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The Jewish South. [volume] (Richmond, Va.) 1893-1899, October 01, 1897, Image 4

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn94051168/1897-10-01/ed-1/seq-4/

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spiritual synagogue. lie spoke of the support given
to other communal institutions, but dclared the syn
agogue must be first, all others secondary.
" Secondly, the community should live up to its
ideals. We dare not as a community condone evil or
hide wrong, or cover up fraud, simply because it has
been done by one of us. No man shall escape the
merited recompense of his deeds through the conniv
ance of friends. It is contrary to all the spirit of our
faith, which pi rices justice, and justice only, as the
keystone of civilization's arch."
Rabbi Calisch referred to the fact that the syna
gogue of England had refused to take any contribu
tion from, and had finally expelled from its member
ship, the great English money lender, Isaac Gordon,
" for by his dealings he had offended Jewish morality."
The law-giver had said that "even from the altar of
God" should the malefactor be dragged to receive
his punishment.
"We can't help a man being born in the Jewish
faith," said the rabbi, "but we can help whether we
shall consent to have his life considered an exponent
of Jewish ethics ; and if a man violates the laws of
morality and integrity his life is a contradiction of
Jewish teachings, and it is suicidal lor a Jewish com
munity to attempt to shield that man from the inex
orable and just consequences of his mode of life. Our
communal conscience should be so aroused that it de
mand loyalty from every member; loyalty to the
maintenance of this building of brick anil stone, and
loyalty in the maintenance of the ethical structure
that is herein upreared."
H Christian's 2>catb=Bcb.
By I. Zanowii.i..
NOT MICH before midnight in a midland town,
a thriving commercial town whose dingy,
black streets swarmed with poverty and piety,
an aged man in soft felt hat and white tic was hurry
ing over a bridge that spanned a dark, crowded river.
He had missed the tramway .and did not care to be
seen out at so late an hour, yet he could not afford a
Suddenly he felt a tug at his long black coat. Va
guely alarmed and annoyed, he turned quick!}'around.
A breathless, rough clad, rugged featured man loos
ened his hold on the skirt.
" 'Sense me, sir; I've been running," he gasped.
" What is it ? What do you want ? " said the gen
tleman kindly.
" My wife is dying," gasped the man.
" I'm very sorry," murmured the gentleman. " I'm
not a doctor."
"No, sir; I know. I don't want a doctor. He's
there and he only gives her ten minutes to live. Come
with me at once, please."
" Come with you ? Why, what good can Ido ? "
" You are a clergyman." The wearer of the white
tie seem annoyed.
" Ye-es," he stammered, "in a —in away. I'm
not the sort of a clergyman your wife will be want
ing. I'm a Jewish rabbi."
"That don't matter," broke in the man, almost
before he could finish the sentence. "(), don't go
away now, sir." His voice broke piteously. "Don't
go away after I've been chasing you for five minutes.
I saw your rig out— l beg pardon, your coat and
hat—in the distance, just as I came out of the house.
Walk back with me, anyhow," he pleaded, seeing the
Jew's hesitation. The man's accent was so poignant,
his anxiety was so apparently sincere, that the rabbi's
humanity could scarcely resist the solicitation to
walk bae'e, at least.
" Why don't you go to your own clergyman ? "
" I've got none," said the man half apologetically.
" I don't believe nothing myself. But you know what
women are. Betsy goes to some place every Sunday
almost; sometimes she's there and back from a ser
vice before I'm up, and so long as the breakfast is
ready, I don't mind. I don't ask her any questions,
and in return she don't bother about my soul—least
ways not for these ten years, ever since she's had kids
to convert. We get along all right, the missus and
me and the kids. Oh, but it's all come to an end
now," he sobbed.
" Yes, but my good fellow," protested the rabbi,
" I told you you were making a mistake. You know
nothing about religion ; but what your wife wants is
some one to talk to her of Jesus, or to give her sacra
ment, or the confession, or something, for I confess
I'm not very clear about the forms of Christianity."
"Oh, but you believe in something," persisted the
"H'm! yes, I can't deny that," saitl the rabbi,
" but it's not the same something that your wife be
lieves in."
"You believe in a Cod, don't y>u?" The rabbi
felt a bit chagrined at being catechised in theelements
of his religion.
" Of course," he said fretfully.
" I knew it," cried the man in triumph. " None of
us do in our shop; but of course, clergymen are dif
ferent. But if you believe in a God that's enough,
ain't it. Here's the house."
The rabbi conquered a last impulse of mistrust,
and looked around cautiously to be sure to be unob.
served. Charity was not a strong point with his
flock. Even if they learned the truth he was not at
all sure they would not consider his praying with a
dying Christian akin to blasphemy. On the whole he
must be credited with someeouragc in mounting that
black, ill-smelling, interminable staircase. He found
himself in a gloomy garret at last, lighted by an oil
lamp. A haggard woman lay with eyes closed on an
iron bed, her chilling hands clasping the hands of the
"converted" children, a boy of ten and a girl of
seven, who stood crying in their nightgowns. The

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