Newspaper Page Text
The Jewish Advance.
84 & 86 FIFTH AVENUE. Terms of Subscription: Per annum.$3.00 For six months. 1.50 Single Copies.10 Kates of Advertising : One line Nompareil, one insertion,.$ ,1K ■* “ “ 1 month (4 insert.).. " “ “ 3 months, (13 insert.) 1. “ “ “ 12 “ (53 insert.) 3. HENRY GERSONI, Editor. MAX STERN, Publisher. Chicago, September 13th, 1878. 8 8 S £ For tlie Suffering Israelites of the South. “Em Hammier" gave in the Deborah of last week a little of his experience and a piece of his mind. If not in all cases, in this instance at least Chicago may profit by the sentiments which have been expressed in St. Louis. We will therefore reproduce here as near as prac ticable the ideas of Kin Hammier. “We are collecting donation for our suffering co-religionists of the South. Would you, please, contribute your mite toward our object?” — No, sir. 1 have sent my contribu tion to the Howard Association. The congressman of our district has called on me and 1 have subscribed. . . ‘‘You have acted rightly. We do not expect any honest Israelite to act in a different manner. But we are making collections for our poor co-religionists,” — Jew or Christian, it is all the same to me, I do for the one what I would do for the other. We ought not to keep ourselves as a distinct class of people because we are Israelites. Neither person nor time nor place need be specified for this dialogue. It is a sign of the time, an opinion which'is passed off as a highly important principle demanding the acknowledgment of all the Jews of America from Maine to Oregon. There may be no evil motives at the bottom of this opinion; and econ omy is certainly one of its features. In cases of distress we Israelites used to contribute twice toward the aleviation of suffering; first as men and citizens, and then as coreligionists. Christians do the same toward their coreligionists; and so also do the societies of telegraphers, firemen, printers, members of lodges, farmers etc. If a Jew has no special gift for his coreligionists in trouble, the only advantage he has before others who have a heart for their suffering fellow men is that he comes off cheaper than they do. m order to and out the course of two short lines whether they run parallel or diverging, we have to prolong them. We have in our ease one such line, the 8outh. Let us extend the principles underlying this case in order to see whether our judgment about the manner in which we are to respond to the general demand for assistance is straight or diverging, in rapport to the special call for charity which is made on us as Is raelites, and in behalf of our co-religion ists. If it were out of an unkind senti ment toward our Christian fellow men, that we as Jews take care of our own poor, all our charitable institutions and societies on which thousands of dollars are expended every year, our hospitals and orphan-assylums are based on false principles then, and must yield all pretentions and claims to a spirit of charity and brotherly love. Again if we | would say that we do not make any dif- i ference between Jew or Gentile in the j dispensing of charity, the Jewish as well as the Christian sufferers would lose by it, and the giver would be the only win ner in this case. The masses of the Jewish poor would then fall back on the j common funds, and the portion which they would receive, would be a part of that which would otherwise belong to the Christians. “But the contributions which go now toward specific Jewish charities, would then be handed over to the common funds, and this would more than replen ish them?” I hear one interposing, This is a mistake, my dear sir. Charity depends on religion to a great extent, The thousands of orphans brought up and educated by the various churches, the thousands of sick and indigend tend ed to and provided for by the various re ligions denominations prove conclusive ly the truth of this assertion. Even the Howard Association is a religious insti tution. There are many social institutions which are better cared for in the hands of secular management; charity needs the sympathy of hearts thawed and warm ed up by the flame of religion. There is yet too much misery, misapprehension and prejudice in the world to make the cause of charity and humanity depending entirely on the laws of citizenship and equality, and to deprive it entirely of the support of religion. And, not only reli gion in general, but even the religions as they are, varying in their confessions cannot yet be dispensed with for the sake of charity, The philosophy of humanity has not yet so permeated the minds and the hearts of the masses, that they should bear the heavy burdens of social life, the continuous demands of gregarious necessities whithout a feeling of lassitude. It is only religion which makes every such burden easy, every such obligation a pleasure. And there fore it is altogether irrational and in consistent with the state of our social affairs to divest your work of charity of the religious character, which is part of its power. There are reasons, moreover, why the well-to-do Israelites should not throw off their shoulders the care of their less for tunate co-religionists. The members of the Jewish communities know one an other very nearly. The state of a needy Jew as well his rights in how far he is justified to make his demands on the charity of others are pretty well known among his brethren. In this case, the dispensation of charity is as near just and equitable as possible. Besides this, the circle of charitable activity, if so dis tributed, is so narrow that the invest igation of every individual ease becomes easy. But outside of the Jewish co religionists, how can a general committee in a large city, (such as New-Orleans, for instance) know the business and the family relations of every applicant for assistance? And does not the ghost of prejudice, against the Jews exercise his mischevous influence in the minds of many, otherwise enlightened and well meaning Christians? In view of these facts, if the distribution of charity be left entirely in the hands of the govern ing classes, many an honorable sufferer will be overlooked|or ignored, while dis honest and shrewd individuals will obtain a double-portion of the public funds. Such is the result of the investigation if you draw the lines of general assistance and specific religious charity a little longer; those lines are found to diverge from the straight course which is neces sary for our demands. What is true of the aid of the Southern sufferers, must stand true also for every dispensation of relief, for orphan-asylums, hospitals, homes for aged and infirm throughout the land. Should such institutions yield their special religious principles to the principle of the general brotherhood of all men, a certain sum of money may be saved by every religious denomination in particular, but the general class of the needy of each respective denomina tion would miss more than that sum for their support. And therefore we say that the objec tions to denominational dispensation of charity are not bad, but they are of a very economical, of a very cheap nature in deed. Those objections may be made with the purest motives, and our remarks are not intended to reflect on the noble ness of heart of such as make them. What we mean to prove is that in the cause of virtue and benevolence it is detrimental and dangerous to look for easy principles. If a few enlightened persons advocate such principles for their lofty and truly humane bearing, the masses may and will find in them a plea to make their obligations toward their fellow-men easier for themselves. New Orleans, Sept. 5,1878. Henry L. Frank, Esq., Chicago, III. Dear Sir—I am very sorry to state that the epidemic is still raging badly in our midst, and the demand upon our in stitutions is daily increasing. Although having liberally contributed already to wards our institutions, yet it becomes my imperative duty to say, not to for get us in this hour of sorrow and trouble, and raise means amongst our friends, to assist our down-stricken suf ferers. We have now from 500 to 1,000 dollars expenses daily, and have to de pend upon our friends for it. Very respectfully your, etc., Ciias. Simon, Act. Pres, of T. S. and H. B. Ass’n. The following- Two Communica tions Speak for Themselves. Chicago. July 14,1878. To the Officers and Members of the Congregation Bnai Shalom: Brethren:- In view of the fact that the principles which I feel myself called upon to advocate cannot he followed up by your con gregation, and I not being able to yield my re form principles 1 have resolved to" tender you my resignation. This resignation to date from September 1st, ult , and be irrevocable on my part. Respectfully, Henry Gersoni. Upon which the following resolutions have been adopted and published by the Congregation Bnai Sholom in the Am. Israelite of Cincinnati, and the Jewish, Messenger. The Rev. Dr. Henry Gersoni, having tender ed his resignation as the minister of the con gregation, on motion it was resolved; that W hereas, The majority of the members of the congregation do not concede to the ad vanced reform principles of Dr. Gersoni; and Whereas. Dr. Gersoni is resolved not to yield his reform platform; therefore, the offi cers of the Congregation feel compelled to ac cept his resignation to date from September 1st next, at the same time we take pleasure to attest that during the official period of Dr Gersoni with this Congregation his moral and official conduct has been to the entire satisfac tion of the Congregation. Signed: Isaac Gi.ogosky, acting President: Lewis Hefter, Tobias Goldschmidt, Jonas Moore, Isaac Livingston, David Witkowsky, Solomon Harris. Chicago, 111., July 21, :ts7s. Retrospect on the Year 56J5S. II. There has been no dearth of religious activity among the Israelites of the 1 .S. during the year 5688, New congrega tions have been formed in different parts of the country, new synagogues have been erected and consecrated in various towns. The formation of new congre gations and the building of new shrines, which are signs of religious life and ac tivity in small towns, seems to indicate a spirit of variance and discord in large cities. For what benefit may such an increase in the number of congregations be in large cities where there are Tem ples and synagogues enough to supply the religious demands of the whole Jew ish community ? The old and well reg ulated organizations are only weakened by the formation of new organizations ; the forces become divided and scattered, and the respective classes estranged from each other and a general laxity and disability are the ultimate results. Ouv ministers have done some good work during the year. By their literary efforts they have succeeded in making Judaism more known, the Jews more popular with the general classes. In this instance again, the large cities where able ministers are at work, have the advantage over the smaller communities. While our learned rabbins of New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Cincinnati and other prominent cities endeavor to make known the wisdom and the ethics of Judaism to the literary public, the small fry of the little towns force into public ity extravagant nonsense. They do it with an dan worthy of a better cause, to the detriment of the cause of Juda ism. The uninformed Christian hears or reads their worthless trash, which they pass off in the name of Judaism, and draws false conclusions in reference to the spirit thereof. Bitter satires have been published in our respectable jour •nals (we have some which cannot lay claim to respectability) against such bragadoeia ; they have availed to some extent—and the satirist is living yet, thank Cod, and seems to be determined to pursue his work. One of the most cheerful signs of the times is the interest which has been manifested in Jewish learning during the year 5638. The Sabbath schools are con fessedly the most important branch of congregational activity, Free schools for Hebrew and religious instruction have been louder called for than ever. Our young men’s associations desire to hear lectures on Jewish wisdom and his tory. The demand for good Jewish teachers is greater than the supply. And, last but not least, the formation of Jewish theological colleges are fairly in progress, while they have only been spoken of and debated upon in previous years. The number of scholars signify ing their intention to study in those col leges, has put at rest many a doubting mind as regards the willingness of young America to work for the cause of Juda ism. It is true that hitherto only poor children have asked for admission into the Jewish theological colleges ; but we may prognosticate with a degree of cer tainty, that as soon as the position and