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



Philadelphia.—We learn from sources we deem worthy of belief, that on the 16th of June, the day appointed according to an advertisement issued by the Parnass of the Congregation Mikva Israel for the holding of an election for Hazan to succeed the present incumbent, whose term of service expires on the 28th of September next, three candidates presented themselves for the kind suffrages of the congregation, viz.: the Rev. Abraham De Sola, Hazan of Montreal, the Rev. Jacob Rosenfeld, the Hazan of the Congregation Shearith Israel of Charleston, and Mr. Ellis Lyons, late Hazan at Richmond, Va. We also understand that Mr. Rosenfeld only applied in case the present minister was not a candidate; but as no written application was received from him, the President, as directed by the reverend gentleman, presented his letter, which at first was only sent for the inspection of the Board of Adjunta. Mr. De Sola was the only one of the candidates who had been at Philadelphia to read the service and deliver a sermon during the late absence of Mr. Leeser; and his testimonials, which were extensively circulated in a handbill, of which a copy also reached us through the kindness of a friend, were highly creditable to his capacity, being signed not only by the trustees of the congregation with which he is now connected, who expressed great regret at parting with him, but also by the Rev. David Meldola, the maternal uncle of Mr. De S.; Dr. L. Loewe, the celebrated orientalist, his preceptor; Dr. A. Benisch, once the Editor of the Voice of Jacob, whom Mr. De S. for a time assisted in his labours, besides Dr. Raphall, who was associated in various literary labours with Rev. David De Sola, the father of Mr. A. De Sola. We of course have no official information why the congregation did not make choice of one of the gentlemen presented to them; but we learn from the same persons from whom this statement of facts is derived, that the various letters and accompanying documents having been read, and it having been ascertained that there was no other candidate, a motion was made to postpone the election till the semi-annual meeting of the Kahal, which takes place according to their constitution on the Sunday before the Eve of Passover next; in other words, for more than nine months from the date stated in the advertisement. We give our readers this information, since we have understood that the subject has excited a good deal of interest through the country, and that much kind feeling has been expressed toward the <<198>>late incumbent by impartial persons in all directions, not alone in the United States, but also in Canada, the West Indies, and England.—The Editor will remember this mark of attention which has been extended to the minister; and he takes this opportunity to state that he shall be happy at all times to serve his people, in whatever capacity he may be able to render himself useful, and thus show that the general confidence in him has not been misplaced.

New York.—We learn that the consecration of the new Synagogue, the Kahal Anshay Chased of New York, situated in Norfolk Street, took place on the Eve of Pentecost. An English sermon was given by Rev. S. M. Isaacs, and German addresses were delivered by Rev. Drs. Schlessinger, Lilienthal, and Merzbacher; and we see it stated that the numerous assembly dispersed highly gratified with the exercises which they had witnessed. We have received no official report, wherefore our account must be necessarily very brief.

New Orleans.—Society Bikkur Cholim.—We are indebted to Mr. Joseph Turner for a brief account of this charitable institution; which has been in existence already these five years past. It consists of sixty members, and spent last year nearly eight hundred dollars for  charitable objects. In addition to distributing money among the poor, it combines the character of a חברה קדישא religious association, as the members are bound to attend the sick, and perform the ceremonies for the dead as prescribe by our laws. They also attend Minyan for a member during the week of mourning שבעה, and on the anniversary of a parent’s death.—At an annual election lately held, the following officers were chosen: Joseph Turner, President; F. Hollander, Vice-President; J. Kramer, Treasurer; S. Schwerin, M. Rosenberg, B. Kawalsky, Lewis Jacobs, Jonas Levy, and Abraham Weil, Trustees. It affords us sincere gratification to notice this excellent institution in our periodical; for where religious observance and charity are com­bined there is every hope to see a healthy growth of religion, and we do not despair therefore to see before long in New Orleans as great, or a greater degree of pious observance of our faith, than is witnessed in any part of the Union. We therefore tell our friends: “Go on with your work, and may Heaven’s blessing attend you.”

Mobile.—The ladies of Mobile have also joined together to extend relief to the distressed, under the name of the “Ladies Hebrew Benevolent Society,” and have elected officers Mrs. Rosalie Cohen, President; Mrs. Eve S. Goldsmith, Vice-President; Mrs. Caroline Runach, <<199>> Treasurer; Mr. B. M. Emanuel, Secretary; Mrs. Sarah Waldauer, Mrs. Hannah Block, and Mrs. Babette Unger, Trustees. The Society numbers thirty-four members. A Ball was lately given in aid of the funds, under the management of Messrs. B. L. Tim, Joseph Morrison, and Mayer Cohen; which gave great satisfaction to the company present, including many Christians, and resulted in a surplus of one hundred and eighty-one dollars. Mr. Tim is highly commended by our correspondent for the manner in which he acted as the principal manager on this festive occasion.

Louisville, Ky.—We are highly gratified to announce that the Rev. B. H. Gotthelf is fulfilling his official and scholastic duties to the entire satisfaction of his congregation. His sermons, in German, are highly spoken of: and we sincerely trust that his situation may soon be made permanent.

Charleston.— The Beth Elohim Congregation of this city have elected the Rev. Julius Eckman, who for a short time officiated as Hazan for the Kahal Beth Shalom of Richmond, as their minister, in place of the Rev. Mr. Poznanski, who retires from office; the Rev. Dr. Wise having concluded to remain at Albany, after having been elected at Charleston. Mr. Eckman's sermons, we are told, give his flock general satisfaction.

Shearith Israel Congregation of Charleston.—It is with much gratification that we give insertion to the following extract from a note received from the President of the Kahal Shearith Israel of Charleston, our valued correspondent, Samuel Hart, Sen., Esq.: “I have the pleasure of handing you my check for $22, which amount has been contributed by a portion of the members of the orthodox congregation of this city, as a yearly allowance to our poor brethren of the House of Israel residing in Jerusalem and Hebron, and who, from their affection for the land of our inheritance, although their oppression has not ceased, are still willing to cling to it and make it their home, until we shall all be summoned, as our forefathers of old were, to appear before the Lord in his holy place, united in faith to obey his command.” We shall place the money as directed into proper hands to convey it to the Holy Land, and trust that all the Jewish communities in the country may contribute their portion, so that the suffering of our brothers in the East may be in a measure relieved. We at the same time acknowledge receiving lately a small sum collected at Curaçoa, which was paid over to the Rev. Joseph Schwarz and Rabbi Zadok Levy, the accredited messengers from Palestine.

Montreal.—Lecture On The Ancient Hebrews As Promoters of the Arts and Sciences, by the Rev. Mr. De Sola.—On Wednesday evening; 13th March, the Rev. Mr. De Sola delivered an interesting lecture before the members of the Natural History Society of Montreal, on “The Ancient Hebrews as promoters of the Arts and Sciences.” After some prefatory remarks on prejudice—the neglect shown in crediting the ancient Hebrews with their artistic and scientific attainments, and explaining why he should speak of the antediluvians in connexion with this subject, Mr. De Sola dwelt at some length on the cosmogony of the world as taught in the first book of Moses, and among other remarks, showed the extreme probability of the ancient Hebrews being acquainted with the true method of the earth’s revolution, and that the biblical narration did, by demonstration, entirely agree with the principles propounded by Copernicus and established by Sir Isaac Newton. He remarked on the names given by Adam to birds and animals, therein discovering “the origin of that science which it was the object of this and similar institutions to promote.” Mr. De Sola showed from the early pages of Hebrew records, the only authoritative account of the origin of governments, cities, musical instruments, workmen’s tools, and navigation, and with respect to the latter, how numerous were the benefits and advantages which have accrued to us from the divine command to Noah to build the ark. He showed how the ark was proportioned on the truest geometrical principles; and quoted an eminent writer to prove that it was capable of containing double the number of animals supposed to have been there. After some observations concerning the Tower of Babel, the materials used and the manner of its erection, the reverend gentleman evidenced, by quotations from rabbinical writings, the various attainments, and good qualities, with which the patriarchs were traditionally invested. He next cited the opinion that our present signs of the zodiac were known to the ancient Hebrews, clearly illustrating this by reference to Joseph’s dream and Jacob’s dying address to his sons. After explaining that his limits would not permit him to follow every relation of Scripture having reference to his subject, he proceeded to select for remark some of the arts and sciences, and to exhibit the knowledge the ancient Hebrews had of them. He enumerated the articles they manufactured for the Tabernacle, showing that they were acquainted with the arts of spinning and dyeing, working and polishing metals, engraving on stones, calculating time, and various other matters. He then spoke of the reign of King Solomon, and the impetus given to the arts and sciences by that mo<<201>>narch. The Temple, Solomon’s home, his throne, his vocal and instrumental choirs, his knowledge and promotion of the sciences of Natural History and Botany, &c., &c., were severally spoken of, as well as various other matters connected with the reigns of the subsequent monarchs, to which period only Mr. De Sola professed to extend his remarks. He next showed the knowledge the ancient Hebrews had of geography, noticing the division of Palestine in the days of Joshua; from this latter circumstance, as also from several others he argued their knowledge of arithmetic, geometry; mensuration, &c., Their acquaintance with agriculture was then spoken of,—the esteem in which it was held—the means used for promoting it, and an enumeration of the articles cultivated by them. Next a description of their writing materials, &c., &c. Mr. De Sola concluded his most highly instructive and entertaining lecture by informing his audience that in the short space of time usually allotted for a lecture, he had been unable to do anything like justice to his theme, and could not then notice such subjects as their poetry, knowledge of medicine, and many other of the sciences, and ex­pressed a hope that his remarks might be the means  of inducing some of his hearers to examine the subject for themselves.

The lecture was attended by a highly respectable and intelligent audience, who repeatedly expressed their approbation of the lecture, and regretted that time did not permit the eloquent gentleman to have extended his remarks.

Syria.—are at length enabled to state that, if confidence may  be placed in the public papers, the improvement in the internal condition of Syria, promised by the Sultan Abdul Medjid, is now in a fair way of being accomplished. The taxes are to be collected by agents acting for the government, and not be left any more to be seized upon as it were by the harpies of the local pachas. Religious freedom has existed for some time; and if the political state of the country be gradually assimilated to that of Europe, and safety for person and property be secured to all the inhabitants—if the rapacity of the wandering Arabs be repressed, so that people may not sow and the plunderer reap the harvest,—in short, if a wholesome government take the place of arbitrary rule, we doubt not but that the condition of the Israelites also will improve, and that before many years the constant appeal for aid will not be heard any more. Then would Palestine become again the joy of the world, and the fair fields of Judah be again covered by waving crops and bleating herds. May a gracious Providence grant this speedily.