some that it would be impossible to combine together a free and a pay school, with success, in the same establishment, have not been verified by the result.

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After a series of endeavours on the part of the Board of Managers, since the Society obtained its charter, to procure a sufficient number of pupils to authorize the opening of a school, which had proved futile, the Board resolved, in January last, that a school should be opened as soon as a suitable room and proper teachers could be secured, and appropriated $1,000 for the purpose of carrying this resolution into effect. The School Directors, being thus empowered to act, rented the second and third stories of the building now occupied by the school, and furnished them at an expense of about $200. They were also fortunate in procuring the services of Miss E. Bomeisler as a teacher of the English branches, and Mr. M. M. Allen of the Hebrew, both of whom, I am happy in stating, have given much satisfaction to the Board of Directors, both as to their deportment and method of instruction. In accordance with a resolution of the Board, an address (copies of which will be found on the table), setting forth the objects and the importance of the undertaking, was delivered by the Rev. Isaac Lesser, on the afternoon of the 6th of April, and on the following morning the school was opened in due form, 22 pupils being present. The school has now been in operation but seven weeks, and it numbers already 71 pupils, of which 29 are full paying scholars, 26 part paying, and 16 free. But, as it is only known to the five School Directors who are free and who pay, no distinction is made in school, the child of the poor and the child of the rich man being placed, whilst in school, on the same level; and, as all are alike compelled, by the established rules, to appear cleanly and tidily clad, there is no apparent distinction.

As the demands for admission increased so rapidly, the Board of Managers, on the 18th ult., at the recommendation of the School Directors, (before whom they had undergone a very satisfactory examination), elected two assistant female teachers; and we shall be enabled now, with our present means, to admit about thirty more applicants.

The expenses of the school for the year ending the 1st of April, 1852, will amount to about $1,700, whilst the income of the Society will be

For tuition of pupils, about $640
Appropriation of the Portuguese Congregation, 200
Interest on city stock, 120
Dues from members which can be counted upon, 140

in all $1,100, leaving $600 to be provided for by increased subscriptions, by an increased number of paying scholars, or to be drawn from <<223>>the funds of the Society. From this latter source, I hope every member will agree with me in saying, not a dollar should be drawn. No; rather every well-wisher of this institution should help to swell its amount, until we have sufficient to build a school-house of our own, in some central part of the city, and well adapted for the accommoda­tion of both sexes. In a society whose aim is as noble as this, one would suppose that every member would be prompt in the payment of his dues; but it is with deep regret that I have to state that such is far from the fact. The receipts from members for the year now ending are but $142, whilst there are bills now lying on the table, for annual dues, amounting to $225, and for donations $265. To be a member merely in name will never advance the interests of the Society—will never advance the interests of yourselves or your children. Its advancement is equally binding upon us all, and all alike should use their best endeavours for this end. The School Directors have held no less than twenty-four meetings, during the business days of the week, since the 1st of March, besides attending in rotation on every day at the school since its commencement; but, whilst they assume these duties cheerfully, surely they have the right to ask of the Society at large, and from the Jewish community generally, at least an effort to increase their means, so that they may neither be hampered in their expenditures nor forced to fall back upon the funds of the Society, until no funds be left. The cost of tuition for every scholar is at present $24 per annum. Should the number increase to one hundred, (which, from present appearances, is likely soon to be realized), the annual expense for each pupil will then amount to about $17; and, as the average price charged for pay scholars is but $15 per annum, each member receives back more than the full amount of his yearly subscription.

I trust, gentlemen, that you will satisfy yourselves of the great and lasting advantages that this institution offers to your grasp; and that, when we assemble again for the same purposes which call us now together, we shall be enabled to acknowledge that the Israelites of this city are as fully alive to the advantages of a religious education—quite as liberal in the support of the same—as their fathers were of yore; and that the blessings of the Most High have sanctified our undertaking, and crowned it with success.

Sivan 1st, 5611.