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Held at Chicago, September 4, 5, 6 and 7, 









When the World's Fair Congress Auxiliary was organ- 
ized, it was determined that, among the other congresses, 
a Parliament of Religions should be held. The Parlia- 
ment consisted of 'a. General Parliament of all religions 
and of denominational Congresses. The General Com- 
mittee on Religious Parliament was composed of two 
branches, one the men's, the other the women's com- 
mittee. It consisted of representatives of every denom- 
ination, appointed by Mr. C. C. Bonney, president of the 
Auxiliary, and Mrs. Charles Henrotin, vice-president of 
the woman's branch. By virtue of this appointment, 
they became the chairmen of their respective denomi- 
national committees, with power to make up the com- 
mittee. At the first meeting of the Jewish Women's 
Committee, it was decided to work along the lines 
adopted by the other committees. The Committee also 
decided to collect and publish the traditional melodies 
of the Jews as a souvenir of the occasion. In order to 
arouse the interest in the Jewish Congress and the souve- 
nir, notices were issued to all Jewish publications, invit- 
ing the co-operation of all persons interested. 

Circular letters were sent to the larger cities, asking 
Jewish women to hold mass meetings to elect delegates. 
This measure was more successful than had been antici- 
pated, twenty-nine cities being represented by ninety- 
three delegates. An extensive correspondence was 
carried on with Jewish men and women of this country 
and Englaind, no less than two thousand letters having 
been written and received by the members of the Com- 


4 J:ewiSH Women's Congrbss. 

The Programme Committee obtained subjects for 
papers from many sources, also names of women to write 
them. It was no easy task to arrange the programme 
and choose the essayists. It was found that every sec- 
tion of the country could be represented, and the com- 
mittee, in every instance, was fortunate in its choice of 
essayists. Two representatives were chosen to present 
papers in the General Parliament. The Committee was 
equally fortunate in interesting the Rev. Wm. Sparger, 
of New York, and the Rev. Alois Kaiser, of Baltimore, 
in the work necessary for the souvenir. These gentle- 
men gave their services without compensation, and 
owing to their able efibrts, as well as to those of the 
conscientious publisher, Mr. I^. Rubovits, the Jewish 
Women's Congress has a souvenir of which it may 
justly be proud. Dr. Cyrus Adler kindly consented to 
write the introduction. 

The Congress itself was a great success, arousing the 
interest of Jews and Christians alike. The room origi- 
nally intended for the sessions was found inadequate 
to hold the audience, and the larger room chosen was 
at all times too small. At the Wednesday evening 
session, it was necessary to hold an overflow-meeting, 
the overflow completely filling another large hall. The 
meeting was, in every respect, satisfactory. The 
question of religious persecution was thoroughly dis- 
cussed, in the manner and spirit hoped for by the Com- 
mittee. The discussion was noteworthy, because Jews, 
Catholics and Protestants were animated by the same 
desire to battle in the cause of liberty of conscience. 
The influence of the Congress is, however, not to be 
measured by the size of its audiences, nor by the merits 
of its papers. Its chief result is that it brought together, 
from all parts of the country. East, West and South, 
women interested in their religion, following similar 

Introduction. 5 

lines of work, and sympatiietic in ways of thought, and 
was instramental in cementing friendships between them. 
Its outcome is a National Organization, and its use was 
to prove to the world that Israel's women, like women 
of other faiths, are interested in all that tends to bring 
men nearer together in every movement affecting the 
welfare of mankind. 

Hannah G. Solomon, Chairman. 


Monday, September 4, 10 a. m. 

Praybr Ray Frank, Oakland, Cat. 

Address, .... Ei<i,en M. Henrotin, 

Vice-President of the World's Congress Auxiliary. 
Address, .... Hannah G. Soi<omon, Chairman. 
Poem, " "White Day of Peace," . . . Miriam Dei, Banco. 

Paper, ' ' Jewish Women of Biblical and Mediaeval Times, " 

Louise Mannheimer, Cincinnati, Ohio. 
Paper, "Jewish Women of Modern Days," 

HEI.EN Kahn Weh,, Kansas City, Mo. 
Henrietta G. Frank, Chicago, III. 
Discussion, . . \ Dr. K. KoheER, New York. 

Dr. E. G. Hirsch, Chicago, III. 

Tuesday, September 5, 9.30 a. m. 
Paper, " Woman in the Synagogue, " . "S^k^ ^■b.kts.-k., Oakland, Cal. 
Discussion, .... Dr. I. S. Moses, Chicago, III. 
Paper, " Influence of the Discovery of America on the Jews," 

Pauwne H. Rosenberg, Allegheny, Pa. 

f Esther Witkowski, Chicago, III. 
Discussion . -s ^ ^ j 

' ■ I Mary Newbury Adams, Dubuque, Iowa- 

Tuesday, September 5, 2.30 p. m. 
Paper, "Women as Wage- Workers, with Special Reference 

to Directing Immigrants," JU1.IA Richman, New York. 
r Sadie G. L,EOPoi,d, Chicago, III. 
Discussion, . . . | jjjggjj. ^j^^gg i^^^oyd, Chicago, III. 

Paper, "Influence of the Jewish Religion in the Home," 

Mary M. Cohen, Philadelphia, Pa. 

fjuwA I. Fewenthae, Chicago, III. 
Discussion, . . . ^ Isabeei<a Beecher Hooker. 

(. Ada Chapman, Dallas, Texas. 

WEDNESDAY, September 6, 9.30 a. m. 
Poem, " Israel to the World in Greeting," . Cora Wieburn, 

Marshfield, Mass. 
Paper, " Charity as Taught by the Mosaic Code," 

Eva L. Stern, New York. 

Programme. 7 

Paper, "Woman's Place in Charitable Work ; Wiat it is, and 

What it should be," Carrib S. Benjamin, Denver, Col. 

( GoLDiE Bamber, Boston, Mass. 

Discussion, . . . • I r. w. Navra, New Orleans, La. 

Wednesday, September 6, 8.30 p. m. 
Address, ....... Chairman. 

Presentation oe Hymn Book, . . . Emma Frank. 

Paper, "Mission Work Among the Unenlightened Jews," 

Minnie D. Louis, New York. 
Discussion, .... Rebekah Kohut, New York. 

Paper, " How can Nations be Influenced to Protest or even 

Interfere in Cases of Persecution," Laura Jacobson, St. Louis, Mo. 
' L11.1.IB HlRSHElELD, New York. 
Archbishop Ireland, Si. Paul, Minn. 
Wii<i,iAM Onahan, Chicago, III. 
Prof. Chas. Zeubi,in, Chicago, III. 
The Rev. Jenkins Li,oyd Jones, Chicago, III. 
Dr. B. G. Hirsch, Chicago, III. 
The Rev. Ida G. Hui<Tin, Chicago, III. 


Thursday, September 7, 9.30 a. m. 
Reports, ........ 

Paper, "Organization," . . Sadts Ammkicath, Chicago, III. 

Business meeting, ....... 

Papers read before the Religious Parliament under the Auspices of 
the Committee of the Jewish Women's Congress. 

September 16. 
Paper, " The Outlook of Judaism, " Josephine Lazarus, iVifzc York. 

September 21. 
Paper, " What Judaism has done for Woman," 

Henrietta Szoi,d, Baltimore, Md. 

Monday, September 4, 1893, 10 a. m. 


Ray Frank, Oakland, Cal. 

Almighty God, Creator and Ruler of the universe, 
through Whose justice and mercy this first convention 
of Jewish women has been permitted to assemble, 
accept our thanks, and hearken, O I<ord, to our prayer. 

In times past, when storms of cruel persecution drove 
us toward the reefs of adversity, seemingly overwhelmed 
by misfortune, we had faith in Thee and Thy works, 
ever trusting and believing that Thou ordainest all 
things well. Because of this faith, we feel that Thou 
hast, in the course of events, caused this glorious con- 
gress to convene, that it may give expression to that 
which shall spread broadcast a knowledge of Thee and 
Thy deeds. 

Grant, then, Thy blessing upon those assembled, and 
upon the object of their meeting. May the peculiar cir- 
cumstances, which have brought together, under one 
roof, both Catholic and Jew, who, for centuries, have 
been seeking to serve Thee, though in different ways, be 
a promise of future peace. Grant, we beseech Thee, 
that this convention may be productive of that which is 
in accordance with Thy will. 

Bless, O Lord, this our country and the President 
thereof, and all the people of the land. May love and 
peace be the heritage of men, to remain with them for- 
ever. Amen. 



Ellen M. Henrotin, Chicago, III. 

In Chicago, to-day, in this young, so-called " material- 
istic World-City," the representatives of the religion 
which has had the greatest influence over the creeds of 
modem civilization are gathered together. If a glorious 
past can insure a glorious future, then this parliament 
of Jewish women is moving on to a great triumph. 

To what other race of women has it been given to 
inspire the spiritual ideals, not alone of its own people, 
but of the entire civilized world? To them, the arts 
and literature have turned for inspiration, until the type 
of character and of beauty of the Jewess is cosmopolitan, 
and surrounded with a halo of mysterious beauty, and 
now the spirit of association has come to them — the 
greatest modem factor, "working for righteousness." 
Dr. Stevenson, in her address to the General Federation 
of Women's Clubs, said that the " Brotherhood of man 
can only come through the Sisterhood of Woman " — a 
profound truth, and every day that sisterhood is enlarg- 
ing, and is permeating society. 

The great number assembled in response to the call of 
the committee testifies to the universality of sentiment 
on this point among Jewish women. That this meeting 
may result in a national organization is my earnest 

I have the pleasure of introducing, as the permanent 
presiding officer of the Congress, Mrs. Hannah Solomon, 
to whose courage, energy and devotion the success of 
this Congress will be due. 


Hannah G. Solomon, Chairman. 

It is my pleasant duty, as chairman of the local com- 
mittee, to extend to you all a hearty welcome to our city 
and to our Congress, the first Jewish Women's Congress. It 
was with some misgiving that I accepted a position on the 
general committee on Parliament of Religions, realizing 
that it was a new departure for the Jewish woman to 
occupy herself with matters pertaining to religion. But 
I felt that in the Parliament of Religions, where women 
of all creeds were represented, the Jewish woman should 
have a place. I was fortunate enough to secure a com- 
mittee thoroughly in sympathy with me, all its members 
believing that, on an occasion on which women and men 
of all creeds are realizing that the ties that bind us are 
stronger than the differences that separate, that when 
the world is giving to Israel the liberty, long withheld, 
of taking its place among all religions, to teach the 
truths it holds, for the benefit of man and the glory of 
the Creator, the place of the Jewish woman should not 
be vacant. I need not say that the work has been great, 
and it is with pleasure that I look back upon the harmo- 
nious, efi&cient work of the committee. The only fault 
I might find is the too great enthusiasm shown and the 
confidence with which I was honored, causing me " to 
rush, where angels feared to tread." I am sure that the 
committee will always look back upon our work for the 
Congress with much pleasure, the sang froid with which 
we treated Roberts' rules resulting in tatters of parlia- 


Address — Solomon. i i 

mentary law which we shall treasure as trophies. And 
to the women of other cities, as well as of our own, who 
so earnestly seconded our efforts, I extend our sin- 
cere thanks. To the women of the general committee 
on Religious Parliament, representing all sects and 
creeds, our appreciation is due for the interest they have 
always felt in our work. Could the good-will enter- 
tained for each other by the members of the general 
committee be disseminated in the entire world, there 
would be no need of a Parliament of Religions ; for each 
was desirous not merely to be just, but generous, in her 
treatment of others. I hope the same spirit may char- 
acterize all the congresses. To the women at the head 
of the Exposition, all women owe homage. The Presi- 
dent and the Vice-President of the Woman's Branch of 
the Auxiliary must ever pose as goddesses of liberty for 
the women of our century, the one in material, the other 
in spiritual things, gaining for all women the full privi- 
lege of exercising their talents and capabilities. Our 
papers are not intended to startle the world as literary 
efforts, but we wish seriously to consider problems that 
axe to be solved, in order to help along the great work 
of bringing men nearer together, to be co-workers in a 
world requiring the best efforts of all. 

In our " Souvenir," a collection of the traditional 
songs of our people, we pay our tribute to the work and 
worth of those of our faith who have lived and suffered, 
making it possible for us to have our faith in this land 
of liberty. We pay our tribute to the traditions of the 
past, which were dear to our forefathers, who, however 
oppressed and unhappy, sang these songs. They were 
their staff and their stay. From the Ghetto they 
resounded, they raised them to a spiritual plane which 
no walls could encompass. Chanting the prayers and 
singing the songs uplifted them, so that they forgot 

12 Jewish Women's Congress. 

their misery. And we in this land of liberty and pros- 
perity, in this Columbian era, should not forget the 
deeper tones struck in days of adversity. We have not 
merely tried to publish a book, but we wished to pre- 
serve our traditions. lyiving, as we do, in this renegade 
city, belonging to radical congregations, thoroughly in 
sympathy with all endeavors to break down barriers, we 
are loyal to our faith, to our history and to the traditions 
of our families. In this sense, as a tribute to the past, 
we give our book to our co-religionists. 

To those who are not of our faith, to many of whom 
we are bound by ties of love and friendship, as strong as 
those of faith, we bid a hearty welcome, and invite them 
to take part in our discussions and be frank with us. 
Perhaps, in this wise, we may overcome some of the 
inherited prejudices unfavorable to us, and if we cannot 
gain sympathy, we may at least command respect. To 
our delegates, we extend a special greeting. We expected 
to arouse interest, but the response has exceeded our 
fondest expectations. 

And let us, above all things, remember that we are 
children of many mothers, that we have different points 
of view, different methods of reasoning. lyct us be just 
to each other, give to each one the same patient hearing 
that we ask for ourselves. Let those of us who have 
orthodox views, believe that the radical views may be as 
sincere as our own; those of us who are radical, believe 
the others just as honest as ourselves, so that harmony 
and peace may mark our going as our coming. 


Miriam Dei, Banco, Chicago, III. 

Heard ye the golden bells of peace that angels softly sway, 
When, on the skies of progress, dawns the rose of freedom's day ? 
Heard ye the winds — the sweet, soft winds — that, through the 

scented air. 
Swept o'er our boundless prairies like a whispered voice in prayer ? 
O, heard ye not above the waves that swell time's rushing tide, 
A voice that to the ages like a silver clarion cried: 
"White day of peace ! by Toleration crowned and glorified !" 

O day divine ! no industry alone thy kiss may claim. 

No single art or science bear the impress of thy name, 

No order trail its garlands through the splendor of thy hours. 

No nation wave its banners 'mid thy sunshine and thy flowers; 

All mankind — all the sons of earth thy countless ranks increase; 

Their lips proclaim, in ringing tones whose echoes ne'er shall cease, 

A congress of religions — God's great festival of peace. 

But why, 'mid all this gleam and glow, shines the Menorah's fire? 
Why throb through every festal strain the notes of David's lyre ? 
Why from the silken scroll resounds the tinkling silver bell ? 
Why gather with rejoicings loud the sons of Israel ? 
The quaint old Hebrew blessings of their fathers everywhere 
Seem mingled with Joy's dimpled laugh and Gratitude's low prayer, 
And blend like murmured music on the flower-laden air. 

Four centuries look back upon a time when sunny Spain 
Tore from her heart the bleeding child of misery and pain; 
Rent tie and tendril from the graves and altars of his sires; 
His sacred home, his golden fields laid low in smouldering fires; 
Then, turning on the hated Jew with torture-racking hand, 
She hunted him from hill and vale and silver-gleaming strand; 
And — " sorrow's crown of sorrow " — robbed him of his fatherland ! 

Then floated over earth once more that cry of mortal pain 
Whose mem'ry steals not only from the scented vales of Spain; 
From Russia's steppes, from Bucharest, from England's daisied sod. 
That cry of tortured Israel has swept aloft to God; 
And now it trailed its pain upon the ocean's silver crest. 
And e'en the dark-blue waters spoke of tumult and unrest, 
Yet drifted toward the pearly gates that bar the sunset west. 


14 Jewish Women's Congress. 

Ah, gazing from some lonely deck, up through the silent air, 
Unconscious of the answer to his supplicating prayer, 
The weary exile heeded not as, toward the western sky, 
Three white-winged ships — God's messengers — went slowly sail- 
ing by; 
Sailed toward the line where sunset veils of gold and violet 
Concealed an infant world that dreamed in dewy verdure yet, 
Ere broke that dawning freedom's day whose sun has never set. 

O bright New World, within thine arms the wanderer found rest; 
The scourged and outlawed one revived, clasped to thy throbbing 

Clasped to thy heart, where hope's white bloom, picked fresh from 

freedom's sod, 
Bore on its breath the exile's prayer of gratitude to God. 
With thee, his manhood's sacred rights he dared once more to 

With thee, he dared once more to breathe Jehovah's holy name, 
To hold aloft the lamp of truth, and feed its living flame. 

And thus, of all who in the light of thy protection dwell, 
None clings to thee with deeper love than grateful Israel; 
The heart from which the first grand cry for freedom sprang to 

And thrilled the world, beats close to thine, in days of peace and 

Its pure devotion to thy cause no stain, no blemish mars; 
And though he bears or may not bear the soldier's honored scars, 
None than the Jew more loyally defends thy stripes and stars. 

For thee he strives each day to prove man's brotherhood to man, 

For thee he seeks the scholar's fame, the crown of artisan; 

The prophet's wisdom, David's gift, Spinoza's thought sublime, 

And Heine's art and Mendelssohn's, through Israel, are thine; 

Yea, every heart its tribute brings, its love forevermore; — 

None can forget the voice whose call once thrilled from shore to 

" Ye outcast, scourged and weary ones, lo, enter at my door !" 

And therefore in this gleam and glow shines the Menorah's fire 
While echo through each festal strain the notes of David's lyre; 
Sweet Nature lifts her floral horn the notes of peace to swell 
That float from every happy heart in grateful Israel. 
The hilltops are aglow with light; and hark, from far away, 
Float dreamily the chimes of bells that unseen angels sway; 
'Tis Toleration's jubilee — her white-robed festal day ! 



Louise Mannheimer, Cincinnati, O. 

To be called upon to speak in these halls, where the 
giants in the realm of learning assemble from week to 
week to give their best thoughts to the world, brings to 
my mind the words of the men whom Moses sent to spy 
out the promised land. They said: "We saw there 
giants, the sons of Anak, and we were in our own eyes 
as grasshoppers, and so were we in their eyes." Biit 
Caleb and Joshua were not afraid, for they trusted in the 
I/3rd. So even I will not be afraid, and put my trust in 
the Eternal. 

The history of the women of the Bible, like all his- 
torical writings, can be approached in three ways; either 
one accepts all the data unhesitatingly, with childlike 
faith, or by extensive reading and comparing of original 
texts, one strives to arrive at critical conclusions as to 
the facts, or by reading and re-reading the Bible, time 
and again, with earnest and absorbing zeal, one acquires 
the ability to grasp the deeper underlying meaning of 
the outward forms and to trace the psychological causes 
of the acts and deeds. 

Very few women are in the happy position to have 
the required opportunities or even the necessary time for 
the studies which alone can enable one to arrive at inde- 
pendent, critical conclusions, while, on the other hand, 
it is pre-eminently woman who, when she does read the 
Bible, reads it, as it were, with her heart. 


i6 Jewish Women's Congress. 

This it is which enables her to recognize the pres- 
ence of the Eternal in the still small voice of history, to 
find the guiding hand of Jehovah in every historical 
event, as well as in the events in the life of each indi- 
vidual. She feels the pangs which are the source of 
tears to desolate Zion, and Zion's joy brings a happy 
smile to her face. 

Through this deep sympathy, she is enabled to trace 
to their very sources the manifestations of the hidden 
emotions and energies of soul and mind, and to enlarge 
the scant but suggestive material which the Scriptures 
supply in regard to the history of " The Women of the 

As a clear brook reflects the objects on its banks, 
without enhancing their beauty or obliterating their 
defects, so does the Bible delineate the recorded charac- 
ters without exaggerating their virtues or concealing 
their shortcomings. 

The Women of the Bible ! what graceful forms, 
imbued with all that is good and noble, surrounded by the 
wonderful beauty of Oriental scener}"^, rise at these words 
before our mind, out of the gray mist of the hoary past ! 

In the multitude of types of maidenly loveliness, 
womanly beauty and matronly dignity, there are 
three groups which especially claim our attention 
and admiration. 

These are not ideals, standing high above the level of 
human nature, to whom we can only look up with rev- 
erential awe, as if they were beings of a higher order 
who are beyond our comprehension — by no means. 

We need but look into our own hearts to understand 
their impulses; we must but heed the longings of our 
own souls to comprehend their aspirations. 

The three prominent groups among the women of the 
Bible, of whom this paper can give but a short sketch on 

Women of Biblical Times — Mannheimer. 17 

account of the limited time, are, the Mothers in Israel, 
the Prophetesses in Israel, and the women who solved 
the problem of the proper sphere of woman's activity in 
Israel at this early historical time. 

The Mothers in Israel ! There is no title of honor 
which through all the generations of the adherents of 
Mosaic I^aw was more revered than this sweet, blessed 
name of " mother " and justly so, for what watchful care, 
what tender devotion, what self-sacrificing love are 
expressed in the name by which Sarah, Rebecca and 
Rachel are distinguished ! 

Sarah, the Bible shows us at once, in her womanly 
dignity, the faithful friend and companion of her hus- 
band Abraham, in whose soul dawned the great light of 
the world, the conception of the one and only God. 
The perfect confidence Abraham puts in Sarah on all 
occasions proves that she must have had a clear under- 
standing of his great mission. 

A promise of great blessing and an abundance of 
earthly possessions is hers, still she remains modest and 
active, for lo ! three strangers pass, and Abraham desires 
them to partake of his hospitality. He does not call his 
young men, nor the hand-maids, but he calls Sarah, the 
princess, the honored mistress of the house, and she 
kneads the dough, and she bakes the cakes. What a 
grand lesson in this simple narrative ! 

We can trace Sarah's kind and motherly disposition 
in her solicitude for l/ot. We find written: "And 
Sarah sent Eliezer to inquire after the welfare of Lot."* 
Lot had separated himself from Abraham, in whose 
house he had been brought up like a son; he did not 
send to inquire after the welfare of his foster-parents, 
nor did Abraham show, by any outward sign, that lie 

*Dr. B. Beer "Lebea Abrahams.' 


1 8 JEWISH Women's Congress. 

missed L,ot, but Sarah felt more than the others the sep- 
aration, for her heart hungered for the love of a. child. 

After years of unwavering faith, the long deferred 
hope was realized. Isaac, the promised of God, had 
been given them, and now behold the God-fearing parents 
endeavor to prove themselves worthy of the happiness 
the Eternal has granted them. 

Wide open are the portals of their house to the poor 
and the needy; those that hunger partake of food, and 
the needy ones are supplied with the necessaries of life. 
If any of the grateful ones wish to thank them, they 
answer: " Thank the Eternal who created all things; 
all we receive belongs to Him." 

The first moral lesson to humanity was given by 
Abraham and Sarah. To feed the hungry, to give rai- 
ment to the needy, to speak kindly to the unfortunate, 
to act justly toward all mankind, and to be grateful to 
the Eternal — this is what Abraham taught to his house- 
hold, and what Sarah put into practice. 

Rebecca at the well, in childlike simplicity and charm- 
ing kindness filling the trough for the camels, after hav- 
ing quenched the thirst of the stranger, what an attrac- 
tive picture ! Just as attractive as when, on seeing her 
future husband in the field, she alights from the camel 
in gentle deference, and covers herself with her veil in 
modest dignity. Rebecca combines all the sweet traits 
which arise from a generous heart, whose quick impulses 
are balanced by an understanding mind. 

In the house of Abraham she learned to believe and 
trust in the Eternal, and so firm and strong grew her 
faith that she is the first woman in Israel of whom it is 
written: " In her distress she asked the Lord, and the 
lyord answered her." 

An earnest and trusting prayer is sure to be answered 
even to-day as of yore, but where the prayers are only 

Women of Biblical Times — Mannheimer. 19 

recited^ it is done so euphoniously that our ear is filled 
with the euphony of the sounds, and canno.t hear any- 
thing else. Rebecca's one failing, her partiality to 
her younger son, bore the seed of bitter fruit for her- 
self. By the endeavor to secure Esau's blessing for 
Jacob, she drove her favorite son from her presence for 

Children are variously gifted; parents should discern 
that it is not in the child's power to have one gift rather 
than another, less to the taste of the father or the mother 
perhaps. To lead their different inclinations in the 
proper direction, and bestow an equal amount of affec- 
tion on each child, these are the sacred duties devolving 
upon parents. 

Rachel, the shepherdess, in all the blooming beauty 
of youth, approaching the well where Jacob met her, 
will always be an object of admiration, though Leah, 
the less favored with outward charms, had a gentler and 
more devoted disposition. Leah eagerly and fully 
accepted the one and only God, of whose wonderful 
power and merciful love Jacob told them, but in Rachel 
there was still lingering an inclination toward the idols 
in her father's house, until the firm conviction of Jacob 
kindled the pure light of monotheism also in her soul. 
However, with all her shortcomings, Rachel must have 
been very lovable to be able to win such deep, unwaver- 
ing affection as we find so touchingly described in Gene- 
sis xxix. 20, " And Jacob served for Rachel seven years; 
and they seemed to him but a few days through the love 
he had to her." 

The most pronounced characteristics of the " Mothers 
in Israel " are their devotion to the duties of home and 
the deep and tender love for their children. 

The next group claiming our attention is the group 
of prophetesses in Israel. 

20 Jewish Women's Congress. 

In times of great events it is that the spirit of the 
I^ord moves, as it were, on the wings of a mighty but 
voiceless storm. Responsive souls are touched by the 
waves of the heaving commotion — others hear nothing,, 
and feel nothing. 

Miriam was the first among the women in Israel, 
whose responsive soul was moved by the breath of 
the Lord. With timbrel in hand, she led forth the 
women at the shore of the Red Sea, and sang the song of 
triumph, " Sing ye to the Lord, for He hath triumphed 
gloriously ; the horse and his rider hath He thrown into 
the sea." 

Even as a child, Miriam must have been uncommonly 
thoughtful, or her mother would not have sent her to 
watch over the infant Moses. Patiently did she wait till 
she saw her little brother safe in the arms of Pharaoh's 

With what intelligence did she act to secure the privi- 
lege of the care of the child for her mother ! 

Surely, these were the germs from which grew the 
rich blossoms of the gifts of her womanhood. 

What a pity that one chilling gust of unsuppressed 
envy caused these rich blossoms to wither and droop ! 

Miriam grew jealous; she, the faithful companion of 
Moses' early youth, could not endure the thought that 
on account of Zipporah, the -Ethiopian, she had to be 
content with a smaller share of her brother's affection. 

" And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses, because 
of the Ethiopian woman he had married." 

Great as was this transgression of Miriam, so was also 
her punishment; she became leprous. The good deeds 
of her childhood, however, were not forgotten. She had 
patiently waited and watched over Moses on the shore 
of the Nile, now the whole camp of Israel waited for 
her until she was healed. 

"Women of Bibi,icai, Times — Mannheimer. 21 

The growing intellectual and spiritual development 
of the women in Israel is well marked in Miriam, but 
with Deborah this development reaches a glorious culmi- 
nation. Prophet, judge, leader in battle, poet and sacred 
singer, where in history do we see all these various 
offices filled by one individual, by a woman ? And who 
was Deborah ? Was she a princess, or the descendant of 
a high-priest, or the daughter of a man of high standing, 
and so a woman of authority ? By no means, she was 
but the daughter of lowly parents and the wife of I^api- 
doth, a man not distinguished by position or wealth. 

To hold the responsible position of judge, Deborah 
must have combined natural talents with untiring perse- 
verance to cultivate and perfect them for the service of 
God, i. e., for the advancement of her fellow-beings. 
Deborah's husband had perfect confidence in her, for he 
knew that the Eternal was with her. 

And Deborah prophesied to Barak that he would be 
victorious, still he was wanting in courage to go without 
her into the battle, so she was forced to leave for 
the first time her quiet home in order to secure the 

Her prophecy was fulfilled to the very word; the vic- 
tory was given to the Jewish people by the I^ord, and 
brought them the clear consciousness that they were the 
people of the Eternal, the witnesses of the one and only 

After the enemy is overthrown, Deborah bursts into 
a song of triumph in strains which only the psalmists 
and prophets have equaled in inspiration and beauty, 
still she does not claim any other title than: " Deborah, 
a Mother in Israel." 

Several hundred years later there arose another proph- 
etess in Israel. Hilkia, the high-priest, while repairing 
and cleansing the sadly neglected house of the Lord, 

22 Jewish Women's Congress. 

found the forgotten Book of the I^aw. When the con- 
tents of the book were made known to Josiah, the king, 
it aroused him to the full comprehension of the people's 
transgressions and their ingratitude toward the Eternal. 
In his consternation and grief, he rent his clothes, and 
sent to inquire of the Lord for him and for the people. 
And to whom did his high officers go to inquire? Not 
to the young prophet Jeremiah, not to Zephaniah, but to 
the prophetess Huldah. Her reputation for superior 
wisdom and profound knowledge of the Law must have 
been well established. And where did the high officers 
go to seek her ? According to the explanation of Jona- 
than, they found her iti the College. " Huldah, the 
prophetess, she was the wife of Shallum, the son of the 
keeper of the garments, and she dwelled in the College." 
What an abundance of conclusions can be derived from 
this statement ! 

There were, then, no restrictive regulations at that 
time to exclude women from colleges among the Israel- 
ites, and women, even married women, were thirsty 
enough after the limpid waters flowing from the source of 
Zion, to take advantage of the opportunity offered to them. 

There is, then, even in those remote times a precedent 
for the liberal views of the Hebrew Union College. 
Huldah came not forward of her own accord. We do 
not hear of her before nor after the king sends to her, 
for with all the exquisite gifts of prophecy and profound 
knowledge, she still retains the true womanly modesty 
of a Mother in Israel. 

And now let us turn our attention to a group of ener- 
getic women, who, by their example, showed how to 
solve, with quiet dignity, the problem of the proper 
sphere of woman's activity. 

The five daughters of Zelophchad, a descendant of 
Menasseh, pleaded personally their rights of inheritance 

Women op Bibucai, Times — Mannheimer. 23 

before Moses and before Eliezer, the priest, and before 
the princes and the whole congregation at the door of 
the tabernacle. They said, " Why should the name of 
our father be done away from the midst of his family 
because he has no son ? Give unto us a possession among 
the brothers of our father." And they were answered, 
" The daughters of Zelophchad speak rightly, they shall 
indeed have a possession among the brothers of their 
father,- and the inheritance of their father shall pass unto 

With remarkable independence did Abigail act when 
David sent his men to obtain food for himself and his 
warriors of the rich but mean Nabal, the unworthy hus- 
band of Abigail, and he refused the request One of the 
servants of the household narrates the occurrence to 
Abigail in order to warn her of David's wrath. 

With quick judgment does she comprehend at once 
the situation; not a moment does she hesitate, or stop to 
ask advice, but orders at once two hundred loaves, two 
bottles of wine, iive sheep ready dressed, five measures 
of parched com, a hundred clusters of raisins and two 
hundred cakes of figs to be conveyed to David. She her- 
self accompanies the servants, and by her wisdom suc- 
ceeds in calming David's wrath and preventing him from 
shedding blood. We see here the absolute authority 
woman could exercise in a Jewish household, even three 
thousand years ago, by her self-possession and dignity, 
even under the most trying circumstances. 

Another incident which shows that energy well 
directed is the talisman that will secure success alike to 
woman and to man, is the event at the return of the gen- 
tle Shunammite from the land of the Philistines; she 
had gone there by the advice of Elisha, the prophet, 
during the famine in Judsea. On her return she finds 
her house and land confiscated. She does not ask the 

24 Jewish Women's Congress. 

prophet to plead her case before the king; which Elisha 
would certainly have done, but she goes herself before 
Jehoram, and asks modestly, but firmly for redress, and 
obtains it fully and at once. 

So we find woman in the full enjoyment of equality 
of rights in Israel, even to the extent of the highest ofi&ce 
in the land, the office of ruler. 

Alexander Jannseus, King of Judsea, when he felt 
his end approaching, called his wife Alexandra, and gave 
her such counsel as would secure her the kingdom. 

He must have had the perfect conviction that her sex 
would prove no hindrance to her occupancy of the throne, 
and that she would be equal to the task, and so she was 
indeed. In a short time she had secured the homage of 
the warriors of the nation, whom she led on to victory. 
She reigned for nine years, during which time she main- 
tained peace by energy and prudent counsel. Alexandra 
displayed the ability of a woman to rule a nation; other 
women proved themselves equally capable to be leaders 
in the realm of mind. 

The book of Mosaic laws, found in the time of King 
Josiah, contained the precept that women should be 
admitted to listen to the public reading and expounding 
of the Law, and such good use was made by them of 
this privilege, that in Talmudic times there flourished 
many a woman whose authority in the expounding of 
the Law was acknowledged even by the rabbis. 
Beruria, the learned and pious wife of Rabbi Meir, 
acquired great renown. In Bagdad, the daughter of 
Rabbi Samuel ben Ali gave public lectures, as did also 
Miriam Shapira, the ancestress of the renowned L,uria 
family. Graetz, in his " History of the Jews," speaks 
highly of the Talmudic knowledge of Paula dei Mansi, 
the wife of Jechiel; she copied commentaries on the 
Bible so beautifully that her writing is still admired. 

Women of Bibi,icai< Times — Mannheimer. 25 

Jewish women in all spheres of life held an honored 
position by their pure devotion to the sacred duties of 
the family, by their rich and well-perfected gifts of intel- 
lect and by their self-directed energy, but above all by 
their steadfast clinging to the belief in the one and only 

Even women of other nations, when the pure laws of 
Jewish religion were made known to them, acknowl- 
edged their unsurpassed loftiness, and willingly adhered 
to them. Helena, the pious queen of Adiabene, is a 
noble example of these women; Ifra, the mother of the 
Persian king Shaber II, was strongly attached to Juda- 
ism without formally accepting it. The deep respect she 
felt for Jewish teachings, she showed by rich presents to 
their teachers. The same facts are recorded of Empress 
Judith, wife of the Prankish Emperor, I^udwig the Pious. 
A prelate of the court who wished to gain favor with her, 
dedicated to her his writings about the books of Esther 
and Judith, in which he compared her to these two Jew- 
ish heroines. Jews were freely admitted to the court, 
and to show her high appreciation and respect for them, 
she bestowed on them costly presents. 

If we look for the most prominent trait among Jewish 
women of biblical and mediaeval times, we shall find 
maiden and mother, prophetess and queen alike distin- 
guished by perfect trust in the Eternal. In their dis- 
tress they turn to Him, in perplexity they ask His coun- 
sel, and joy and happiness they accept gratefully as gifts 
from His hand. How few of us know the blessing of 
this ever-present faith ! If we could but take the time 
to follow closely the intricate windings of our own lives, 
we would by their very events be safely led through the 
labyrinth of doubt and indifference to that Holy of 
Holies, a perfect trust in the Eternal, such as the 
Mothers of Israel possessed. 


Helen Kahn Weil, Kansas City, Mo. 

Show me a great man — I will show you a great 
mother ! Show me a great race — I will show you an 
unending line of great mothers ! 

In the chronicles of time, whose synonym is eter- 
nity, Israel and Greece stand out as the two great nations 
of the world. Each of these peoples had its special mis- 
sion to humanity — one, the teaching of eternal beauty, 
the other, the propaganda of the one great God, Who is 
both spirit and beauty. 

In the annals of Greece, we read of Tyrtseus, the 
singer, whose inspiring song aroused the Spartans to 
battle when all other means had failed; in the tablets of 
Israel, we read of the prophetess and poetess, Deborah, 
who sat under the palm tree, chanting martial hymns, 
whose theme was the glory of Jehovah, the one true God. 

Beauty is masculine ! Spirit is feminine ! Never is 
there an idea but has its obverse and reverse sides. The 
thought of Plato making the perfect being both male 
and female is not a discord. The earth, what would it 
be without this duality, which gives us the essence as 
well as the substance of creation ? I believe it was James 
Freeman Clarke who used to pray to " Our Father and 
mother which are in Heaven," and if the great and good 
God maketh man in His own image, and if he is but a 
microcosm of his Creator, then surely the venerable 
divine was not amiss in his teachings, 


Jewish Women of Modern Days — Weil. 27 

Possibly, it may savor a little of heresy, this utterance 
of mine, that Israel pre-eminently endures, a symbol of 
woman's regenerative power. But proofs are not want- 
ing to attest this assertion. 

The greatest law-giver who ever drew breath owed 
the possibility of his career to woman. Pharaoh's 
daughter, who found the little Moses in his wave-rocked 
cradle, and nourished him as the fulcrum of her own 
being; Miriam, the houri-eyed, sweet-voiced sister, 
whose triumphant songs inspired the wavering tribes of 
Israel to follow their chosen leader through the unknown 
dangers of the trackless desert, are incarnations of this 
truth. Bver as the centuries grew apace, and the pur- 
pose of Israel waxed more and more manifest, did this 
verity assert itself. All through the Old Testament, at 
the most crucial times, it is a Deborah, a Judith, an 
Esther, upon whom the fate of their people revolves, and 
in more modem days, the discerning eye of Clio still 
awards this salient place to the women of Israel. . 

In Spain, where the descendants of the House of 
David were given sufficient breathing time to devote 
themselves anew to the study of philosophy and poetry 
there were women philosophers and poets, and after- 
ward, when the direful day of expulsion came, it was the 
mothers, wives and sisters of these ill-fated refugees who 
bore them up in their time of trouble. 

In the awful roll of Jewish martyrs, woman does not 
stand a whit behind her brother, in her willingness to 
suffer loss of home, fortune and life for the sake of her 
holy religion. The tales told of these delicately nurtured 
women deliberately turning their backs upon the abodes 
that had sheltered their families for so many generations, 
clasping their weeping little ones to their breasts, and 
encouraging their husbands through their valorous exam- 
ples, are a legion. 

28 Jewish Women's Congress. 

One of the most exquisite of the Old Testament idyls 
finds its repetition over and over again in these days. 
Many are the faithful Ruths who say in dauntless voices, 
" Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from follow- 
ing after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go, and 
where thou lodgest, I will lodge." 

In the sixteenth century, it was in Italy that the Jew 
was permitted to lead the most unmolested existence. 
The Hebrews who had inhabited the Italic peninsula 
previous to the Spanish dispersion were a rather mediocre 
class, but the influx of the polished Sephardim brethren, 
filled with memories of Hebrew and Arabic lore, infused 
new life into their sleepy existence. 

Sitting on the shores of the Grand Canal at Venice, the 
foam-crested Mediterranean dashing its spray against her 
face, a Spanish Jewess would tell an Italian sister stories of 
the beautiful country from which she had just wandered. 
Extracts from Maimonides' " Guide for the Perplexed " 
would be interspersed with echoes from Ibn Gabirol, 
Moses ben Esra and Jehuda ben Halevi — " May my 
tongue cleave unto my mouth, and may my right hand 
wither, do I e'er forget thee, (0 Jerusalem ! " 

To the sad-eyed woman who chanted Halevi's song, 
the word Jerusalem bore a double meaning: it meant 
Palestine, the home of her forefathers, and it meant 
Spain, her own and her children's birthplace. And so, 
over the length and breadth of Europe, did these wan- 
dering people carry the tale of their culture and their 
past glory with them, and as there is no seed, be it never 
so wind-blown, but finds, sooner or later, some fruitful 
soil which receives it, and nourishes it, so did the thought 
which these homeless strangers carried with them find its 
mission, and do its good. 

Graetz says that the Italian Jews of the sixteenth cen- 
tury were a people of few natural resources, that their 

jBwiSH Women op Modern Days — Weii,. 29 

literature was meagre, and that their achievements were 
few and far between. What little they did produce 
was due mostly to the Spanish Jews, who had taken up 
their homes amidst them. Nearly every prominent 
character at this period bears a Spanish name. 

Among the few notable women of the sixteenth cen- 
tury, Benvenida Abravanel takes leading rank. Her 
husband was the son of him who vainly tendered his 
entire fortune to Ferdinand and Isabella, in order that 
the impending edict against his people might be repealed. 
From this sire, Samuel Abravanel inherited the remark- 
able financial gifts that enabled him speedily to recon- 
struct the family fortunes. He and his wife deserve to 
be called the Moses and Judith Montefiore of their 
period. Thus sings a poet of the day his praises: 
" Samuel Abravanel merits the triple crown. He is 
great and wise in the I^aw, great in nobility of character 
and great in the possession of riches.' ' To the name of 
his patron, Samuel Usque might have joined, without 
fear of incurring censure for extravagance, that of his 
patroness, the beautiful and gifted Benvenida. 

Don Pedro, Viceroy of Naples, held her in such high 
esteem, he chose her to be the intimate companion and 
adviser to his daughter, lyconora, who afterward became 
the wife of Cosimo di Medici. Through a long life, 
this princess continued to remember her Jewish friend, 
addressing to her letters, whose spirit was the very incar- 
nation of tender, filial devotion. 

When Charles V., crowned with the laurel gained by his 
African victories, was passing through Naples, it was his 
intention to expel the Jews from that city, but Benvenida, 
supported by the entreaties of her young charge, suc- 
ceeded in deterring him from fulfilling his cruel purpose. 

The Abravanel mansion was a popular rendezvous^ 
where cultivated Christians, as well as Jews, loved to 

30 Jewish Women's Congress. 

assemble. Clironicle tells us of one John Albert Wid- 
manstadt, a pupil of Reuchlin, and a man of encyclopae- 
dic learning, taking up his abode there to further his 
advancement in Hebrew studies. At this distant time, 
it is rather difficult to realize the impediments besetting 
such intentions. Incited by Luther, Erasmus and 
Reuchlin, the learned world was just beginning anew to 
interest itself in the Scriptural tongue, and as the Jews 
were thus far almost the only custodians of the sacred 
language, a barrier between themselves and the Chris- 
tians was withdrawn, when such intercourse was necessi- 

Contemporaneously with Benvenida Abravanel flour- 
ished a woman of Portuguese Neo-Christian extraction, 
whose serenity of soul, amiability of character and cour- 
ageous steadfastness of purpose in prosperity, as well as 
adversity, constitute her one of the greatest female bene- 
factors of her race. This was Donna Gracia Mendes. 
She was married to the principal member of a noted 
banking house, the extent of whose business relations 
with Charles V., Francis I. and other sovereigns enabled 
it to achieve a European reputation. 

lyike many of her people, forced by a cruel decree to 
subscribe to a faith which was only an intolerable simu- 
lation. Donna Gracia longed with pious fervor to be ena- 
bled once again to repeat untrammeled the confession 
of her fathers: " Hear, O Israel, the lyord, our God, the 
Lord is One !" 

After the death of her husband, prompted by this 
desire, strengthened no doubt by fresh edicts of persecu- 
tion against the Neo-Christians, accompanied by the one 
remaining pledge of her marriage, her daughter Reyna, 
she sought refuge with her husband's kindred at Ant- 
werp. From this ephemeral vantage-ground, she and 
her wealthy brother-in-law spent fortune upon fortune 

Jewish Women of Modern Days — Weil. 31 

in endeavoring to rescue from torture and tiie stake 
those of their unhappy co-religionists who were still 
under the fell dominion of the fanatical John of Portugal. 

Notwithstanding the prominent position maintained 
by her family at Antwerp, where a nephew stood high 
at court, Donna Gracia was not content. In Flanders, 
which was still under the Austrian-Spanish rigime^ an 
open relapse to Judaism meant almost certain death, but 
until 1546, when the decease of her kinsman promoted 
her to the position of chief of the banking firm, she 
found a removal from Antwerp impossible. 

Even then did fickle fortune continue to circumvent 
her, for hardly had Diego closed his eyes, when the insa- 
tiable greed of Charles V. prompted him to lay covetous 
hands upon the Mendes estate. The only excuse for so 
unwarrantable an action was the omnipresent charge of 
defection from the Holy Roman Church. 

For two years did Donna Gracia combat the inquisi- 
torial hydra, and even at the expiration of this long 
period, she was not permitted to depart from the coun- 
try without surrendering a considerable portion of her 
worldly goods. 

Once arrived at Venice, whence she had hoped speedily 
to embark for Turkey, new troubles awaited her. Her 
own sister, envious of her superior position, charged her 
with secret adherence to Judaism. The designed transfer 
of her estates to Turkey was also revealed. The Vene- 
tian authorities, always jealous of the Porte, were loath 
to permit such great riches to pass into the hands of the 
enemy. Donna Gracia was, therefore, thrown into prison, 
where she languished for many months, until she was 
released at the solicitation of Sultan Suleiman, who dis- 
patched an especial envoy to Venice to efiect this purpose. 

After a sojourn of some years at Ferrara, where, for its 
devotion to polite learning, her own little court bore no 

32 Jewish Womkn's Congress. 

mean comparison with that of Ercole D'Este, accompa- 
nied by her suite, consisting of some five hundred per- 
sons, she embarked for the Orient. 

Having reached Constantinople, all dissimulation was 
thrown to the winds, and she stood before the world a 
self-acknowledged and self-respecting daughter of Israel. 
Here she witnessed the consummation of the long- 
delayed nuptials of her daughter Reyna, and her favorite 
nephew Joseph. As Prince and Princess of Naxos, 
favored by the Sultan and feared by his people, 
fate had an exalted destiny in store for this young- 

The name of Donna Gracia and that of her daughter 
find frequent repetition in the literature of the period. 
Many are the books inscribed to them, and many are 
the songs sung in their praise. One of the first Hebrew 
printing presses erected in Turkey, was constructed by 
Reyna, Princess of Naxos, for the purpose of issuing a 
new and much needed edition of the Talmud. 

A marked contrast to that of the two preceding char- 
acters, is the career of Esther Kiera, physician and poli- 
tician at the court of Sultan Murad III. Acknowledged 
favorite of the queen of his harem, she employed her 
powers of statecraft for the elevation or abasement of 
princes. The mighty potentates of Europe, who, in 
their native lands, were grinding her own people into 
the very dust, were often forced to sue the favor of this 
Jewish woman, in order that the recognition of the Sul- 
tan might be obtained. 

It was not to be expected that so much authority con- 
centrated in the hands of one person would long remain 
unassailed. The blood of Esther and her three sons 
staining the marble entrance to the palace of the grand 
vizier was the forfeit paid by herself and her offspring 
for their exalted fortunes. 

Jewish Women of Modern Days — Weii<. 33 

Toward the beginning of the seventeenth century, the 
condition of the European Jews grew more and more 
intolerable. The Catholic reactionists, with the Jesuits 
at their head, were everywhere waging a relentless battle 
against light and learning. In Turkey, where for fifty 
years the Jews had maintained such honorable positions, 
a new spirit of persecution had set in. The Thirty 
Years' War dancing its Dance of Death through Germany, 
and the Cossack massacres in Poland, threatened an 
almost vandalic annihilation of all higher civilization. 

In this wholesale immolation, the Jew, ever the fated 
target for all changing political conditions, was again 
the first victim. Even his religious ritual is said to 
have suffered from this sad state of affairs, for we are 
told that the synagogical services were utterly incom- 
prehensible to the female members of the congregation. 
The German Jewess, seated apart in the latticed woman's 
gallery, had to trust entirely to tradition and intuition, 
would she understand the import of the ceremonies of 
her faith. 

Whither ? and Whence ? were again the queries of the 
Wandering Jew. From staunch little Holland came the 
first response. After having achieved its bravely won 
victory for civil and religious liberty, guided by the 
tolerant William of Orange, this country was among the 
earliest in Europe to recognize the intellectual and finan- 
cial expediency of possessing Jewish inhabitants. At 
first barely endured, through his integrity and courage, 
the Hebrew, by slow degrees, gained for himself a higher 
position in his new home. 

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, to be 
called a Holland Jew was a title of much distinction,, 
and the Amsterdam colony, composed for the most part 
of Spanish and Portuguese brethren, was famed through- 
out the continent as a model of cultured elegance. 

34 JEWISH Women's Congress. 

The Academy of Poetry, originating in this city in 
1676, was directed by Manuel de Belmonte, a Jew, 
whose pride of race must assuredly have been gratified 
by Isabella Correa, one of the most prominent members 
attending the meetings of the association. Her fine 
translation from Italian into Spanish of Guarini's " Pas- 
tor Fido " achieved for her a European reputation. 

From days immemorial, Holland and England have 
possessed many traits in common. Hand in hand, with 
steadfast faces ever turned toward the aurora of progress, 
these two countries have given the world many beautiful 
lessons. As if emulous of the humane policy espoused 
by its neighbor, after the lapse of centuries, England 
again demonstrated an inclination to admit the Jew. 

In Elizabeth's time, we read of a shipwrecked Jewess, 
Maria Nunes by name, whose beauty excited the curiosity 
of the Virgin Queen. At the instigation of the captain 
of the rescuing ship, an English nobleman, who had 
fallen a victim to his passenger's charms, Maria Nunes 
was summoned to court, where, as an especial tribute to 
her loveliness, she was invited to ride, side by side with 
good Queen Bess, through the streets of London. It is 
further related by chronicle that the enamored captain 
pleaded in vain with the maiden to abjure her religion, 
that he might make her his bride. 

In view of this pretty story, is it presumptuous to 
suppose, that the favorable impression made on the Eng- 
lish nobility by this worthy daughter of her race, did 
much to help to dispel the prejudice existing there 
against the Jews ? 

A strange anomaly in history is the fact that the Jews 
who lived at Venice in Shakespeare's day were among 
the noblest specimens of their kind. As fickle in its 
government as the sunsets that gilded its coasts, the 
Venetian Republic by turns tolerated and humiliated its 

Jewish Women of Modern Days — Weii<. 35 

Jewish inhabitants. At the present moment, the Hebrew 
colony, consisting of some six thousand souls, was per- 
mitted unmolested social intercourse with the Christians. 

Amidst the heterogeneous elements comprising so large 
a community, there may have been a Jessica, there may 
have been a Shylock, but authentic records give us no 
trace of such characters. They tell us, however, of a new 
Hebrew-Italian school of poetry, among whose protagon- 
ists were two women, Deborah Ascarelli and Sara Copia 

Of especial interest is the life of the latter. Beautiful 
and highly gifted, the possessor of an extraordinary 
mind, in which the genius of poetry and of philosophy 
were blended, the writer of a treatise on the immortality 
of the soul, which even Graetz extols for its masculine 
vigor, and the main figure in an episode, in which a love- 
lorn and proselyting priest is the hero, and she, the stead- 
fast and faithful Jewess, the heroine, the story of Sara 
Copia SuUam is imbued with all the interest of a roman- 
tic tale of fiction. 

As the eighteenth century neared its meridian, dim 
heraldings of better days began to penetrate the stifled 
atmosphere of the Ghetto. Here and there, amidst the 
sorely pressed multitude, a few faint glimmers of the 
speedily approaching Renaissance made themselves per- 
ceptible. After so many years of abject self-suppression, 
the Jews were beginning again to appreciate the glory 
of the individual and the glory of the race. In the words 
of the prophet: " The breath came into them, and they 
lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great 

Guided by the pillar of fire, emblematic of progress, 
like his ancient namesake, the first law-giver of Israel, 
Moses Mendelssohn led the Jews out of the land of bond- 
age, which is ignorance, into the land of promise, which 

36 Jewish Women's Congress. 

is civilization. His resuscitating influence pervaded 
every department of human existence, and such was the 
living force of his example, that never once, even in his 
own home, did Moses Mendelssohn descend from the 
pure ideals which, he considered, should constitute the 
character of every normal child of God. 

His attitude toward women was ineffably beautiful. 
Who does not know the exquisitely pathetic tale of his 
wooing? His views on the education of the sex, not- 
withstanding a somewhat incongruous assent to old-time 
marriage customs, were far in advance of those of his 

Side by side and on a perfect equality with their 
brothers, the Mendelssohn girls received the best educa- 
tion that was then procurable. By the celebrated men 
and women who congregated at the philosopher's home, 
Dorothea, Recha and Henrietta Mendelssohn were deemed 
no small attraction. The eldest daughter, particularly, 
was noted for her logical and vigorous mind. Of all the 
children of Moses Mendelssohn, Dorothea appears to have 
been the one who most largely inherited her father's gifts. 

In spite of an exceedingly uncomely presence, her 
remarkable conversational powers and uncommon ami- 
ability made this woman a centre around which the 
younger members of her father's circle loved to assemble, 
and after Moses Mendelssohn's death, when this rendez- 
vous was no longer in existence, Dorothea, as the wife of 
Simon Veit, presided over a salon which took equal rank 
with that of Henrietta Herz and Rahel Varnhagen. 

In Frederick the Great's time, Berlin was a very prim- 
itive place. With the exception of the inner court circle, 
where an unpatriotic adulation of everything French, to 
the exclusion of everything German, was the mode, little 
or no cultured society existed. The king, who counted 
such men as I^essing, Mendelssohn, the von Humboldts. 

Jewish Women of Modern Days — WeiIv. 37 

and the von Schlegels among his subjects, was utterly 
apathetic to the possibilities of an indigenous German 

Would these intellectual pioneers obtain recognition, 
they were forced to appeal to a higher and broader tri- 
bunal. The middle classes of the Prussian capital were 
a stolid, frivolous set, completely immersed in material, 
vain pleasure. There were no literary clubs among the 
men, no salons among the women. With the exception 
of a few Jewish houses, where Moses Mendelssohn's exam- 
ple was still being followed, there was no place where 
men and women could exchange intellectual confidences. 

Speaking of this period, Henrietta Herz says: " I do 
not consider it an exaggeration to maintain that there 
was no person who then resided at Berlin, who afterward 
distinguished himself, who did not for a shorter or greater 
length of time frequent our circle." 

The writer of the above assertion is elected by many 
authorities the Madame Recamier of Germany. Beauti- 
ful as a siren, the wife of a noted physician and littira- 
teur^ mistress of half a dozen languages, and the hostess 
of one of the most popular eighteenth century salons, 
the name of Henrietta Herz is an imperishable memory 
in the social annals of her country. Once Schleiermacher 
likened her to Ceres, in token of the ability she possessed 
to develop, among her acquaintances, the best and noblest 
blossoms of human nature. " Inspire, but do not write ! " 
said lyC Brun to Madame de Rambouillet. It is not 
known whether Henrietta Herz modeled her career upon 
that of her French predecessor, but it would seem so, for 
notwithstanding her eminent talents, she never achieved 
an independent literary reputation. A few pages of 
personal recollections, published shortly after her death 
in 1847, and a translation of Mungo Park's " Travels in 
Africa," are the only works proceeding from her pen. 

38 jBwiSH Women's Congress. 

Rahel Ivevin Varnhagen, " the dear, good, little woman 
with the great soul," as Heinrich Heine fondly calls her, 
was the third member of the Berlin Salon Triumvirate, 
Her husband was Varnhagen von Ense, a German noble- 
man of literary eminence, whose chief distinction in 
the eyes of posterity is his friendship with Gothe, Schil- 
ler and others of his celebrated contemporaries, perpet- 
uated through many volumes of correspondence between 
himself and his wife. 

The Gothe cult, which has waxed to such great 
proportions during the latter half of this century, was 
first started in Germany through the exertions of Fran 
Varnhagen. Ivove for the author of Faust was a sure 
passport to her heart and home, where even such men 
as Heinrich Heine and Ludwig Borne first had to 
take the oath of allegiance to its patron saint, the 
' ' open sesame ' ' that admitted them through its por- 
tals. In perspicacity of mind, earnestness of purpose 
and uprightness of character, Rahel Varnhagen per- 
haps exceeded her two friends; but they were all 
children of one era, their virtues and their foibles were 
but a part of the storm and stress period of thought, 
out of which everything that is best in this world must 

Each human soul is an exaggerated or lessened quo- 
tation of the spirit of its age. Dorothea Mendelssohn, 
Henrietta Herz and Rahel Varnhagen were no excep- 
tions to this rule. Their vagaries, some of which, to a 
more sober day, seem almost to savor of license, are only 
the natural overflow of intellectual and animal spirits 
enfranchised from centuries of Ghetto-suppression. 
When a dyke is destroyed, it is the head-waters that 
are always the most tempestuous. 

In 1790, the French Republic, true to its principles, 
tendered unrestricted privilege of citizenship to the Jews 

J:bwish Womkn of Modern Days — Wsit,. 39 

under its dominion. Following close in its wake, 
Napoleon Bonaparte, in his triumphal marches through 
Europe, did much to soften the condition of the 
Hebrews residing within the conquered territory. The 
convocation, by his order, of the great Sanhedrim at 
Paris in 1806 once again renewed the memories of 
ancient Palestine. 

The spirit of "live and let live," the imperishable 
distinction of the nineteenth century, has been of most 
benefit to the House of Israel, whose marvelous adapta- 
bility to every changing condition, marks it as one of 
the superior races of mankind. His very intensity of 
character, a cause for commendation as well as criticism, 
makes it possible, with favorable surroundings, for the 
Hebrew, in the short space of one generation, to trans- 
form himself from a creeping, cringing peddler into an 
upright, polished gentleman. 

If this be apposite to the Jewish man, how much 
truer must it be of the Jewish woman, whose tempera- 
ment of sex naturally constitutes her the quicker of the 
two in responding to the best variations of her environ- 
ment. Everywhere, in answer to the broader possibili- 
ties of the present era, have the women of Israel kept 
equal pace with the men. 

Fanny, the sister of Felix Mendelssohn, is the com- 
poser of many of the ' ' Songs Without Words ' ' attributed 
to her brother. A too faithful adherence to her father's 
narrow conception of what was best for her sex alone 
prevented her from producing works, which v/ould have 
given her a like reputation with the composer of 

Caroline Stern, the inspirer of one of Heinrich 
Heine's first published poems, and Caroline Gomperz 
Bettelheim, the famous Austrian court contralto, are 
among the modern Miriams of their race. 

40 Jewish Women's Congress. 

The actresses, Rachel Felix and Sara Bernhardt, both 
at one period members of the Comtdie Prangaise, are 
too well known to require more than passing mention. 

Many of the members of the German, French and 
English branches of the Rothschild family have dis- 
tinguished themselves by their musical and literary 
achievements. Betty, the widow of James Rothschild, 
is noted all over the world as a patroness of learning. 
As far back as 1849, ^'^^ demonstrated her interest in 
the advancement of women, by offering a prize of five 
thousand francs to the young girl who should show the 
highest proficiency in Hebrew- French translation. Solo- 
mon Munk's celebrated edition of Maimonides' " Guide 
for the Perplexed " owes its origin to her munificent 

The name of Grace Aguilar, author of the " Women 
of Israel," "The Vale of Cedars," and other famous 
works, is a household word. I^ady Magnus' "Jewish 
Portraits " and " Outlines of Jewish History " are famil- 
iar to English readers on both sides of the Atlantic. 

A remarkable character, whose endeavors in behalf 
of the higher education of women and the dissemina- 
tion of the Free Kindergarten System through Germany, 
have placed her among the prominent benefactors of her 
sex, is Ivina Morgenstem. When Froebel's doctrine 
was still viewed as the scheme of a wool-gathering 
reformer, this far-seeing woman took up cudgels in its 
defense. For her disinterested devotion to her sick and 
wounded countrymen during the Franco- Prussian War, 
she has been the recipient of many orders of decoration. 
In spite of such multiform practical activity, Fran Mor- 
genstem is the author and translator of numerous well- 
known books. Her "Children's Paradise" has gone 
through four editions. As charter member and presi- 
dent of the " German Housekeepers ' Union, " an 

Jewish Women of Modern Days — Weii<. 41 

association with ramifications all through the Father- 
land, and editor of " The Journal for German House- 
keepers," she still continues, undeterred by advancing 
age, to maintain an active interest in all matters homo- 
geneous with her chosen subjects. 

The blessings of the oppressed and afflicted, aris- 
ing from all sides to honor the most humane of the 
centuries' benefactors, are indissolubly interwoven with 
the memory of Judith, the wife of Sir Moses Monte- 

At the head of the Jewish writers of this country is 
Emma Lazarus. She and Heinrich Heine are the two 
greatest poets produced by the Hebrews in the present 
century. Between herself and her German co-religion- 
ist there was much in common. Both were burdened 
by the irrepressible Weltschmerz of their nation, and 
both were Greeks as well as Hebrews. Incontestably, 
it is this propinquity of spirit that elects Emma Ivazarus 
the best of Heinrich Heine's English translators. An 
imperishable monument erected by her to the memory 
of the Passion of Israel is the collection of prose poems 
entitled "By the Waters of Babylon." 

Henrietta Szold, Annie Nathan Meyer, Josephine 
lyazarus, Mary M. Cohen, Minnie D. I^ouis, Nina Morais 
Cohen and Martha Morton, are only a few among the 
many of our countrywomen, whose achievements serve 
to perpetuate the undiminished glory of hoary-headed 

If the measure of a nation's fame be the standard 
maintained by its women, then this Congress of Jewish 
Women, the first in its history, is a renewed pledge of 
the immortal possibilities of the Hebrew race. 

A potent factor toward the production of one of the 
finest accomplishments of the age — the fin de Steele 
woman — is the club. 

42 Jewish Women's Congress. 

All over the United States, in city and in hamlet, are 
ethical, philosophical, historical and political organiza- 
tions, whose one great aim is the betterment of human- 
ity, through the elevation of the sex. The majority of 
the members of these clubs are Christians, but few of 
them are Jews ; the history of the position of the club, 
in the chronicle pertaining to the advancement of Jewish 
women, is, therefore, yet an unwritten page. The fact 
that the honored president and projector of this present 
congress is an enthusiastic club woman, should be elo- 
quent testimony in favor of the further extension of 
organization among the women of Israel. 

This is called the "Woman's Age," and America is 
called the "Woman's Paradise." The intellectual and 
civic liberties more and more accorded to our sex, are 
open to Jew as well as Christian. 

In the college, at the polls, in the home, in the church, 
woman is assuming an equal place with man. Shoulder 
to shoulder with her Christian sister, is the Jewish wo- 
man yoked to the eternal chariot of universal progress, 
underneath whose star-driven wheels all social barriers, 
products of a past, effete age, are forever ground into 
oblivion. Higher and higher into the " Heaven of 
Borderless Futurity " does this chariot ascend. See ! 
out from the clouds the man of the past extends his 
hand to crown the woman of the present, for — 

" AH ttat doth perish 
Is but a symbol, 
All that is futile 
Here becomes deed, 
The indescribable 
Here it is done ; 
The Woman-Eternal 
Leadeth us on ! " 

{Discussion of the foregoing paper ^ 

Henrietta G. Frank, Chicago, III. 

The woman of our day, like Eve, the All-Mother, 
stretches out her hand for the fruit of the tree of knowl- 
edge that she may know good from evil; though she lose 
the paradise of ignorance, she may gain the field of 
honest endeavor. The serpent appears to her not as 
Satan, the tempter, but rather as the companion of 
Minerva, the symbol of wisdom and of eternit5^ If 
Adam had eaten more freely of the fruit tendered him 
by Eve, his descendants might have become too wise to 
deny to women capabilities equal to men's. Would 
Adam have given Eve of the fruit, had he been the first 
to taste of it ? Adam now permits Eve to enjoy the 
fruit, while he digs about the roots of the tree, until he 
lands at the antipodes in his effort to reach final causes. 

What is woman's sphere ? Whatever she can do, and 
can do well. No amount of cultivation will enable her 
to perform duties for which nature has not fitted her; 
like her brother, she may become warped, or remain 
undeveloped, but she cannot be trained contrary to the 
laws of her own being. The exhibits in the depart- 
ment of ethnology at the World's Columbian Exposi- 
tion, entitled " Woman's Work in Savagery," demon- 
strate that woman has been chiefly responsible for the 
origin and development of the arts of peace. 


44 Jewish Women's Congress. 

Did the Germans copy from the Orientals, or did the 
German Jews copy from the Germans, their dislike of 
learned women, and their approval of Paul's injunction, 
that women keep silence in the churches ? The Jewish 
masculine mind is apt to share with the German, a cer- 
tain frowning down upon intellectual endeavor in women, 
outside of the accomplishments that are considered 
pleasing. We attribute it to the love of thoroughness 
and of originality, which they share with the Germans, 
and to their contempt of half-knowledge, of a smattering, 
of a dallying with the arts and sciences. Yet a slight 
acquaintance with the best is better than complete igno- 
rance. Amateurs make the most appreciative audiences, 
for, in the spiritual sense, it is true that to him who 
hath, shall be given. Men are short-sighted to ignore 
the power of women as co-workers; the dangers which 
beset us need women as well as men to counteract 

In Israel's history, even in the most primitive stages, 
a high position, both by affection and custom, was 
accorded to the wife and mother; her dignity and inde- 
pendence were always guarded, as with no other nation 
of antiquity. Some of the most beautiful stories of the 
Bible and the Talmud deal with the relations between 
mothers and children; the wife is the help-meet, the 
equal of man, in all affairs, great and small, pertaining 
to the welfare of the family. The ancient idea of mar- 
riage was to increase the family of the bridegroom, not 
to found a new one. " Thy God shall be my God " had 
a different and more restricted significance to the 
ancient Hebrews than it has for us. The wife of olden 
times did not enter into the full privileges of her posi- 
tion until she had become a mother, the mother of a 
son; the line of descent was through the male heir, the 
daughter did not inherit. I^ater, in talmudic days, the 

Jewish "Women op Modern Days — H. Frank. 45 

daughter miglit inherit when there was no male heir. 
The Jewish model wife in Proverbs is shown versed in 
all the arts and industries necessary to the production of 
objects of use and ornament in the household, and pos- 
sessing sufficient authority to buy a field, if she deemed 
it advisable. 

Wives and maidens in Israel had far more liberty than 
the Oriental woman of to-day, nor were they kept in 
seclusion as were the Greek women of their time. 

There was no woman question among the Jews; 
every woman was cared for by her family; there were 
very few unmarried women; bachelorhood was unpopu- 
lar. As all industries clustered around the home, all 
were profitably employed. 

The ethical and social side of the woman question, 
which inquires how to make of woman a factor with 
equal rights and equal duties, according to her powers, 
for the good of society, was solved by them, but condi- 
tions have so changed, that the problem must be solved 
anew. It was true then, as it is now, that if woman 
gains, the nation gains through her; as mothers, women 
mold the character of the nation, they influence their 
children in the most plastic years of their lives. 

Some of the learned rabbis of talmudic fame were in 
favor of instructing the girls as well as the boys in the 
lyaw, but the opposite view, that to initiate one's daugh- 
ters in the I^aw was baneful, finally triumphed, and the 
daughters were relegated to the home ; at a later period* 
we hear of women who were thoroughly versed in the 
studies pursued by their husbands and fathers, and fully 
shared their intellectual life. 

When their opportunities are taken into consideration, 
it must be said that the Jewish women of our day have 
allowed themselves too often to become mere lookers-on 
at the rich banquets of study and of broad, practical 

46 Je;wish Woman's Congress. 

work. It was not always so. Our history teaclies us, 
above all things, that the arguments now used for the 
advancement of women were practically illustrated by 
the hundreds of Jewish women, whose names are recorded 
in the annals of time, who distinguished themselves 
by their work outside of the confines of home, besides 
wearing the crown of perfect wifehood and motherhood. 
We hear of them in mediseval times as poets and writers, 
as philosophers and physicians, as women of affairs, aid- 
ing their husbands in great undertakings or, when 
widowed, engaging in them alone. Naturally those who 
were distinguished were exceptions. There never can 
be a dead level of excellence, else there would be no need 
of history, nor any possibility of development. Jewish 
women were zealous in promoting the spread of knowl- 
edge ; in the days when printing was first introduced, we 
read of Jewish women who established printing-houses, 
who were practical type-setters before our Manual Train- 
ing School was dreamed of ; who not only helped to print 
the great works of the past, but also wrote books of in- 
struction, of history, of songs and popular tales, who 
expressed themselves, as well as gave wings to the 
thoughts of others. Some of these women were German 
and Bohemian, most of them were Italian and Spanish 
Jewesses. In all manner of occupation, in trades, indus- 
tries and professions, they contributed their share to the 
progress of culture. Spanish-Jewish women helped to 
bring about a revival of Hebrew poetry, to which they 
gave back grace and beauty and lyrical warmth.^ From 
the time they had no longer to tremble for their own 
lives, they made their lives of use to others, less fortu- 
nate than themselves, and many are the philanthropic 
missions in which they engaged. 

The effects of the Thirty Years' War, which plunged 
Germany into barbarism, and of the Cossack invasion of 

Jewish Wombn of Modern Days — H. Frank. 47 

Poland, which brought endless suffering, were disastrous 
to the culture and development of the Jews. The Ghetto 
reared its walls about them, and they withdrew from the 
common life, into an atmosphere of extreme ceremonial- 
ism in religion, and of separation in the ordering of their 
lives. Had it not been for the elevating influences of 
their home life, and for the fostering of their intellect 
through biblical and talmudic studies, their keen interest 
in the philosophy and the casuistry of talmudic prob- 
lems, the Jews must have succumbed to the systematic 
vilification and oppression, their allotted portion during 
the ages when they were virtually slaves in most Euro- 
pean countries. 

One cause of the adaptability of the Jew was his 
knowledge of languages; he always could think and 
express himself in one language besides the Hebrew; and 
if to know a language is to enter into the soul-life of the 
people that speaks it, he must have developed his powers 
of adaptability through this knowledge. Spanish and 
Italian Jews spoke and wrote the language of their 
respective countries perfectly, and even Juedisch-Deutsch 
is a language and not a jargon, we are told. 

Owing to the restrictions and disabilities under which 
the Jews labored in the years succeeding their bitterest 
persecutions, the Jews learned to consider themselves, in 
their prayers at least, as living in exile; their thoughts 
were turned to a restoration to Palestine; they wished 
to remain strangers in a strange land, in customs and 
ideals. Even in language, they became separated. The 
importance of Moses Mendelssohn for the Jews lay in 
the fact, that he re-opened the gates of the Ghetto of lan- 
guage and of thought, in translating the Pentateuch into 
pure German, and that, as a writer, he entered into the 
literary life and general culture of his day, and stood 
abreast of the great thinkers of his time. Yet he 

48 JswiSH Woman's Congress. 

remained an Oriental in the strict observance of all the 
forms and ceremonies which had come to be identified 
with true Judaism. After the revival of the spirit of 
culture brought about by his writings and efforts, a 
re-action set in; many turned away from Judaism after 
a hard struggle, because they could not reconcile them- 
selves to the external observances that were demanded; 
dogma and tradition brought religion to a stand-still, it 
became a routine, in which the form was observed, but 
the spirit neglected. The new birth, in which life was 
freed from its encumbrances, had not yet come, and those 
who turned away were not sufficiently in advance of 
their time to find their way out of the labyrinth. Some 
merely strained at a gnat; they turned from ceremonies, 
which had ceased to have a meaning for them, and threw 
themselves into the current of mysticism and romanticism 
which then prevailed. Rousseau's early ideas, which he 
himself repudiated in his later years, had been perverted 
into a negation of the laws of society governing man; 
a loosing of bonds in every direction, a confounding of 
liberty with license was deemed a return to nature. It 
was deemed less heroic to suffer than to change condi- 

Mendelssohn's daughters belonged to those who de- 
serted the old faith. Dorothea was attracted by the 
aesthetic side of Catholicism ; she loved the music, and 
the dim religious light, falling through stained-glass 
window-panes; the externalism of the church attracted 
her, the externalism of the synagogue repelled her. 

Many of the women who formed a social and intel- 
lectual power in Berlin, and whose salons were oases in 
the desert of Berlin society, felt a great chasm between 
their own lives and thoughts, and those of their co- 
religionists, who still adhered to the letter of the law. 
That which their ancestors had loved, had no attraction 

Jewish Women of Modern Days — H. Frank. 49 

for them ; Judaism meant only legalism to them. They 
believed they were creating a new world of thought, 
and they broke with their own past and the slow process 
of development in Jewish circles. Women prize social 
life more than men ; these women prized the social 
equality that was denied them as Jews, and thus became 
renegades, trading their birthright for a mess of pottage. 
The heroines that courted death, and inspired their 
children to defy torture rather than renounce the faith 
of their fathers, were no more. Among the men, some 
forsook the ranks in order to worthily employ their tal- 
ents in careers that were closed to the Jew, and some 
thought they would make life more easy for their chil- 

In our day, here in America, the Jew suffers under no 
political disabilities, and his educational advantages are 
growing each year, the portals of schools and universi- 
ties are open to him. 

What are the tendencies of the modern Jewish wo- 
man ? In how far does she partake of the broad life of 
her non-Jewish sister? What should she assimilate, 
what must she avoid, what has she to give ? 

The Jewish woman needs to be more noble, more self- 
sacrificing, more alive to the ideal, if she would be 
worthy of those who have preceded her. Let her study 
the history of the past, if she would comprehend the 
present. Let her counteract all narrowness, by cultivat- 
ing the great force of intelligence, the subduer of evil. 
The mother is still the most potent factor in the world; 
let her live up to the high standard set her by the Jewish 
women of the past, whose lives were devoted to great 
interests. We need more thoroughness in our work, 
whatever it be. 

Judaism means progress, America means opportunity. 
Judaism has within itself the power to assimilate the 

50 Jewish Women's Congress. 

best thougHt of the time. The world to-day recognizes 
in woman a help in the progress of the world toward a 
higher civilization, and if Judaism would be true to 
itself, Jewish women must break the shackles that bind 
them, and again take a deep interest in the great con- 
cerns of life. 

If the World's Congresses have proved anything, they 
have proved that the essential qualities of womanliness, 
of grace and charm, are heightened rather than dimin- 
ished by the best mental equipment and the greatest 
cultivation, and that women are working faithfully and 
earnestly in research and scientific pursuits, as well as 
in education and philanthropy. 

There is a positive need for women to keep in touch 
with the political history of our own country and of all 
the contemporary movements; the politics of to-day 
forms the history of to-morrow. While we have only an 
indirect interest in politics at present, we need, for our 
own intelligence, to follow the great movements of to- 
day. It is a matter of moment to us how Zeus parcels 
out the land, the marts, the rivers, and how the earth is 
being appropriated to man's need and greed. It broad- 
ens the mind, as travel does, to send it out over the 
universe; it prevents us from dwelling too much upon 
trivial things. The woman who takes an intelligent 
interest in the great questions that are agitating the 
world, will not, therefore, become indifferent to the 
duties of her own individual sphere; the habit of study 
begets system, and a systematic ordering of one's time 
helps wonderfully in the performance of duties near at 

It is not an absolute necessity to have a society with 
president and officers in order to accomplish something. 
We can improve ourselves without coming to a certain 
place at a certain .time to discuss a plan of work, a 

Jewish Women of Modern Days — H. Frank. 51 

philosophy, a literature. But how many of us are quite 
independent of the inspiration and sympathy of minds 
in touch with our own ? Genius needs no club for de- 
velopment, but unfortunately genius is rare, and ordinary 
gifts need a stimulus. Some there be, who need to come 
only to teach, but most of us need to learn. Clubs and 
classes have been of vast benefit to women, they have 
taught the value of co-operation for noble ends. Man 
must work, and so must woman. Nature avenges her- 
self for the neglect of faculties, and powers that lie too 
long dormant become atrophied. Woman as home- 
maker, as purveyor of happiness, as possessor of the fine 
art of housewifery is needed as much as ever, and her 
life in the club can but be helpful in all these directions, 
because she learns to understand herself, and to rise 
above pettiness. The education received within the 
club will fit her to take up duties outside of it. 

Many Jewish women of America and of Western 
Europe are taking active part in intellectual labors, in 
art and music, in philanthropy and education, and are 
working as journalists and writers. While all cannot 
distinguish themselves in these paths, all can cultivate 
the best within themselves. Life, too, is an art, the art 
of living is one that we must foster for ourselves and for 
others. In our social life, we must cultivate the ame- 
nities and all that is refining, all that tends to make 
it beautiful and perfect, and to lend it a lovelier set- 
ting. Whether as wife, the counselor and help-meet, as 
mother, the guardian and inspiration, as intellectual and 
practical worker, the Jewish woman of to-day can be 
guided by the lives of the Jewish women of the past. 

At the close of the session, by request of the Chair- 
man, the Rev. Dr. K. Kohler, of New York, and the 
Rev. Dr. E. G. Hirsch, of Chicago, addressed the meeting. 

Tuesday, September 5, 1893, 9.30 a. m. 

Mrs. I. S. Moses was introduced by the Chairman as 
the honorary' presiding officer of the session. 


Ray Frank, Oakland, Cai,. 

Duality manifests itself in all things, but in nothing 
is this two-foldness more plainly seen than in woman's 

The weaker sex physically, it is the stronger spirit- 
ually, it having been said that religion were impossible 
without woman. And yet the freedom of the human 
soul has been apparently eflFected by man. I say appar- 
ently effected, for experience has demonstrated, and 
history records, that one element possessed by woman 
has made her the great moral, the great motif force of 
the world, though she be, as all great forces are, a silent 

It may be true that sin came into the world because 
of the disobedience of the first woman, but woman has 
long since atoned for it by her loving faith, her blind 
trust in the Unknown. Down through the ages, tradi- 
tional and historical, she has come to us the symbol of 
faith and freedom, of loyalty and love. 

From the beginning, she sought knowledge; per- 
ceive, it does not say wisdom, but knowledge; and this 
was at the expense of an Eden. She lost Eden, but she 
gained that wisdom which has made sure of man's 


Women in the Synagogue — R. Frank. 53 

She walked upon thorns, she bled; but so sincerely- 
repentant was she, so firmly rooted had become her faith 
in the Almighty, that no amount of suflFering, no 
change of time and circumstance, could destroy it. 
With repentance something had sprung up, and blos- 
somed in her being, an imperishable flower, beautiful, 
fragrant, making the world bright and sweet. 

This flower twined itself round man, its odors 
refreshed and strengthened him; its essence healed him 
when wounded, and nerved him on to gallant and noble 
deeds. It is the breath of life in him, and he must 
needs be careful of its clinging stems, its tender leaves, 
for they are rooted in a woman's heart. 

In mother, wife, sister, sweetheart, lies the most pre- 
cious part of man. In them he sees perpetual reminders 
of the death-sin, guarantees of immortality. Think, 
woman, what your existence means to man; dwell well 
on your responsibility; and now let us turn to that part 
of time called the past, more particularly biblical days. 
The religious life of the early Israelites is so closely 
interwoven with their domestic and political life, that it 
cannot be separated and treated alone. Amidst all kind 
of tribal and national strife, the search for knowledge 
of Javehwent on in so even a way, so indifferent to men 
and things, as no other investigation has done. The 
soul of mankind could not be quieted concerning this 
matter, and religion from its very nature evolved itself. 

That this was, in its entirety, due to no one people is 
just as true as that it was due to no one sex. 

To the Israelite, because of his sensitive, superior 
nature, was revealed that first great truth of " I am the 
Ivord thy God," and to them, throughout the genera- 
tions, was given the command to spread His truth. But 
when the Lord said to Moses, " And ye shall be unto Me 
a nation of priests and a holy nation," the message was 

54 Jewish Women's Congress. 

not to one sex; and that the Israelites did not so con- 
sider it, is proved by the number of women who were 
acknowledged prophets, and who exercised great influ- 
ence on their time and on posterity. 

The Talmud speaks of seven prophetesses: Sarah, 
Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail, Huldah and Esther. 
Ruth not being mentioned in this list, we infer that she 
was regarded simply as a religious teacher. Except in 
the Talmud, Sarah is not mentioned as possessing the 
inspirational power, which made the prophets of old; 
yet, there is that chronicled of her which gives rise to 
the assumption that, for a time at least, she was the 
greatest of them all. For in Genesis xxi. 1 3 is recorded 
the only instance of the Lord's especially commanding 
one of His favorites to listen carefully to a woman: " In 
all that Sarah may say unto thee, hearken unto her 

Evidently, the Almighty deemed a woman capable 
both of understanding and advising. 

That Miriam, the sister of Moses, was a woman of ex- 
traordinary mind is evidenced by the words of Moses to 
herself and Aaron when he journeyed to the mount; 
and from the prominence given the word prophetess 
prior to recording the words of her triumphant song, it 
is evident that she must have been one of the leaders in 
Israel before the journey across the sea was made. 

The one compliment paid Moses for his faithful ser- 
vice is that which speaks of him as a man of exceeding 
modesty ; and it is pleasant to reflect that in the words 
of Israel's greatest woman, Deborah, can be found that 
same beautiful characteristic. When reminding Barak 
that, if he goes not alone to smite the foe, to a woman 
will be accredited the glory, she speaks as though loth 
that it should be thus; and when, in the name of Javeh, 
she leads the army, she says not, " I will do this or 

Women in the Synagogue — R. Frank. 55 

that," but, " Barak, up ! for this is the day on which God 
will deliver Sisera into my hands." Of great modesty 
was this wife of lyapidoth, whether as ruler, warrior, 
poet or prophet; a woman whose influence in her time 
was mighty, and whose glorious, inspiring words stiH 

The life of Hannah inculcates more deeply a lesson 
which we women must learn than that of any of our sex 
mentioned in the Bible. Greatest and best among women 
is she who is a wise mother; for the children are the 
Laird's, the heirs of Heaven. Blessed beyond all is she 
who dedicates her offspring to the Eternal. Who need 
wonder at the song which rose so joyously from the heart 
of Hannah, for she was truly an inspired prophetess, she 
was a wise mother ! 

Abigail, Huldah and Esther are the others mentioned 
in the Talmud. The story of the latter is so well known, 
her courage and piety are so justly celebrated on our 
Feast of Purim that I will not dwell longer upon them. 
From the scarcity of names mentioned, we are not to 
conclude that only a few women were teachers in Israel 
at this time; but rather that to woman was entrusted all 
that appertained to the domestic life; and in the per- 
formance of these duties her personality was merged in 
that of her husband. That she was capable of perform- 
ing heroic deeds is evidenced by the legends of Jael and 
Judith. The intense excitement of the periods in which 
these women lived is supposed to have permitted them 
for a time to forget strict morality and loving mercy. 
Crude and almost repulsive in their invention, the nar- 
ratives serve to show that weak woman was regarded as 
capable of performing for God and country heroic deeds, 
deeds from which strong men might have shrunk. Her 
faith under the most trying circumstances was sublime; 
and nothing more effective is recorded of piety embracing 

56 Jewish Wombn's Congress. 

death than the martyrdom of the Maccabean Hannah 
or Miriam, who unhesitatingly gave to immortality her- 
self and her seven sons. Other illustrations pale beside 
this magnificent heroism of a woman in whom rested the 

From any point of view, enough has been recorded to 
show that when she led, she led successfully. However, 
the ancient Jewish woman was, above all, wife and 
mother, and as such she was a religious teacher, and 
closely associated with what might be called the temple- 
worship of those days. The life of the woman of 
patriarchal times was clean and elevating, there was 
nothing slavish about it; and when one considers that the 
Jewish lyaw permitted polygamy, and that even with the 
debasing influences of harem life instituted by Solomon, 
the Jews became a monogamous people, one can under- 
stand the extraordinary influence of the Jewish woman 
to whom this important fact is due. 

" One woman, a good one, is the light of a man's 
existence," sang an inspired sage. 

Women of other nations soon learned to contrast the 
life of the Jewish woman with their own, and the first 
converts to Judaism were women from the neighboring 
idolatrous tribes. The emotional nature of Jewish women 
made them fit instruments to celebrate the joys of heaven 
and earth, and the finest things in our sacred literature are 
believed by many critics to have come spontaneously 
from our women's hearts and tongues. 

If the woman of apocryphal times does not always ap- 
pear sharply outlined in her work, it is, as we have said, 
owing to the deep workings of the wife and mother 
principle, which was striving to manifest itself as the axis 
of woman's world. Slowly, unevenly, events moved 
round, and in the Grseco-Roman period we find the 
capricious jolts and jars lessening, until in mediaeval 

Women in the Synagogue — R. Frank. 57 

times the Jewish wife represents all that is pure and 
noble in womanhood. 

During the Grseco-Roman period, two queens stand out 
as prominently influencing religious matters. Queen 
Salome, who was born in Jerusalem about the year 143 
B. C, was of great wisdom and remarkable energy. 
Filled with the spirit of the Chasidim, with ideals pure 
and lofty, she. early resolved to aid the faith in which she 
believed. The times were among the fiercest recorded 
by Israel, and great diplomacy was necessary to avoid 
dissensions. But through disasters of every nature, she 
remained constant to her principles, and at all times 
level-headed. Her tact and her power to remain impas- 
sive under the most awful circumstances are almost 
unparalleled in history. Her sole ambition was to preserve 
to the people their Pharisaic worship, and this she did by 
the most heroic teachings. 

Among proselytes, Helena, Queen of Adiabene, bom 
153 years B. C, is mentioned in the Talmud as having 
done much for Judaism. She and her son were both 
converted to this faith, and in turn became teachers of 
religion, remaining true to the Jewish nation to the end. 

The position of the mediaeval woman differed from 
that of her ancient sister. Forced by circumstances at 
times to become a leader, her personality no longer 
merged itself in that of her husband, but ran parallel 
with his. Tribal wars for political supremacy did not 
now agitate the people, for existence had, in most cases, 
become an individual struggle. The princes of Judah 
were dethroned, their lands, the possession of strangers; 
yet the law lived, better understood and more sacredly 
guarded than ever. That this was owing, in the greatest 
degree, to the women is shown by the numbers men- 
tioned in the Talmud as learned mothers and teachers. 
The Jews were stripped of many precious things by 

58 Jewish Women's Congress. 

their oppressors, ofttimes their relentless persecutors, yet 
the Torah held such consolations that the family-home 
became to the Jew the most beautiful, the most sacred 
thing in the world. Of the love of a pure wife and 
reverent, obedient children, nothing could rob him, and he 
was, indeed, blessed beyond all that sought to harm him. 
The prophecy of Lemuel's mother had been faithfully 
realized; and as we look through the mist of centuries, the 
sunlight clears grayness, and we read: " Many daughters 
have done virtuously; but thou excellest them all." 

True help-mate was the mediseval woman, combining 
with greatest intelligence, stern purpose and the softest 
maternal qualities. 

During the period of happiness permitted them by 
Moorish and Spanish rule, our women rose to eminence 
intellectually and socially. But note how the learning 
always leaned toward the elevation of the home. That 
part of the Bible which concerned the home life became 
their especial study, and as practical preachers of religion, 
they have never been excelled, for they practiced what 
they preached. 

Among the women of early mediaeval times, Ima 
Shalom, Rachel and Beruria are representative. The 
father of Ima was president of the Sanhedrim, and a 
descendant of Hillel. Her husband, the most noted 
rabbi of his day, found in her an intellectual equal, and 
many were the knotty questions submitted to her judg- 
ment. Had it not been for the self-sacrificing and 
deeply religious nature of Rachel Sabua, history would 
scarcely have had an Akiba, while Beruria, wife of 
Rabbi Meir, who lived about lOO A. D., was of such 
powerful intellect that she became noted throughout the 
land. All that she said concerning disputed points of 
the Halacha received the attention of her contemporaries. 
Poetry and prose testify to her worth. 

Women in the Synagogue— R. Frank. 59 

Graetz mentions Bellet, the daughter of Menacliem, 
who lived in Orleans in the year 1050 A. D., as one who 
was talmudically learned, and who taught the women 
of her town their religious duties. Hannah, sister of 
Rabbi Jacob Tam, of Orleans, and a whole circle of 
learned women in the family of Rashi, of whom may be 
mentioned Rachel, his daughter, and Anna and Miriam, 
his granddaughters, were highly educated, and acted as 
teachers of religion. They paid particular attention to 
instructing women regarding culinary matters, on which 
Mosaism laid the greatest stress. 

Zunz calls the mother of the chief rabbi of France, 
Mattathias Ben Joseph Provenci, and wife of Rabbi 
Joseph Ben Jochanan, "well nigh a lady rabbi," and 
accords her great praise for her original and sensible 
interpretation of the dietary laws. 

Rabbi Samuel ben Hallevi, who flourished in Bagdad 
in the year 1300, had a daughter, Bath Hallevi, who 
delivered in public biblical lectures to men. She was 
screened from her audience by sitting in a kind of box 
whose windows had in them panes of opaque glass. 

A rabbinical college had for its principal Miriam 
Shapira, and her lectures to the students are said to have 
compared favorably with those of her contemporaries. 
Dolce, wife of Rabbi Eleazer ben Jehudah Rokeach, of 
Worms, a remarkably learned woman, lived a saintly 
life, preaching to the women their duties. She with her 
two children died the death of a martyr, being slain by 
the Knights of Malta, at Erfurt, in 12 14. 

In the Hebrew encyclopaedia compiled by Dr. Gold- 
man and his associates, and edited in Warsaw in 1818, 
is found an account of a remarkable woman. Donna Ben- 
venida Abarbanel. Her husband was treasurer of the 
king of Naples, and into her charge the prime minister 
of Naples gave the education of his daughter, the 

6o Jewish Women's Congress. 

princess Leonora. The intelligence and righteousness of 
Donna Benvenida were known throughout the land, and 
her association with the princess concinued long after the 
latter's marriage. It is said that her royal charge esteemed 
her as a mother, and that in all her work this good Jewess 
never forgot her creed and her people. 

Inasmuch as all appertaining to Judaism belongs to 
the temple, so the connection of this great woman with 
the synagogue is not to be doubted. 

In about 1532, the priests who presided over the Inqui- 
sition petitioned the king to drive out the remnant of 
Jews from southern Italy. The petition was granted. 
But Donna Benvenida, with great diplomacy, succeeded 
through the princess in having the edict revoked. From 
various writings by the clever men of that day, one learns 
that the highest praise was given this woman. 

From the book of the memorial of the dead of the 
Jewish congregation at Worms, I have taken the follow- 
ing names, they serving to show what the women of Israel 
at this time did for religion. Here is an epitaph: "Eva, 
daughter of Isaac I^eipnitz, wife of Abraham Samuel, 
Rabbi of Worms. Her name shall be remembered be- 
cause she was profoundly learned, and because she was 
conversant in the Bible and all its commentaries and the 
Midrash. There was no woman before her so deeply 
learned." " Remembered, the aged Rebecca, daughter 
of Jeremiah Neustadt, because she regularly attended 
synagogue, morning and evening, devoting all her life 
to benevolence. She spun without charge Tzitzith for all 
who needed them, and gave of her own money to the 
synagogue." "Remembered, the pious and esteemed 
Miriam Sinzheim, daughter of Joseph Sinzheim of 
Vienna, who went regularly to the synagogue, morning 
and evening, praying with devotion and giving all her 
life to benevolence. She supported students of the Bible 

WoMBN IN THB Synagogue — R. Frank. 6r 

in various congregations, especially in ours of Worms. She 
builded the synagogue of the great Rabbi Rashi (Solomon 
ben Isaac), establishing free seminaries and stipending 
students." Women of the nineteenth century! These are 
but a few names from among the many on the old grave 
stones, testifying to the splendid work done for the syna- 
gogue by women, at a time when obstacles made up 
their lives. In the early part of the eighteenth century, 
Krendel Steinhardt, a member of a gifted family of 
rabbis, obtained distinction for her knowledge of the fes- 
tival prayers, the Machsor, and for cleverly interpreting 
the Midrash. She was known as the " Rebbezin." Sarah 
Oppenheimer, daughter of the chief rabbi of Prague, 
wrote a Meghilla, a scroll of the book of Esther, while 
Sprenza Kempler, blessed with beauty, knowledge and 
piety, could quote the Mishna from memory. Bienvineda, 
wife of Rabbi Mordecai, of Padua, was of such rare 
intelligence that she held disputations on the Talmud and 
the Mishna with some of the greatest scholars of her day. 

The list is a long one, and each name reflects intelli- 
gence and piety. But enough has been given to disprove 
all doubts as to the Jewish woman's capability in relig- 
ious matters, both as pupil and instructor. If to the 
men of these times be accorded credit for having per- 
formed their duties well, if as scholars, as expounders 
of the Law, they live in fame, what shall we say of 
the women who, under the most adverse circumstances, 
rose to eminence in this same field of labor ? With one 
or two exceptions, they were all wives and mothers, most 
of them wives of rabbis, and in the discharge of their 
duties no one thing was done at the expense of another. 

Intellectually they were the compeers of their hus- 
bands; practically, they excelled them. They built 
synagogues, controlled colleges, and stipended students. 
All in all, they have in the past earned the right to 

62 Jewish Women's Congress. 

the pulpit, even as nature created their sensitive beings 
to act as its finest interpreter. 

Jewish woman had earned the right to the pulpit, 
though she never formally asked it of the people, but that 
they would not have wholly opposed it, may be inferred 
from a romance of Bernstein's, " Voegele, der Maggid," 
probably founded on facts. 

Voegele was an itinerant preacher, and that she com- 
bined the lovable qualities of the woman with her chosen 
work is shown by the fervent words of the hero who says 
to her, " Your hand makes the Bethhamedrash light." 
To our times and to our country in particular, the Jewish 
woman is indebted for many changes in her relation to 
the synagogue, and this progress is mainly due to one 
man, whose decided stand as a liberalist, in all matters 
concerning woman and her work, earns our hearty thanks. 
I refer to our revered rabbi. Dr. Wise, of Cincinnati. 

With added privileges and numberless innovations, let 
us see what is the religious status of the Jewish woman 
of to-day. Compare her with the woman of the Apoc- 
rypha we will not, for it would be unjust to both. The 
one was the result of a great spiritual revelation and 
chaotic material circumstances pressing against and 
whirling round each other, leaving as a resultant the 
keen-visioned, practical woman of the Middle Ages, one 
whose knowledge was of men, and whose wisdom was 
of God. Calamitous as were the days, our mothers rose 
to meet them, each time victorious. Their children re- 
ceived, as a heritage, patience, courage, fidelity, reverence, 
honest. God-fearing souls, the richest treasures of men. 
What matter how the winds of fortune blew, the Jew was 
secure from total shipwreck. He carried as a talisman 
the instructions of his mother. When persecution drove 
him from shore to shore, he journeyed across unknown 
seas, and finding a new Canaan cried, " Hear, O Israel, 

WoMBN IN THE Synagogue — R. Frank. 63 

the Lord our God, the L^rd is one ! " and so dedicated a 
new home. 

Centuries have passed; the wilderness is the pride of 
the world, for it is all a land of freedom, of homes; and 
the Jew, we find him so grateful that he has well-nigh 
forgotten to what he owes his salvation. He has forgot- 
ten, else how explain the empty temples, the lack of 
religious enthusiasm, lack of reverence of children for 
parents, lack of that sacred home life which has made us 
an honored place in history ? That our women have not 
made of themselves Dinah Morrises and " Voegele der 
Maggids " we can forgive, but that we have removed so 
many. of the ancient landmarks which our fathers estab- 
lished, can we forgive ourselves for that? 

That we have not possessed ourselves of the wisdom 
of her who builded her own house can hardly be par- 
doned us, for what can replace the priceless love which 
has bound the members of the Jewish family to each 
other and to their God ? Learning is not wisdom. Inno- 
vation is not progress, and to be identical with man is 
not the ideal of womanhood. Some things and privi- 
leges belong to him by nature; to these, true woman 
does not aspire; but every woman should aspire to make 
of her home a temple, of herself a high priestess, of her 
children disciples, then will she best occupy the pulpit, 
and her work run parallel with man's. She may be 
ordained rabbi or be the president of a congregation — 
she is entirely able to fill both oflfices — but her noblest 
work will be at home, her highest ideal, a home. Our 
women, living in a century and in a country which 
gives them every opportunity to improve, are not making 
the most of themselves, and to the stranger, the non- 
JeWj who views us critically, we are not entirely an 
improvement upon our mothers of old. We may dress 
with better taste, we may know more ologies^ we may 

64 JawiSH Women's Congress. 

discuss higli art, but we no longer offer up such reverent 
homage to the Almighty, as that which was given in 
times of direst distress and persecution, and which 
yielded so rich a harvest as an America, in which to 
enjoy life and liberty to the utmost. How is this liberty 
enjoyed ? Go to the synagogue on Friday night; where 
are the people ? Our men cannot attend, keen business. 
competition will not permit them. Where are our 
women ? Keener indulgence in pleasures will not per- 
mit them. Where are the children ? Keenest parental 
examples of grasping gain and material desires will not 
permit them, and so the synagogue is deserted. Go 
there on a Saturday, the day of rest, of holy convocation. 
Where are the people ? Our men are at their shops, our 
women doing the shopping, calling, or at the theatre; 
every one mid everything can be attended to but God. 
For Him they have no time. With whom lies the 
blame ? Where are the wise mothers of Israel to-day ? 
As we sow, so we must reap. Costly temples with 
excuses for congregations will not do, friends. Better 
the old tent for a dwelling, the trees and skies for syna- 
gogues, and reverent, God-fearing men and women, than 
our present poor apology for religious worship. 

The world calls the nineteenth century Jew material- 
istic, the Jew denies it, but denial is not refutation. 

It is time we stopped calling ourselves chosen, it is 
time we stopped living upon our past, time we prove 
we have been chosen a nation of priests by fulfill- 
ing His law. Many an one has been chosen for some 
noble mission who never attempted its completion, and 
it would be illogical to credit such an one with any great 
merit. That we are now in the position of backsliders 
is owing to us women. 

Where are the Hannahs who cry as she of old, " For 
this lad did I pray; and the Lord hath granted me my 

Women in the Synagogue — R. Frank. 65 

petition whicli I asked of Him. Therefore also have I 
lent Him for my part to the lyord; all the days that 
have been assigned to him shall he be lent to the I^ord." 

Sisters, our work in and for the synagogue lies in 
bringing to the Temple the Samuels to fulfil the Law. 
As mothers in Israel I appeal to you to first make of our 
homes temples, to rear each child a priest by teaching 
him to be true to himself. 

If the synagogues are then deserted, let it be because 
the homes are filled, then we will be a nation of priests; 
edifices of worship will be everywhere. What matter 
whether we women are ordained rabbis or not ? We are 
capable of fulfilling the office, and the best way to prove 
it is to convert ourselves and our families into reverent 
beings. To simply be ordained priest is not enough, and 
the awful punishment which befell Eli is the best illus- 
tration of this. Nothing can replace the duty of the 
mother in the home. Nothing can replace the reverence 
of children^ a^id the children are yours to do as ye will 
with them. 

Mothers, ye can restore Israel's glory, can fulfil the 
prophecy by bringing the man-child, strong love of the 
Eternal, to his Maker. 

The Rev. Dr. I. S. Moses, of Chicago, was called upon 
to discuss the paper, "Woman in the Synagogue." Miss 
Rebecca lyesem, of Quincy, 111., then read a portion of a 
paper on "Advance Sabbath School Work," prepared 
for the Sabbath Visitor Association, 


Pauline Hanauer Rosenberg, Allegheny, Pa. 

Events follow each other in natural sequence; and as 
by the law of universal gravitation, every particle of 
matter in the universe exerts an influence on every other 
particle, and is in turn influenced by it, so the events in 
history exert their influence upon those which follow, 
and the last epoch sheds its light on those which have 

To fully understand the influence of any special event 
upon a particular people, a knowledge of previous con- 
ditions is necessary. Turn back the pages of centuries, 
and behold a small section of the Hebrew group leaving 
Palestine to occupy the more fertile pasture lands in 
Egypt. The subsequent slavery of the Jews in that 
country, their deliverance thence, their sojourn in the 
wilderness until the conquest of Canaan, are familiar. In 
an age when conquerors either annihilated, or made slaves 
of, the conquered, the Israelites amalgamated with the 
Canaanites, absorbing their culture, and in turn impart- 
ing the Mosaic doctrine to them. This was the begin- 
ning of their history as a nation, which, like all others, 
had its rise and fall. Beginning by subjugating its 
enemies and afterward in quest of territory and plunder, 
the period of war was followed by prosperity under the 
judges and the kings. The prophets flourished, litera- 
ture, philosophy, science and arts were cultivated. Other 
ancient nations existed on a purely political basis with a 
religion as their outgrowth, but Israel was composed of 


The Discovery of America — Rosenberg. 67 

a union of tribes with religion as its basis, the political 
union being an outgrowth and a secondary condition. 
The worship of one true God, Jehovah, was its supreme 
business and pleasure, and all the glorious and splendid 
achievements may be attributed to this doctrine. Judah 
flourished as a nation until the dispersion, about 586 B.C., 
when in a war with Nebuchadnezzar, Jerusalem was taken 
by storm, its Temple reduced to ruin, and the larger por- 
tion of its inhabitants deported to Babylon. Thus exiled 
in Chaldsea, some lapsed into heathenism, but many 
continued faithful to Jehovah, and although they could 
keep no religious feasts as in the Holy lyand, the habit 
of meeting, and reading from the prophetic writings as 
an observance of the Sabbath, which developed the syna- 
gogue, came into use at this time. Later, Cyrus gave the 
exiles permission to return to their fatherland, but only 
a small number availed themselves of this permission. In 
445 B. C. a Jew, Nehemiah ben Hakelejah, was appointed 
as Persian governor of Judaea. The subsequent history of 
the Jews in the East is identified with the revolutions fre- 
quent in that section: from a Chaldsean province Palestine 
became a Persian, a Greek, and an Egyptian possession, 
until Pompey's conquest subjected it to Roman rule. 

With each change of power, the dispersing of the Jews 
becomes more complete; their settlement was encouraged 
everywhere, and under the Ptolemies in Egypt, they 
received preference over, and in consequence earned the 
hatred of, the indigenous population. At the beginning 
of the Christian era, the Jews were more populous and 
powerful in every civilized country than in their original 
stronghold, Jerusalem, colonies having been formed in 
and around Asia Minor and in Europe. The mission of 
the apostles having attached itself to the synagogues, this 
diaspora, or dispersion, of the Jews became the means of 
the diffusion of Christianity. 

68 Jewish Women's Congress. 

Prom this period, their fate and that of the early Chris- 
tians were the same. They were alternately tolerated, 
given equal civil rights, and again persecuted and ban- 
ished. Strange that Christianity, which itself struggled 
so bravely for existence, should become, with prosperity, 
intolerant of other creeds, and especially of its parent, 
Judaism ! But no, in those dark ages nothing was 
strange. Given no place in the political arrangements 
of the world of those days, being neither nobles nor serfs, 
the Jews dwelt apart, performing their mission; they 
formed the link between the glorious past and the Re- 
naissance, carrying a remnant of Egyptian, Greek and 
Roman civilization to the dawning of that brighter day, 
when the world awakened from its night of gloom to 
witness the crusades, the aurora of its day. But the 
splendor of its dawn became shadowed by the clouds of 
a gloomy morn, for at this period, nurtured by religious 
zeal and fanatic enthusiasm, began the deep-seated preju- 
dice against the Jews as having been dwellers in Jeru- 
salem at the time of the Crucifixion. 

They emerge from a dark night to find civil, social, 
political disabilities everywhere; a deep abyss of perse- 
cution before them, a stone wall of restrictions behind 
them. This brings us to the fourteenth century, when 
Spain, at the zenith of her glory, is in the van of civili- 
zation. What was the condition of her Jews at that 

Following the trend of migration and civilization 
from East to West, we find a large proportion of Jews 
settled in Spain, where they were tolerated, enjoying 
equal rights of citizenship, passing through a glorious 
period of literary and social activity, and during the 
fifteenth century holding government positions of great 
responsibility and emolument, thereby incurring the 
enmity of the Catholic citizens. The same religious 

The Discovery op America — Rosenberg. 69 

zeal which prompted Isabella, under Torquemada's 
influence, to aid Columbus, led her to issue her famous 
edict against the Jews of her country, to take effect on 
the very day that Columbus started on his eventful 
voyage. Many believe his discovery to have been divine 
fore-ordination; but the new country was only about to 
be discovered, and meanwhile the Spanish, and later the 
Portuguese Inquisition commanded baptism or death, 
and many were baptized. These Marranos, as they were 
called, spurned by the Jews, and despised by the Chris- 
tians, publicly professed Christianity, and secretly main- 
tained Judaism; they intermarried with Christians, and 
rose to heights of power and dignity. Despite restrictions, 
many celebrated Jewish names belong to the general his- 
tory of culture in the countries where Jews were resi- 
dent. The Jews of Spain stand out pre-eminently as 
persons of extraordinary culture and intelligence, who, 
banished from their country with every refinement of 
cruelty and hardship of which the Inquisition was capa- 
ble, dispersed to many lands, in all of which they were 
barely tolerated, carrying their culture with them. Cut 
off from their fellow citizens, excluded by oppressive 
laws from all legitimate trades, specially taxed, con- 
signed to the narrow confines of ghettos, strictly pro- 
hibited from entering certain towns, limited in numbers 
in others, disabled from being members of trade guilds, 
such was the condition of the Jews of the world at the 
time of the discovery of America. There was no known 
country to which they might turn, and call it home. 
What wonder, then, that the new world was hailed as a 
divine gift to humanity, a haven of peace and good-will 
at last. Ah ! but even here the problem of freedom 
must first be worked out, and the life-long traditional 
prejudices against the Jews were not set aside as readily 
as European expulsion cast the Jews themselves out of 

yo Jewish Women's Congress. 

their native lands. Religious intolerance was prevalent 
among all peoples at that time. Education in the broad, 
liberal sense of to-day was unknown, and the dangerous 
experiment of forcing convictions was tried. 

America, settled by all sects of people fleeing from 
religious intolerance and in search of a place where 
religious liberty and freedom of conscience might be 
enjoyed, could not long harbor bitter antagonisms on 
the ground of religion. " America is another name for 
opportunity. Her whole history appears like a last 
effort of divine providence in behalf of the human race." 
From within her boundaries emanated the grand idea of 
freedom, such as the world had never heard of before. 
Here was the dreamed-of Utopia, the New Atlantis, the 
land of promise that opened up the ghettos of the old 
world. — I^iberty, I worship at thy shrine ! 

The spiritual re-awakening of the Jews was given its 
greatest impetus by Moses Mendelssohn, in Germany, 
who by translating the Pentateuch into the scholarly 
German language of the day removed the barrier reared 
by the use of an alien language; and the most powerful 
impulse to political liberation came from France under 
Napoleon. This period in Europe, the arms of America 
at the same time stretched out to receive the willing 
colonists, may truly be termed the Jewish Renaissance. 

The early colonists in America were engaged in the 
arduous undertaking of settling and reducing to the 
requirements of civilization, a wilderness peopled by 
savages, who were not always friendly to the white set- 
tlers. We therefore find the settlers of all sects united 
in protection against their common enemy, the Indian, 
banded together in their common interests of protection, 
government and self-help. And although many Jewish 
names were on the lists of the rank and file, and others 
stand forth in glorious prominence during the early wars 

, The Discovery of America — Rosenberg. 71 

and the wars of the Revolution and Rebellion, the tie of 
a common cause makes one lose sight of this one or that 
one as a Jew, a Catholic, or a Protestant; we know of 
them only as men doing battle together for a great cause. 

Since the western hemisphere has been opened up, a 
stream of immigration has flowed in steadily, people 
leaving the over-crowded countries of the old world to 
better their condition; some come to enjoy greater free- 
dom, others, disappointed with their achievements, make 
a new beginning, whilst others still, working and slaving 
where toil is over-crowded and poorly paid, are anxious 
for their children to have better opportunities than they 
themselves enjoyed. The sad, disappointed and dissatis- 
fied with the state of affairs in the old world, come to 
the new to build up under more favorable conditions; 
looking toward America to solve the problems and allay 
the fears menacing the nations of the earth to-day. And 
nowhere can one find so happy a working class or a 
middle class in a better, happier or more cultured condi- 
tion. And that which is true of this nation in general 
is true also of her Jews. How truly has it been said 
that " Each country has the Jews it deserves." 

The American Jews of to-day (and by these are not 
meant the oppressed Russian exiles who find a home 
here, but the descendants of the earlier settlers through- 
out the country) hold positions of influence and culture, 
commingle with the other citizens of the United States 
in all vital questions, and are in reality lost sight of as 
Jews, excepting in religious belief. They exert a health- 
ful influence over immigrants from other countries, in 
which oppression has been the lot of their brethren, 
and although we occasionally hear of a wave of anti- 
semitism in civilized countries, nevertheless persecu- 
tions cannot become general in our enlightened age, nor 
endure for any length of time. 

72 Jbwish Women's Congress. 

Each age lias had its celebrated Jewish philanthropists, 
and with the favorable conditions enjoyed under the 
glorious "stars and stripes," Jewish hospitals, orphan 
asylums, free schools and benevolent institutions flourish 
in proportion to the Jewish population. The Union of 
American Congregations has for its object the dissemi- 
nation of religious knowledge through the medium of 
its Hebrew Union College, of Cincinnati, and the con- 
gregational Sunday-schools, and is in this Congress reap- 
ing one of the best fruits of its sowing. To co-operate 
with similar associations throughout the world, to relieve 
and elevate oppressed Jews has been its noblest task, 
and through its agency the immigrants coming to the 
United States are taught self-reliance and self-help. No 
matter how ignorant through oppression these people 
are, their immediate progeny show marked signs of im- 
provement and Americanism, and removed from the 
yoke of the oppressor, the third generation of this re- 
markable people on American soil, with their inherited 
powers of adaptability, will retain only their religion as 
an indication of Judaism. 

We have followed Israel from its bondage in Egypt, 
through its national period, in its dispersion, during 
times of persecution, until we see Judaism, not as a 
nation or a tribe or a race, but as a religious sect; and 
now the Jew's nationality is like that of his Christian 
brother in his adopted or in his native land. The great 
colleges of the world are open to him, and in the short 
period of his liberation, his achievements have been 
greater in proportion to the population than those of any 
other people. 

The influence of the discovery of America on the 
world at large was to revolutionize the accepted mode of 
reasoning; it set the philosophers to work, and assisted 
Bacon and later Franklin in striking the death blow 

The Discovery of America — Rosenberg. 73 

to scholasticism. Thought pinioned for centuries was 
set free; freedom was no longer a dream, but a reality 
within the grasp of the daring; the bold new world with 
its unexplored extent invited daring adventurers, and 
offered an asylum for countless numbers of hitherto op- 
pressed people. Could it help having a wholesome effect 
upon the treatment of the Jews? 

Among the workers of all classes in America we find 
Jews: artisans, tradesmen, merchants, scientists, littera- 
teurs, professors, doctors, advocates, diplomats and phi- 
losophers, and those who have not attained extraordinary 
renown are happy in being integral parts of the best nation 
on earth, exerting a restrictive influence upon foreign 
oppressors of their creed, aiding to better the condition 
of mankind, and working out one of the problems of 
civilization — to live in friendship and peace, not antag- 
onism; in love, and not in hate; and, in all questions 
absorbing the nation, working hand in hand with the 
Christian, making a brotherhood of man, radiating an 
influence to all quarters of the globe, inviting citizenship. 
America's Jews, the descendants of foreign born citizens, 
enjoying liberty, enlightenment and culture for a few 
generations, judging by past noble achievements, hold 
out a bright promise of future possibilities. 

" When the centuries behind me like a fruitful land reposed, 
When I clung to all the present for the promise that it closed, 
When I dipt into the future far as human eye can see. 
Saw the vision of the world and all the wonder that would be." 



{Discussion of the foregoing paper.") 

Esther Witkowsky, Chicago, III. 

Forget for one moment that you are attending a Jewish 
Women's Congress in America at the close of the nine- 
teenth century, and turn back with me to Spain, on the 
first and second of August, 1492. Look along the high- 
roads leading from the cities; you will see throngs of 
human beings, in all 300,000 souls, journeying they know 
not whither, realizing only that, for no fault of their own, 
they are expelled from a land which has been the home 
of their fathers for about eight hundred years. They, 
the best of the Spanish kingdom, writers and scientists, 
physicians and jurists, artisans and farmers, were cast, 
impoverished and plague-ridden, upon the mercy of for- 
eign nations. Let us follow them a little way; Portugal, 
for a high tax, gave them temporary shelter; the cities 
of Italy granted them a grudging welcome to the ghettos^ 
Germany admitted them to a share in the persecution of 
their brethren; England and France spumed them utterly. 
In all Europe they were welcomed in but one place, in 
Turkey, the home of the infidel. 

When Queen Isabella refused the generous offer of the 
Jews to share the expenses of the Moorish war, if Isaac 
Arbarbanel, with the tongue of a prophet, had turned 
upon the bigoted woman, and told her that the hand 
which had signed the decree of expulsion would, by its 
bounty, provide a resting place for the descendants of 
his people, he would have been called a madman. 


Thb Discovery of America — Witkowsky. 75 

We have the eyes of history, and once more looking 
back, this time to the third of August, at the port of 
Palos, we see three tiny vessels setting out for a journey 
across an unknown sea, seeking the spices and precious 
metals of India, but finding the New World, needed by 
none so much as by the children of the poor wanderers 
we have just been following. 

When Torquemada, Inquisitor-General of Spain, hold- 
ing aloft the crucifix, with fiery eloquence, reproached 
his sovereigns for considering the offer of the Jews, if 
then Isaac Arbarbanel had turned upon him, and again 
with the tongue of a prophet, had foretold that the In- 
quisition would pave the way for the first pilgrimage of 
the Jews to this new home, he would have been called 
a madman. Our scene now changes to Holland; time, 
about seventy-five years later. We see the sturdy Dutch 
people, who, by a series of fateful royal marriages, had 
come under the sway of Philip the Second, great-grand- 
son and worthy descendant of Isabella, engaged in a bitter 
struggle to secure their ancient privileges, and to prevent 
the establishment of the Inquisition in their land. 

When this freedom-loving Batavian people had suc- 
ceeded in, gaining the political and religious liberty for 
which they had so valiantly fought, with the logic that 
might have been expected of them, they offered a home 
and immunity from persecution to those whose faith was 
different from their own. As they carried this policy 
into their colonies, we are not surprised to find, as early 
as 1654, the record of the first Jews in North America 
in the city of New York, then, of course. New Amster- 
dam. It took the English Puritans a little longer to 
reach the logical conclusion of their religious premises, 
and it was nearly three centuries from the time Colum- 
bus sailed to the unknown lands, when the descendants 
of the early settlers agreed, in the Constitution of the 

76 Jewish Women's Congkess. 

new nation they were forming, that "Congress shall 
make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or 
prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thereby making a 
home for the persecuted of all lands and all times. 

It behooves us Jews, as partakers of the bounty of 
this new nation, to remember the historj^ of our people, 
to recall the struggle that our fathers have had to hold 
fast to the faith, and to understand that it is our duty to 
extend a helping hand to any of our brethren still bear- 
ing the yoke of oppression. No matter how ignorant, 
how degraded, the modern exiles may be; no matter 
whether we believe they are of one race with us or not, 
they are suffering for our religion, and for the sake of 
our own past, we must help them. 

By educating the younger generation, not only of these 
newcomers, but of American Jews, by instructing it in 
the essential principles of culture, by surrounding it with 
refining influences, we must seek to stifle the breath of 
prejudice. There was no land of promise for the perse- 
cuted Jew of the sixteenth century; we have found one 
here in America; the Holy City may not lie within its 
boundaries, but the route thither certainly does. " Next 
year in Jerusalem " prays the orthodox Jew; let us hope 
that here^ in the future, he may forget this prayer, be- 
lieving; that he has found what he has sousfht. 



{Discussion of the foregoing paper.') 

Mary Newbury Adams, Dubuque, Iowa. 

The influence of the discovery of America on the 
Jews was to bring them into prominence, because they 
had the qualities needed by the new conditions it gave 
to nations and religions. 

When Protestantism began to disintegrate Christianity, 
and reason and learning were to be brought to bear on 
religion, and new sects formed from the study of the 
Bible, as human reason should find necessary to suit the 
modem world, then we find learned Jews were needed to 
translate and interpret the Bible. 

Reuchlin, the humanist and Hebraist, has a statue as 
a promoter of the Reformation. He began true Prot- 
estantism with the demand that we use our reason in 
religion and in the study of Scripture. 

The Christian history given to western Europe was 
of Rome, Constantinople and Jerusalem. When people 
began to reason on religion, and establish sects best 
suited to their needs for coming time from the Bible, 
the Hebrew race and Asia came in as a part of the 
religious history of humanity, and when the great 
monument was erected to l^uther, statues of Jews were 
among those that surrounded his. 

The newly discovered continents had given hope, 
courage and influence to Hebrews, and the public recog- 
nized their position in human progress. The revival of 


78 Jewish Women's Congress. 

the study of literature and the Bible, brought about by 
the Renaissance and the Reformation, and the need of 
these in the formation of new religious sects, were bene- 
ficial to the recognition of their worth, for the value of 
Scripture, of literature, as above the authority of any 
one person or one institution, has risen with the increased 
power of Hebrews in society and religion. Then people, 
fleeing from persecution to new countries that they 
might worship God as seemed right in their judgment, 
increased interest in the Old Testament, and this had a 
reflex influence on Hebraism throughout the world, as 
Moses had said, " For it is not a vain thing for you, 
because it is your life, and through this thing ye shall 
prolong your days in the land," as "these words of the 
law " have done. 

Venice, Holland and Spain were the enterprising, 
commercial governments at the time of the discovery of 
America, and they owed to the Jews much of their finan- 
cial power, and that is the basis of influence in the 
world. They were travelers, and they brought knowl- 
edge that could be relied on of other countries, and 
could compare governments and religions. It was the 
Hebrew and Moslem learning that Prince Henry II. col- 
lected at his scientific college at Sagres on Cape St. Vin- 
cent that gave the navigators Perestrello and Pedro 
Correa knowledge for navigation. Columbus received 
their charts, maps, and collected astronomical and 
geographical learning. Christians, for a thousand years, 
had taught people to despise this world and the real 
facts of earth, but to look to Rome, the Christian Atlas, 
on whose shoulders government, religion and all civiliza- 
tion should rest. 

At the time Columbus started for Portugal, Venice 
had Jews who for convenience established banks. lyon- 
don had learned the need of a Lombard Street. At 

The Discovery of America — Adams. 79 

Antwerp and at Amsterdam, they were powers recog- 
nized in society and business. With new trade opening 
with the East Indies and America, the need of men who 
could speak several languages, and who had ability to 
make exchange of money, to be responsible for large 
amounts of cash, taught the business men of Europe to 
respect and honor Jews. For never since the overturning 
of the money-changers at Jerusalem, so many centuries 
before, in the Temple, where wealth had been safe, 
where the religious Temple was the court-house, under 
the care of priests and lawyers, who were bound by relig- 
ious oath to honesty, had there been a secure place for 
money, or a set of people to care and be responsible for 
money confided to them, until this time, 1500, when in 
Venice and Holland there were banks kept by Jews. 

With the discovery of new lands, the Jews were ready 
with knowledge gained by travel, with the sciences, and 
with money for the enterprises of discovery. These new 
countries not only gave opportunities for Jews, but stim- 
ulated exertions with the hope of obtaining security from 
the cruel thefts and persecutions of organized Christian- 
ity throughout Europe. For a thousand years, persecu- 
tions, which we never find equaled among savages, the 
Christian church inflicted in Spain upon these learned 
people, and upon the artistic and cultivated Saracens, 
who, by farms, gardens, architecture and the fine arts, 
had made that peninsula the Eden of Europe, and it was 
due to the learning of these Hebrew and Arab scientists 
that they gained knowledge to enable Columbus to sail 
across the ocean. Constantinople had been taken by 
Mohammedans in 1453. -^^ late as 1556, the English 
church was burning books on geometry and astronomy, 
as works of heathen magic. Arabs and Hebrews had 
had schools for the learning of history and science for 
many centuries. The discovery of America making a 

8o Je;wish Women's Congress. 

demand for knowledge and learning brought them into 
prominence. They were sought for in universities. 

Isabella, granddaughter of the great Philippa of Flan- 
ders, true to her woman nature, had curiosity^ she wanted 
knowledge. She sent a Moorish botanist and a learned 
Hebrew astronomer with Columbus that she might have 
accurate knowledge of the new lands he was to find. 
She wanted the Arab to find new spices and herbs such 
as Holland women had, fruits for her plum-cake. She 
had to seek a Hebrew and an Arab, for Christians were 
not trained or learned, save in church legends and Roman 
history. They could not report on facts of this world 
or on the heavenly bodies accurately. They had been 
taught, " Come ye out of the world," and that knowledge 
of earth was folly, but the Hebrews were taught to enter 
the world, learn of it, and to enter into possession of it. 
" The Lord of Hosts is our God, Maker of heaveit and 
earthy and we are His people." The Hebrews were pre- 
pared by instinct, habits and religion, by the arts that 
are easily transported, literature and music that could be 
carried in a small package, to enjoy new colonies in a 
new land. 

For fifteen hundred years these persecuting European 
powers had demanded uniformity in religious belief, had 
falsified history to excuse their murders, and made 
opportunities to steal from the Jews to build palaces and 
cathedrals. They had tried to ostracize and exterminate 
them, but in the providence of God, the Scriptures and 
the knowledge of the Hebrews were the warp of the 
mantle raised that parted the waters of ignorance, and 
allowed the modern world to pass through into new 
scenes, new conditions, by the Reformation caused by 
reasoning on religion, and the discovery of a new hemi- 
sphere. Now, after four hundred years, with the impetus 
given trade by the opening of colonies, not a European 

Thb Discovery of America — Adams. 8i 

power can go to war, or enter upon great financial opera- 
tions without consent of Jew bankers in all nations. 
Napoleon wanted friends, lie wanted money, wanted 
France to be cosmopolitan, so lie befriended them. 

As the French Revolution had given vitality and 
organization to the reason of humanity and the rights 
of mankind, and in America a republic had been formed 
by "We the people" for "equal rights," with methods 
based on the Hebrew ideal, a unity with variety in har- 
mony, an ideal consonant with the newly discovered law 
of the heavens too, prayer had been answered. " Thy 
will " had come on earth as it is in the heavens. The 
method among the stars was worked out politically in 
government, and by variety, not uniformity, in religion. 
The States, like the twelve tribes of Israel, did not fol- 
low the example or commands of any person as authority, 
or rest on one belief, but the republic was spherical, 
revolving about the axis of principles deduced from the 
people's own best reason. The motion of the atoms 
causes the motion of the whole like the cosmos. So the 
reason of individuals organized in state government and 
religious sects, then again into a Union, and the science 
of the world expressed in political formation and religious 
toleration, leading to the future cosmos in religion, were 
the New World's adaptations of the Hebrew ideal. 

The republic founded on unity in variety was an 
opportunity for the Hebrews to rejoice in. A govern- 
ment under which the president takes his oath as chief 
magistrate by putting his hand on the collected litera- 
ture of the Jews, sanctions the collected wisdom of that 
people as authority. Here is the opposite of the ideal 
in Europe that persecuted the Jews. Here the president 
is but the executive hand to put into eflFective force the 
will of the people, and these laws are put into perma- 
tient form as the people's best ideals. No supernatural 

82 Jewish Women's Congress. 

Atlas holds the government on his shoulders, no individ- 
ual can say, " It hath been written, but I say," and do as 
I, the individual, shall think right. The zvritten law, 
as with the Hebrews, is the method of the republic, and 
not the command of one leader, or the example of one 
person. The " elders " of the people must rule, not by 
sentiment, but by written law. The Prophets had given 
promise of the coming republic, variety in harmony, not 
imperial uniformity. 

Three hundred years of study of Hebrew literature 
and history shaped this government. Moses, Aaron and 
Miriam seemed a part of our history. The Bible was 
read not only at church, but in the family, daily kneel- 
ing, night and morning, at home-worship, singing the 
psalms, and repeating the Hebrew poetry and proverbs. 
When children's minds have had woven into their high- 
est, sacred moments memories of these Scriptures, the 
imagination makes them not only the pillar of fire to 
lead, but the forming, creating power for life, their daily 
manna. The reading of the history of the Jews, as the 
ancient history of religion, shaped the imagination of 
the people. They read in their colonial homes, " When 
I consider the heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon 
and the stars which Thou hast ordained, what is man 
that Thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that 
Thou visitest him ? For Thou hast made him a little 
lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory 
and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over 
the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under 
his feet." " I delight to do Thy will, O my God. Yea, 
Thy law is within my heart." " He shall cut off the 
spirit of princes." " He is terrible to the kings of the 
earth," as the republic was. " I have said ye are gods, 
and all of you are children of the Most High." " God 
standeth in the congregation of the mighty. He judgeth 

The Discovery of America — Adams. 83 

among the gods " (people). Here was a present, living 
Creator and God in America, not the history of one in 
Asia. " Let the beauty of the I/Ord our God be upon us, 
and establish Thou the work of our hands, yea, the work 
of our hands establish Thou it." These Scripture words 
echoed through the minds of the children in their early 
days, and formed the ideal for statesmen. Jefferson, in 
his inaugural, saw that it was a constellation that guided 
this republic, as an ideal in method. 

The English church did not persecute Jews, because 
the kings were always needing their financial aid; they 
wanted the strength which Spain persecuted, and many 
of her people were from Holland. The Presbyterian as 
well as the Independent element were Hebraic rather 
than Roman, because of the dependence of their knowl- 
edge and forms of worship on the Bible, rather than the 
Christian system as established by Paul and Peter. The 
whole system of Rome's religion that dominated Europe, 
and held the people helpless during the Dark Ages was 
the triumph over many races of the system of unity xvith 
tiniformity — the attempt to rest power, as they thought 
the earth rested, on one person. The cross has always 
stood for imperial power over individual life; thousands 
of years before, Rome had adopted it after conquering 
Alexandria. When Constantine, as it is said, saw the 
Cross in the sky, he saw the opportunity to select one 
religion, and make all others submit to it, all saved 
through one blood-sacrifice in heaven, all saved on earth 
by the Emperor, head of the church, and Constantinople, 
the imperial city, to hold Asia and Europe in subjection. 
Rome had conquered Africa, and she based her empire 
of religion on Constantine's political system, readjusted 
to include her diverse European races. They, too, were 
praying, and trying to have " Thy kingdom come on 
earth as in heaven," but they killed the prophets and 

84 Jewish Women's Congress. 

the learned men, and, without the scientific knowledge 
of the law of the heavens, based their methods on 
Ptolemaic astronomy and Chaldsean Tarsus philosophy. 
There could be no peace for Hebrews with those who 
despised the laws of astronomy and earth, for they sang, 
" My help cometh from the lyord who made heaven and 

The Hebrews returned good for evil to the persecuting 
Christians, who stole their property, and scattered them 
by banishment. They had incited no wars nor rebellions. 
Again they had hung their harps on the willows, be- 
lieving that their " God of Hosts, the Creator of yester- 
day, to-day and forever, to whom a thousand years are as 
one day, would turn, and overthrow, until His will was 
done," and humanity, born of God, again had a right to 
life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 

When the ideal of an empire, unity with uniformity, 
rules, there can be no peace for those who differ from the 
head. The influence, then, of the discovery of America 
on the Jews was to bring them forward victorious with 
their banner inscribed, " Ye are gods, and all of you are 
children of the Most High." They could not submit to 
Christian belief, for it was based on depravity of man- 
kind and the need of exterior salvation by a human 
blood-sacrifice. The history of a representative of God 
could not be an authority over the " children of God." 
As the power of priests with ceremonies, repeating his- 
tory, declined, prophets multiplied, and thus it came 
about that those whose religion rested on the authority 
of prophets furnished the light for the day. 

The art of music began at this time, and in this they 
won signal success. With the discovery of printing, their 
literature became the " high towers," the " Hill of Zion," 
to give law in many lands and across oceans to colonies, 
and thus they became the forming influence in society 

The Discovery of America — Adams. 85 

as well as church and state after the discovery, and im- 
portant factors in all civil life. 

Two thousand years ago, over the door of Hillel's 
school for youth in Jerusalem, till Rome's Titus destroyed 
it, was the motto, " The world is saved by the breath 
of the school children." Here the learned teacher, " a 
strong personality characterized by unusual sweetness 
and light," taught them to come into the sanctuary, and 
repeat the golden rule, to learn of laws, and to obey the 
written word. They were forbidden to follow persons 
until approved by the elected authority. No one indi- 
vidual could be an authority, only the one God through 
the people. " The Lord is in His holy temple " — the 
human mind — " let all the earth keep silence before 
Him." The collected wisdom of human mind of proph- 
ets and prophetesses were in Scripture as authority, 
not in a building, nor in one person, but in law, literature, 
Scripture. " For with Thee is the fountain of life. In 
Thy light shall we see light; and worship Him that made 
heaven and earth and the sea and the fountains of 
waters." A race that bringeth " good tidings, that pub- 
lisheth peace," that believeth in a God that requires 
" but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly 
with God." 

One influence on the Jews of the discovery of America 
was to make them realize, in their wide travels, that the 
Mediterranean Sea was not the world, and that not in 
walled Jerusalem or Rome was or could be the realization 
of God's kingdom on earth. God was not historical or 
geographical, but present in the human mind. With the 
discovery of continents, of the other half of the globe, 
and that the sphere was held in place by its own motion, 
came cosmopolitan ideals that nations, too, are held in 
equilibrium by vitality in all their various activities, that 
it is the people with freedom in various lines of activity 

86 Jewish Women's Congress. 

that turns a nation on its axis with safety. So the Jews 
with world-wisdom have entered into modern, social life 
as a potent force. At the ballot-box, they have con- 
fronted, in a solid body, enemies of the republic from 
Europe. They are the friends of the public schools, 
patrons of fine arts, and sustain, quietly and as law-abid- 
ing citizens, the power of government; for the discovery 
of America loosened them from their bonds to Jerusalem 
as their home, and fastened them to people who accepted 
their Scripture as law and leader. They have become 
the cosmopolitan element, and are at home where law 
and commerce go. From 300 to 1500, Jews were treated 
in Europe worse than beasts or savages. What a dawn 
was the discovery of a new hemisphere that the old 
hemisphere could not rule over, and the establishment 
of a republic with a heterogeneous people that must 
become one by forming and following law ! A full his- 
tory of the influence on America of the Jewish financial 
ability, the ethical teachings and religious methods 
needed in this new land, is a volume yet to be written. 
This race obeys law that is accepted by law-makers. 
They denounce individual assertion of democracy that 
would say, " It hath been written, but I say." They hold 
to obedience of written law as authority, till another 
written law is accepted by those in authority. Anarch- 
ists do not come from this race or this religion. Modem 
history has awakened to the ethical value of their long 
experience with high aims for human benefit, and has 
renewed " faith in the one God who turneth and over- 
tumeth till His will is done," and His way is won. " The 
fountain of their patient faith was thought, and faith in 
God." Europe's rejected stone has become the corner- 
stone of the United States. 

In this Parliament of Religions, this Congress of 
Hebrew women can turn to their Scripture, and read 

The Discovery of America — Adams. 87 

Micah iv. 2, " Many nations shall come, and say, let us 
go up into the mountain of the I<ord. And He shall 
judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations 
afar off, and they shall beat their swords into plow- 
shares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nations 
shall not lift up sword against nations, neither shall they 
learn war any more. But they shall sit every man 
under his vine and fig tree, and none shall make them 
afraid, for the mouth of the L,ord of Hosts hath spoken 
it." For all people will walk in the name of his god, 
and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for- 
ever and ever (Micah vi. 4). For, saith He, " I brought 
thee out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out 
of the house of servants, and I sent before thee Moses, 
Aaron and Miriam.'''' If by the memory of Moses 
" they are to remember and show themselves men," let 
us remember Miriam, and exalt womanhood. The serving 
qualities in this helpful sister of old that foresaw com- 
ing good to a people, and protected its life, are repeated 
down through the centuries to this day. As the time 
has come when, as Joel ii. 28 said, "your daughters 
shall prophesy " and " upon the handmaids in those days 
will I pour out My spirit," then it is time that not only 
Jewish women, but all women who would have liked to 
have the great Miriam give her prophecy, now work out 
into action what she would have told us to do. She 
could say, " I girded thee, though thou hast no't known 

Miriam does not belong alone to Jewish women. She 
is leader of the womanhood of the world. All Bible- 
reading nations honor her memory. " The battle is not 
to the swift, nor the victory to the strong," but to the 
organized forces. This has always been women's way, 
to unite their forces by sympathy, and let superior num- 
bers with intuitive tact take the place of individual 

88 Jewish Women's Congress. 

might and force; so thought and reason were first gen- 
erated, and the desire to pass these on to their children 
began history. Proverbs xv. 22 says, " Without counsel, 
purposes are disappointed, but in the multitude of coun- 
sels they are established." Then let us now in this 
multitude of counsels, with the help of the International 
Council of Women, encircle the enlightened women of 
the world in a Miriam sisterhood, and work out into 
womanly deed what centuries ago she would have bidden 
us do. We, too, must use our foresight to protect, on 
the stream of time, our deliverers. Moses and Aaron as 
commanders and institutions have for centuries held 
sway, but the prophet bears witness that God said 
Miriam came with equal authority. Delay not, then, to 
form special denominational organizations to do the work 
the time demands. Miriam is leader for all women. 
Her prophecy was silenced, but shall not be lost, but be 
resurrected, and revered by us all. 

For centuries we have learned of the great Jewish 
women, but for you to be in union with us you need to 
know of all Gentile women, whose lives have been 
" light and instruction in the way of life." The great 
Abbess Hilda, of Whitby, who was to England her 
Miriam, sent to Rome in 650 for the Empress Eudocia's 
(Athenais) transcript of the Bible story of creation, and 
thus introduced Hebrew literature into the abbey, where 
she was educator and the venerable Bede. She presided 
over a double monastery of monks and nuns. Over her 
high seat was the motto, " True life of man if life 
witliin." She taught too, " In Thy law is light. I 
delight to do Thy will, yea, Thy law is within my 
heart." She inspired, and gave opportunity and encour- 
agement, so that Caedmon could write the first English 
poem on Creation, a suitable subject for his work, the 
germinating of a new language that now circles the 

The Discovery op America — Adams. 89 

earth. He was led by Hebrew thought, translated by a 
woman, and taught by a woman; but Abbess Hilda was 
the protecting sister watching an opportunity for him. 
She is the true founder of the English church. She first 
protested against Rome's control of Britain's religion. 
This was the rising of that spirit from western waters, 
which felt the tides of world's oceans; it protested 
against Rome's Mediterranean Sea dictation. Hebrew 
women must include her with many others among their 
star-women to light them on their way. 

There are the great women of Holland and Germany, 
-and France has a host of them. Catholics, Protestants and 
Rationalists. They are a part of the galaxy of woman- 
hood. There is St. Catherine, of Siena, who did so much 
to introduce diplomacy to replace war, who developed 
the Italian language for common people to learn high 
truths hid in Latin, and was "peacemaker between 
-cities," the stateswoman of her time. She belongs to the 
class with Miriam. They have all been helpful sisters, 
guarding an ark in the stream of time, containing a good 
force which they foresaw would deliver them from the 
■enslaving authority of some Pharaoh. 

We want a history of civilization written showing the 
work of women for the benefit of common life, of civil 
peace, and religious aspiration. There is cumulative 
•evidence that these women of the past, who are found 
in all nations and faiths, are one with us in ideal. They, 
being women blessed by the Holy Ghost, had faith in 
the divinity of the human soul, and were mothers of 
more than animal life. They gave vitality to souls by 
faith and thought. 

"Awake, awake, put on strength," as in the ancient 
days, in the generations of old. " Rise up, ye women 
"that are at ease, hear my voice; ye careless daughters, 
^ve ear unto my speech." 

90 Jbwish Women's Congress. 

As in the beginning, so now, every day has oppress- 
ing Pharaoh leaders that would enslave to build. lyct 
your Jewish women's council, when organized, be a, 
basket to protect those principles that are helpful, and 
you will give law to the future. To protect your spirit, 
your ideal, organize, unite your forces, weave them, and 
pitch them both within and without, and in time the 
learning of the world will recognize, and add wisdom to, 
your spirit, for the " Lord of Hosts is your strength," 
and the Sabeans of stature shall say, " Surely God is 
with thee." 

Tuesday, September 5, 1893, 2.30 p. m. 

Mrs. Minnie D. I<ouis, of New York, was presented 
by tlie Chairman as the honorary presiding officer of the 


JuuA RicHMAN, New York. 

This is an age of progress; and, surrounded as we are 
to-day by every evidence of the astounding advance that 
the nineteenth century has carried in its train, I feel 
that I am flinging down a challenge that will, perhaps, 
bring me face to face with a volley of rhetorical bullets, 
when I assert that in no other country and in no other 
direction is this progress more noticeable than in the 
relative position to man and the affairs of the world that 
woman occupies to-day. This advance has been made 
in almost every grade in society, in almost every walk in 
life; but so far as my own personal observations have 
permitted me to go, so far as my own experiences have 
enabled me to judge, it is my belief that this change,, 
this revolution, yes, this progress is more noticeable in 
the position held by the Jewish women of America 
(notably the descendants of European emigrants driven 
from their homes forty or fifty years ago), than in that 
of any other class in our cosmopolitan community. 

Many conditions have conspired to bring about this 
change: the general advance in the education of women; 


92 Jewish Women's Congress. 

the desire to give children greater educational advan- 
tages than the parents enjoyed; the financial value of 
woman's work; the frequent necessity for women to con- 
tribute to the support of families; the growing convic- 
tion that there is not a sufl&cient number of marrying 
men to supply all the marriageable girls with good hus- 
bands — these are but a few, with only one of which it is 
my privilege to deal, viz., the financial value of woman's 

Perhaps it was due to custom and tradition, perhaps 
■due to our oriental origin, but notwithstanding the fact 
that there may have always been among us a certain 
number of Deborahs, Ruths and Esthers, in general, the 
wives and daughters of Jews were, and in many parts 
of the world unfortunately still are, regarded as man's 
inferiors, their chief mission in life being to marry, or 
rather to be given in marriage, to rear children, to perform 
household duties, and to serve their lords and masters. 

This is an age of progress; and thousands of women, 
many of them good, true, pure, womanly women, have 
discovered for themselves, or have been led to discover, 
that there is, at best, only an uncertain chance of real 
happiness facing the woman who calmly settles down 
in her parents' home, to perform, in an inane, desultory 
way, certain little household or social duties, who lives 
on from day to day, from year to year, without any 
special object in life, and who sees no prospect of change, 
unless a husband should appear to rescue her from so 
aimless an existence. Having made this discovery they 
try to join, and frequently, in the face of opposition, suc- 
ceed in joining the ever-increasing army of women wage- 
workers, striving to lead useful, if sometimes lonely 
lives, with the hope of making the world, or that little 
corner thereof into which their lines have fallen, a little 
better and a little brighter than they found it. 

Women Wage-Workers — Richman. gy. 

I speak of such as women wage-workers, although many 
of them labor for no more substantial pay than the 
approval of conscience, and the satisfaction of feeling 
that it is God's work, however imperfectly done, that they 
are doing. With this class others must deal; for me it 
is enough to thank those whom I have met, for the in- 
spiration their work has so often been to me, and to point 
out, humbly and modestly, how their future efforts may 
make life sweeter for the class whose work and condition 
must form the main topic of this paper — the immigrant 
wage-workers in America. 

Who are our women wage-workers ? From the writer 
or artist who receives thousands for a single work, to the 
poor overworked girl in some pest-hole, called a factory, 
killing herself by inches for a couple of dollars a week, 
there is so wide a range, divided into strata, sub-strata 
and veins leading to or from these sub-strata, that it is 
practically impossible to mark off, with well-defined lines, 
the different classes of woman's work. Perhaps the 
simplest classification on practical lines would be in gen- 
eral terms: 

Women engaged in professional work. 

Women engaged in domestic service. 

Women engaged in store or factory work. . 

The professional workers, excluding writers, artists 
and all other classes requiring special talent in addition 
to long training, let us, for convenience, divide again intO' 
two classes; the one class, including teachers, governesses, 
companions, kindergartners, typewriters, stenographers,, 
bookkeepers, trained nurses, etc., demands, first, a general 
education, in a greater or less degree, with a thorough 
knowledge of the English language; and, second, some 
special course of instruction, to which, in most cases, 
months, sometimes years must be devoted. The other 
class, a type best represented by dressmakers, milliners,, 

■94 Jewish Women's Congress. 

manicures, masseuses and hair-dressers, demands little 
general education, in which a thorough knowledge of the 
English language is not an essential, a marketable value 
of which can usually be acquired by a special course of 
instruction, which can be completed in a few weeks. 

This first class of professional work is, with very few 
exceptions, not open to immigrants, particularly not to 
the class with which American Jewish philanthropists 
have to deal, Russians, Poles, Hungarians and uneducated 
■Germans. The exceptions would include those young 
women, who, by unusual educational advantages in Eu- 
rope, may possibly have been fitted to give instruction 
in music, German, perhaps French, or in kindergarten 
methods; but the well-educated female immigrant is not 
plentiful, and the competition for positions of this nature 
is great, and I am afraid that discouragements drive such 
applicants too frequently into the factories and shops, 
where their surroundings are neither educating nor 

Into this second class of professional workers, I should 
direct as many capable immigrants as the demand for 
such work would justify. To be sure, some preparatory 
instruction must be furnished. Upon what lines this is 
to be done, I shall try to suggest later on. 

The workers, whom, in general terms, I have placed 
under the head, " Women engaged in domestic service," 
are the cooks, laundresses, waitresses and chamber- 
maids, children's nurses, seamstresses, ladies' maids and 
general houseworkers. And when we have found a 
sound, practical, reasonable plan for directing the tide 
of immigration into this channel, we shall have solved 
the most perplexing woman's problem of the day. 

Good servants are in greater demand in all parts of 
the United States than any other class of labor, and yet, 
while thousands of homes, many of them good homes, 

Women Wage-Workers — Richman. 95 

are open to these homeless, friendless girls, we find 
them living in miserable tenements, slaving in dismal 
factories, forming corrupt associations, losing their 
health morally as well as physically, turning their faces 
away from a life incomparably better than the one they 
follow, — and why ? 

It is hardly proper that, in a paper prepared to ad- 
vance the interests of immigrant working girls, I should 
put in a plea for the housekeeper of to-day. But the 
sight of the hundreds of homes which are annually 
broken up, because incompetent servants make house- 
keeping, if not marriage, a failure, the knowledge of 
how these housekeepers drift into the evils that the idle- 
ness of hotel or boarding-house life engenders, and the 
certainty that many a matrimonial craft has met ship- 
wreck, the indirect if not the direct cause of which has 
been the servant question, force me to emphasize the 
fact, that it is not alone the poor and the ignorant that 
have need of our philanthropy. If, from the plan I 
shall attempt to outline later on, any good may come, it 
is not the immigrants alone, it is a whole generation 
of housekeepers who will be benefited. 

And now we come to the third class, "Women en- 
gaged in store or factory work." Perhaps this class 
<:omprises more gxades of work than could be classed 
nnder any other general head. 

The manager of one large dry-goods house reports to 
me that he employs women as buyers, forewomen, dress- 
makers, milliners, saleswomen, cashiers, stock-girls, 
office-assistants, bundlers, operators, addressers and 
scrub- women; while a manufacturer of tin toys uses 
female help exclusively for painting on tin, cutting tin, 
packing toys, making paper boxes, and working foot 
presses. There are almost as many grades of woman's 
"work as there are branches in every style of factory 

96 Jewish Women's Congress. 

work. A word, nov/ and again, is all that I can say in, 
reference to these. 

Saleswomen in large establishments are, on the whole, 
fairly well paid; but this avenue is closed to the immi- 
grant, until she shall have mastered the English language 
to such an extent that there is no room for misunder- 
standing between herself and her customer. 

" Figures " in wholesale cloak and suit houses are well 
paid; their hours are short, their work never onerous, 
and " between seasons " they have little or no work to do. 
But, perhaps, no other class of working women in large 
cities is so directly placed in the way of temptation, and 
the mother who lets her daughter, particularly if she be 
attractive and vain, take a position as a " figure," has 
need of all our prayers added to her own to protect her 
girl. You, who are doing such zealous work among 
working girls, try to reach this class. God help them ! 
They have need of you. 

Until I commenced to systematically collect data for 
this paper, which data have been furnished me by the 
owners of large manufacturing industries in New York 
City, and by working girls with whom I am intimately 
acquainted, I am afraid I shared the only too general 
opinion, that factory girls are an overworked, underpaid, 
much persecuted class of wage-earners. Now, I am 
hardly prepared to say that girls are never overworked 
or never underpaid, but I am prepared to assert and to 
prove that in New York City, at least, there are hun- 
dreds of shops and factories, well lighted, well ventilated, 
controlled by humane forewomen, where girls can be 
contented if not happy, and where the pay for satisfac- 
tory work is good, in many cases excellent. I do not, 
for one moment, claim that there are no factories, life 
in which must be torture to the poor girls therein em- 
ployed; but these are in the minority, I think vastly 

Women Wage-Workers — Richman. 97- 

in the minority in those industries largely controlled by 

I take keen pride in re-quoting an extract taken from 
the government report on '' Working Women in Large 
Cities," quoted by Mrs. Campbell, in her article on 
" Women Wage-Earners," published in the July Arena: 

" Actual ill-treatment by employers seems to be infre- 
quent Foreigners are often found to be more considerate 
of their help than native-born men, and the kindest 
proprietor in the world is a Jew of the better class." 

Such being the case, it becomes an obligation on the 
part of those whose aim it is to benefit the immigrant 
and the working woman, to organize a factory commit- 
tee, whose special work it must be to act as an intelli- 
gence bureau, to direct the proper class of workers 
toward those factories whose proprietors can appreciate 
and properly remunerate good work. 

Probably, the manufacture of clothing and cloaks 
gives employment to a larger number of immigrant 
Jewish girls and women than does any other single 
industry in New York City, and, unfortunately, many, 
perhaps even most, of these women are compelled to 
run heavy machines, in badly lighted, worse ventilated 
dens. The manufacturer is only indirectly to blame 
for this, owing to the pernicious " middleman " system; 
and let me say right here that if " the kindest proprietor 
in the world is a Jew of the better class,'''' there is no 
employer of our Jewish working girls who shows less 
kind-heartedness to his employees than these Jews of the 
other class, call them middlemen, or sweaters, or what 
you please. They are, with few exceptions, so hard, so 
harsh, so grasping, so unreasoning, and so unreasonable, 
that on several occasions, in my capacity as presideftt 
of a Working Girls' Club, I tried to find better paying 
•positions for some of these girls, in order to take them 

98 Jewish Women's Congress. 

away from shops owned or controlled by their own 
fathers. I recall one case distinctly — a girl, not over fif- 
teen, whose father runs a shop for the manufacture of 
ladies' wrappers — over twenty machines in two small 
rooms lighted by kerosene lamps, the air vile, the lan- 
guage not less so, the employees paid by piece-work, 
laboring from seven in the morning until after ten at 
night, and for this, the girl I refer to received three dol- 
lars a week, of which she paid her father two dollars 
and a half for board. I saw her growing hollow-eyed, 
round-shouldered, narrow-chested, with a never-ceasing 
pain in the back. It was not until I found a place for 
her in which she earned six dollars a week, working 
daily from 8 to 6, that her father would let her leave his 
shop, and then only upon her promise to pay him four 
dollars a week for board. 

It is this class which requires our attention. It is in 
these sweaters' shops that the immigrants congregate, 
and it is away from these dens that we must turn the 
tide of women-workers. But how ? I regret that I had 
not the time to obtain statistics from all the great manu- 
facturing industries in the country, but from six of them, 
manufacturers of cloaks, ladies' underwear, men's shirts, 
tin toys, cigars and ribbons, I have obtained much 
valuable information, valuable not only because it shows 
existing conditions, but because it furnishes the facts 
which should indicate the means for arranging and 
systematizing a well-defined plan for directing immi- 
grants toward those industries wherein their capabilities 
will command the best price, and sending the incapables 
in those directions where their incapability will do the 
least harm to themselves, their fellow-workers and their 
employers. In certain industries, only a partial knowl- 
edge of the English language is required; in others, 
girls who do not speak any English can find employment, 

Women Wage-Workers— ^Richman. 99 

in some classes of work, the foremen prefer German and 
Bohemian hands; in others, Poles or Russians are pre- 

All who have supplied me with information are unani- 
mous in their statement that, for the same grade of 
work, there is no difference in the pay given to immi- 
grants and to native-born, and in most cases, women 
receive the same pay as men for the same kind of work. 
The same manufacturers assert that the foreigners and the 
native-born women in their employ affiliate readily with 
each other, that only in the rarest instances does any ill- 
feeling prevail, and when such is the case, the foreigner 
is responsible, usually because her personal habits are 
such that she becomes objectionable. It is a customary 
thing for the native-bom to show a desire to help the 
immigrant where the latter appears worthy of such help. 

To note down in greater detail the general conditions 
of our factory girls would take time and space that 
ought better to be devoted to suggestions for the future, 
and so I must pass on to that point, stopping just a 
moment to quote from a letter written to me by a manu- 
facturer who personally superijjtends a large factory: 
" I have been employing help, principally the class you 
are interested in, for thirteen years, and my experience 
has taught me to discriminate very sharply against cer- 
tain classes of immigrants. I will cite two: 

"First, .Italians of South Italy. They are uncleanly, 
and in painfully many instances, seem to lack the germs, 
so that development has no basis to start on. 

" Second, Russian-Polish Jews. They are suspicious, 
dissatisfied, and always want pay and preferment ahead 
of the knowledge and dexterity acquired. They are 
servile, almost cringing, when they start; they soon 
become arrogant and impertinent, and have almost a 
craze to get away from actual work themselves, but 

lOO jEjwisfi Women's Congress. 

want to get at the commercial side, to start for them- 
selves, and employ others to do the work. They also 
marry young, and come under another general class I 
discriminate against, viz., those nationalities that marry 
young. It is a great deal of trouble and expense teaching 
girls a trade, and if they abandon the trade for domestic 
duties soon after learning it, we are ' out ' on the trans- 

How to improve the condition of the present army of 
working women is a problem which our working girls' 
clubs and our sisterhoods are slowly but bravely solving, 
and will you pardon me if I forget my theme for a 
moment, in order to pay tribute and to offer my thanks 
to the founder of the working girls' club movement, to 
Miss Dodge, the truest, grandest, noblest woman I ever 
met, a woman whose smallest act serves as an inspiration 
to those who try to humbly follow in her footsteps ? If 
we but stop to contemplate the breadth and magnitude 
of the magnificent philanthropy which is the outgrowth 
of her personal influence upon a handful of working 
girls, we have no right to pause or hesitate in organizing 
a kindred movement, for fear of failure. Nothing fails 
that is properly conceived, carefully carried out and 
zealously promulgated, and to those pessimists who may 
declare that the following plan or some modification 
thereof is Utopian or impossible, I can only say, " Look 
at the Association of Working Girls' Clubs, examine 
into its history, see what it has accomplished, and then 
withdraw your prophecies of failure." 

It has been truly said that the first aim of everj' effort 
intended for the benefit of the mass of workers is to dis- 
entangle the individual from the mass. In work such as 
I hope to outline, this disentangling of the individual is 
essential, as the entire success of the scheme depends 
upon the judgment displayed in selecting the proper 

WoMBN Wage- Workers — Richman. ioi 

work for each individual to do. Why make a poor dress- 
maker of one who with a little help might have become 
a competent nurse? Or why make an inferior type- 
writer of a girl who might have become a skilful mil- 
liner? In general, the plan is this: 

In every large city establish a working women's 
bureau or agency on strictly business principles. This 
is not to be a charity. Working women as a class ask 
no charity; as Mrs. I^owell states the case, " Charity is 
the insult added to the injury done to the mass of the 
people by insufficient payment for work." 

This bureau should be operated on the same general 
basis as teachers' or dramatic agencies, or even intelli- 
gence offices. Every candidate for a position of any 
nature under the head of woman's work must be prop- 
erly registered, and must pay a small fee as soon as the 
bureau shall have furnished her with employment of the 
kind required. The bureau, through its agents, which, 
outside of the necessary clerical force, should be com- 
posed of an unlimited number of volunteers, must place 
itself in communication with shops, factories, mills, stores, 
families and every other field wherein women are em- 
ployed, and must agree to furnish competent help of 
every kind upon demand. The volunteer corps of agents 
to supply factory hands should be selected from many 
and varied sources. Wives and daughters of manufac- 
turers, fore-women in shops and capable working girls, 
who could gain a knowledge of conditions within 
factories and stores that might be withheld from the 
casual observer, should be largely represented. There 
should, be a separate corps of agents to supply help to 
families, from governesses down to scullery maids, if 
necessary. Still another corps must take charge of 
special help: the dressmaker, the masseuse, the skilled 
nurse, etc. 

102 Jewish Women's Congress. 

The first outlay for an enterprise like this would 
necessarily be large, but, after a time, the bureau might 
become self-supporting. That this is not too optimistic a 
view becomes evident when you calculate the enormous 
amount of money that manufacturers, heads of families 
and others who employ female help expend solely in 
advertising in the columns of the daily papers. Why 
should not such money be turned to the practical use of 
some intelligent movement like this? Could we not 
train the employer to see that well-selected help, which 
a reputable organization could at all times furnish, is 
worth the payment of a fee equal to the price of an 
advertisement ? Could we not, at the same time, show 
the immigrant that furnishing her with employment of 
a suitable nature, in an establishment that the same rep- 
utable organization feels no hesitancy in recommending, 
is also worth a fee ? 

Do you realize how many thousands of dollars are 
annually expended in a city like this or New York in 
fees at intelligence offices, to secure, in most cases, 
thoroughly incapable domestic help ? If we could 
establish, in connection with this bureau, a training 
school for servants, from which we could supply compe- 
tent cooks, laundresses, nursemaids, waitresses, etc., tell 
me, you housekeepers who hear me, would there be any 
lack of dollars flowing from your pockets into ours? 
And this brings me to the most important point in my 
paper. Strange that a spinster, above all, a school 
teacher, one who is supposed to have escaped the cares 
and worries of housekeeping, should feel so deeply upon 
a matter which has no bearing upon her profession; but 
realizing how many young housekeepers lose health and 
happiness, observing how many lovely homes are annu- 
ally broken up, and seeing how many husbands seek 
comfort at the clubs only because the housekeeping 

Women Wage-Workers — Richman. 103 

wheels run oflF the track, how can any woman feel 
unconcerned as to the result ? And then look at the 
other side. How can any woman with feeling look upon 
the hundreds of young girls living in squalid tenements, 
(did I say living ? it is barely existing) bending over 
machines in crowded factories, surrounded in the evening 
by coarse, if not evil influences; how can she, I say, see- 
ing this, and feeling that in hundreds of families these 
same girls could find easier work, comfortable beds, good 
food and refined surroundings, how can she help passing 
judgment on some one that this condition prevails? 
What right has she to keep quiet, when raising her voice 
in protest may make at least a few women pause to think ? 

And why is it that girls are so loth to enter domestic 
service ? The poor girls and their mothers are in part 
to blame, because they have not been trained to do 
housework; but is there nothing on the conscience of 
the housekeepers ? Do you think if tradition (or is it 
perhaps only report ?) had not led these girls to feel that 
in entering domestic service, they were losing all their 
independence, and were often placing themselves in the 
way of petty meannesses which tyrannical mistresses 
practice in their little kingdoms, that they would so resist 
every effort to make them enter into private homes ? 

May I quote once more from Mrs. Campbell ? 

" In the matter of domestic service, even after every 
admission has been made as to the incompetence and 
insubordination that the employer must often face, the 
Commissioner for Minnesota, after stating the advan- 
tages of the domestic servant over the general worker, 
adds that only about a fifth of those who employ them 
are fit to deal with any worker, injustice and oppression 
characterizing their methods." 

What a startling accusation ! Only one housekeeper 
out of every five fit to be the mistress of servants I I 

104 jBwiSH Women's Congress. 

spoke of a training school for servants in connection 
v/ith this bureau — but who will organize the training 
school for mistresses ? 

Now, how could a training school for servants be 
arranged ? My idea is somewhat like this: 

Lease or buy (when the money shall have been 
advanced) a large house; furnish it with of&ces, recep- 
tion room, bed-rooms or dormitories, bath-rooms, kitchen, 
dining-room, laundry and nursery. Rent out the bed- 
rooms to respectable immigrant girls, who have no 
homes, and who otherwise must drift into tenement 
boarding places, already overcrowded; furnish them with 
good, plain board at a moderate price; furnish, perhaps, 
table-board for those who prefer to sleep elsewhere; do 
their laundry work and sewing at the lowest figure pos- 
sible. Also arrange to take in, at low figures, laundry 
work, plain sewing, mending, perhaps even dress- 
making for such other immigrants as are not boarders 
or lodgers at the bureau. Here we have a regular 
source of income in addition to practically improving 
the lives of these boarders. Utilize the house by form- 
ing classes of resident girls who are unemployed, to do 
the general work, bed-making, washing, ironing, cook- 
ing, house-cleaning, mending, etc. This gives the 
opportunity for training girls as general house-workers, 
chambermaids, plain cooks, laundresses, seamstresses 
and waitresses. 

A capable girl who is willing can learn very quickly 
liow to adapt herself to one particular class of work, 
and there need be no lack of applicants, if the bureau 
furnishes good places as soon as pupils are sufl&ciently 
proficient. A strict register should be kept, not only of 
the qualifications of girls, but of the shortcomings of 
mistresses. Women who do not treat help well must be 
taught better, or must be " boycotted." In the same 

Women Wage-Workers — Richman. 105 

way, classes should be formed iu dressmaking, milli- 
nery, manicuring, hairdressing, etc. 

All this instruction should be given primarily to train 
the pupils to make a living, but a second advantage 
appears in this: in practicing work of this kind, the 
girls are gradually acquiring habits of greater refine- 
ment and culture. Table manners and personal habits 
will improve, and with their improvement a long stride 
will have been taken away from the old landmarks of 
ignorance and vulgarity. 

An arrangement might be made whereby poor women, 
for a small fee, could be permitted to leave babies or 
small children in the care of the bureau for several 
hours each day, and these little ones would form the 
practice material by means of which a class of children's 
nurses could be trained. And so the work could grow 
in every direction. 

I feel that I have but crudely expressed what I have 
in mind, but no plan, however cleverly designed, is ever 
worked out just as it was planned. As work of this 
kind grows, the experience of the workers, and the 
needs of the work will, from time to time, suggest ways 
and means for its development, which none but the 
inspired could have foreseen. 

The Jews of America, particularly the Jews of New 
York City, are, perhaps, the most charitable class of 
people in the whole world. Time, labor and money are 
given freely in some directions. But charity is not always 
philanthropy; and we have reached a point in the devel- 
opment of various sociological problems which makes it 
imperative that philanthropy be placed above charity. 
The need of charity must disappear as we teach the 
rising generation how to improve its condition. 

Almost all the female immigrants who come to this 
shore, through lack of knowledge as to the means by 

io6 Jewish Women's Congress. 

■which they can swing themselves above the discouraging- 
conditions which face them, sink down into the moral 
and intellectual maelstrom of the American ghettos, 
becoming first household or factory drudges, and then 
drifting into one of three channels: that of the careless 
slattern, of the giddy and all-too-frequently sinful gad- 
about, or of the weary, discontented wife. 

We must disentangle the individual from the mass. 
We must find a way or several ways of leading these 
girls, one by one, away from the shadows which envelop 
them, if not into the sunshine of happiness and pros- 
perity, at least, into the softening light of content, born 
of pleasant surroundings, congenial occupations, and the 
inward satisfaction of a life well spent. 

Working girls' clubs are doing a grand work, but 
these clubs never reach the lower strata. There must 
be something before and beyond the working girls* 
clubs, something that shall lay hold of the immigrant 
before she has been sucked down into the stratmn of 
physical misery or moral oblivion, from which depths it 
becomes almost impossible to raise her. 

In this age of materialism, in these days of close 
inquiry as to the "Why?" of every condition, it has 
been claimed that the ever-increasing proportion of un- 
married women among the Jews of America is largely 
due to the independent position women make for them- 
selves, first, by becoming wage-earners, and second, 
through the development of self-reliance brought about 
by societies, working girls' clubs and kindred move- 
ments. If marriage always meant happiness, and if 
celibacy always meant unhappiness, to make women 
independent and self-reliant would be a calamity. But, 
in the face of so much married unhappiness and so much 
unmarried contentment, it is hardly pessimistic to wish 
that there might be fewer marriages consummated, until 

Women Wage-Workers — Richman. 107 

the contracting parties show more discrimination in their 
selection of mates. 

The saddest of many sad conditions that face our 
poor Jewish girls is the class of husbands that is being 
selected for them by relatives. It is the rule, not the 
exception, for the father, elder brother, or some other 
near relative of a Jewish working girl, to save a few 
hundred dollars, by which means he purchases some 
gross, repulsive Pole or Russian as a husband for the 
girl. That her whole soul revolts against such a mar- 
riage, that the man betrays, even before marriage, the 
brutality of his nature, that he may, perhaps, have left 
a wife and family in Russia, all this counts for nothing. 
Marry him she must, and another generation of worth- 
less Jews is the lamentable result. 

I wish it distinctly understood that there is no desire 
on my part to disparage matrimony; indeed, happy wife- 
hood and motherhood are to my mind the highest mis- 
sions any woman can fulfill; but in leading these girls 
to see the horror of ill-assorted marriages, I intend to 
teach them to recognize the fact that many of them 
may never find suitable husbands; and recognizing this 
fact, they must fill up their lives with useful, perhaps 
even noble work. Should the possible husband fail to 
appear, their lives will not have been barren; should he 
come, will a girl make a less faithful wife and mother 
because she has been taught to be faithful in other things ? 

And so I could go on showing how, in every direction,, 
the harm and the evil grow, until the day will come 
when charity, even with millions at her disposal, will 
not be able to do good. It is easier to save from 
drowning than to resuscitate the drowned. Disentangle 
the individual from the mass; create a new mass of dis- 
entangled individuals, who shall become the leading 
spirits in helping their benighted sisters, and with God's 
help, the future will redeem the present and the past. 


{Discussion of the foregoing paper.') 

Sadie G. Leopold, Chicago, III. 

It is with pleasure that I add a few words to the 
excellent and instructive paper just read, and in ex- 
pressing my appreciation thereof, state those points that 
most appeal to me, in this question of women as wage- 
workers, with special reference to directing immigrants. 
The story of the working woman, in one large city, is, 
with trifling differences in conditions, the story of the 
working woman in all, and everywhere the fact obtains, 
that while in the better order of trades, woman may 
prosper, in the greater proportion, wearing and unceas- 
ing labor serves simply to ward off actual starvation, the 
" life-limit " in wages having been established long before 
the term became current in political economy. That 
woman is a permanent and conspicuous factor in the labor 
market of her country, the three million now earning 
their livelihood in the United States, at an average 
weekly income of five dollars and twenty-four cents, 
will bear witness to. The better paying trades are filled 
with women who have had some form of training, or 
have, by passing from one handicraft to another, found 
that for which they have most aptitude. It is to sewing, 
however, the most overcrowded, most underpaid, of all 
vocations, that all the more helpless of the vast army 
turn at once. It is here that the immigrant, bewildered, 
penniless, ignorant even of the language of the land 


Women Wage-Workers — Leopold. 109- 

she has entered, seeks her precarious subsistence, her 
sole method of obtaining work often being through the 
medium of the middleman, or so-called sweater. Accord- 
ing to the seventh biennial report of the Illinois bureau 
of labor statistics, there are, in Chicago alone, 666 sweat 
shops, and 10,933 persons connected with them, working 
either in the shops or at home; as this inquiry was not: 
made during the busiest season, it is the judgment of 
the agents that there are probably 800 such shops and 
13,000 people deriving work and wages therefrom. The 
new factory and workshop inspection law of the State of 
Illinois, passed by the thirty-eighth General Assembly,. 
the most rigid State law ever enacted on the subject,, 
provides that each workshop shall be kept in a cleanly 
condition, and in forbidding that any female be em- 
ployed in any factory or workshop more than eight 
hours in any one day or forty-eight hours in any one 
week, and by prohibiting the employment of children 
under fourteen years of age, it strikes at the very worst 
evils of the sweating system, which means the maximum 
of profit for the employer, the minimum of wages for the 
employed. We should all welcome the public sentiment 
that aims at the betterment of the hard conditions the 
poor groan under, and, by giving our hearty co-operation 
to the inspectors in their work, make the enforcement 
of this just law possible. Mrs. Florence J. Kelly, the 
Chief Inspector of Labor for this State, said to me in a 
recent conversation on the subject, that it "is to the 
credit of the Jewish manufacturers that they were the 
first to respond to the new order, and cheerfully posted 
the revised rules upon the walls of their factories." 

The terrible struggle for existence at the bottom of 
the social ladder grows ever fiercer, and no pen can 
picture the want and the privation that prevail among 
the proletariat. Helen Campbell, whose investigations,. 

no JEWISH Women's Congress. 

published under the title of " Prisoners of Poverty," 
created a wave of indignation against existing circum- 
stances, says, in one instance, in regard to the workers 
in the wretched tenements of New York: " As one 
woman selects, well pleased, garment after garment, 
daintily tucked and trimmed and finished beyond any 
capacity of ordinary home-sewing, marveling a little that 
a few dollars can give such lavish return, there arises, 
from narrow attic and dark, foul basement and crowded 
factory, the cry of the women whose life-blood is on 
these garments. Through burning, scorching days of 
summer, through marrow-piercing cold of winter, in 
hunger and rags, with white-faced children at their 
knees, crying for more bread, or silent from long weak- 
ness, looking with blank eyes at the flying needle, these 
women toil on, twelve, fourteen, sixteen hours, even, 
before the fixed task is done." 

How can we save our immigrant from the horrors of 
such an existence? Held down by her own incompe- 
tence, powerless to help herself, and if she be a mother, 
unable even to protect her little ones from the impurity 
of their surroundings ! The women's protective agen- 
cies, with all their nobility of purpose, can hardly reach 
her; the trades' unions of the working women them- 
selves, and there are six of them in Chicago, with all 
their power for improvement and capability of broaden- 
ing the character of their members, by teaching them 
to think rather of the good of the all than of the part, 
are still beyond her. A trip through the densely popu- 
lated quarters of our city will discover to us whole set- 
tlements of foreign nationalities, aflSliating neither with 
each other nor with the people of the country they seek 
a living in. Packed together in hovels, or worse still, 
in teeming tenements, they acquire not the virtues, but 
the vices, of their neighbors, the children naturally not 

Women Wage-Workers — I/Eopold. in 

escaping contamination. Philanthropic aid on the part 
of the many has thus far not availed, nor has the indi- 
vidual himself succeeded in ameliorating his own con^ 
<iition. To me it seems, as Mary K. Young says, that 
in centering our energies on work among the older 
people, we are beginning at the wrong end of the 

Whatever we may attempt, this generation must still 
toil and suffer and weep; it is the old story of the chil- 
dren of Israel wandering in the desert; they may look 
into the promised land — it is for their children to pos- 
sess it. With the mother we can do nothing. Marry- 
ing young, as Russian Jews will, she is old at thirtj" 
the outgrowth of a civilization that looks upon woman 
as an inferior being; beset with all the superstitions that 
centuries of religion's darkness have put upon her, unen- 
lightened, and in some instances ignorant of the simplest 
laws of household cleanliness, her one strong passion is 
her love for her children, through them alone can she 
be reached. Her daughter rushes to the factory, work- 
ing with intelligence and precision, oftentimes for no 
compensation, to learn a trade; proud of her work, she 
is the brightest element in immigrant labor. Not over 
modest, she owns one beautiful characteristic, the giving 
freely her scant wages for the support of the family; but 
domestic service, as a means of gaining a livelihood, is 
to the Russian girl the very badge of slavery. Could 
we but teach her that this department of woman's work 
is not the very depth of degradation, one side of the 
question might be solved. Were such service placed 
upon a strictly business basis, and its social disabilities 
removed, with justice for a foundation, and a strict ful- 
filment of duty as an understanding on the part of both 
mistress and maid, this task might be more easily 

112 Jewish Women's Congress. 

As early as 1868, women like Gail Hamilton advo- 
cated the establishment of industrial schools, so that; 
more practical shape might be given to the higher edu- 
cation of women. Such schools, established now and 
modeled after the Cooper Institute of New York, might 
have, as their work, the studies of dressmaking, teleg- 
raphy, stenography, bookkeeping and typewriting. 

Ask the teachers of the night classes held in connec- 
tion with our Jewish training school on Judd street,^ 
what they are doing for the young women of the Russian 
quarter. As an example, in three months, a course of 
dressmaking is there completed, and the skillful graduate 
is enabled to earn from one dollar a day and upwards by 
serving in private families. English is taught there, and: 
history and geography, valuable not only from an edu- 
cational standpoint, but in offering something better 
than these young girls can ever know in the narrow,, 
untidy confines of their homes, and keeping them from, 
the demoralizing associations otherwise sought and found 
on the streets. These night schools, with their capable,, 
self-sacrificing teachers, and social settlements, like Hull 
House, with noble women like Miss Jane Addams 
at their head, are powers that work only incalculable 
good. Reforms require patience; one can not have seed 
and flower and fruit at once, and the very child is the 
seed, the industrial school, in its largest sense, the agent,, 
which brings the best within it to a glorious fruition. 
We must begin with the little ones, for it is more possi- 
ble to train the habits of the young than to change those 
of the old, and it is easy to remove prejudice and dis- 
trust and even the taint of evil surroundings from the 
heart of a little child. The right to be joyous and pure 
is bom in every little one, and to teach it " neatness and 
cleanliness and a love of nature and its fellow man " is 
the very foundation of the kindergarten system. It is 

Women Wage- Workers — I,eopoi,d. 113 

from the kindergarten that "the poorest child takes 
home to the tenement house something strong enough 
when growth has come, to abolish the tenement house 
forever." To develop, not only the mind, but the heart 
and the hand, makes pauperism impossible, and builds 
up within it the power of becoming the future self-sup- 
porting citizen. A training from the beginning, that 
beauty and order and law are the ideals that must govern 
our daily striving, that work is honorable and a love of 
it a power to sweeten life, is the groundwork of a better 
order of society. Were each member of the human family 
to receive an education sufficiently wide to give him the 
necessary skill to earn a fair livelihood, the sweat shop 
might be abandoned, and the grinding out of life with 
the slow toil of the needle be known no more. Welt 
were it for the general population, if industrial schools 
were established in every ward of every city. Until that 
is done, however, the duty devolves upon us to build 
them in the heart of the districts where the Russian Jews 
abound, for we must take care of our own, first, because 
their own prejudices preclude their going to others for 
aid, and second, because- it is to our own interest to do 
so, they being looked upon by those, not familiar with 
the true conditions, as typical of our own culture and 
civilization and religion. 

If we can successfully combat the tendency, so appar- 
ent amongst our immigrants, to herd together in certain 
sections of our cities, which, in consequence, have vir- 
tually become a new Ghetto, we shall have taken a 
mighty step toward the solution of this vexatious prob- 
lem. These Ghettos are not an advantage either to the 
Jewish communities at large or to the Jewish refugees 
themselves. None will dispute the desirability of 
detaching the individual from the mass, but whoever 
will attempt this will be met at once by the natural 

114 Jewish Women's Congress. 

instinct of people in such circumstances, to crowd 
together, impelled by the instinctive belief, that in 
greater numbers there is safety for them and the assur- 
ance of sympathy; while again, and this is a factor of no 
small moment, their religious ideas and habits and cus- 
toms make for herd life, and are fatal to individual 
location or independent regeneration. The evil is so 
great, the question so wide in its ramifications, that more 
reforms than one must be accomplished. There is merit 
in every method, and whatever be done, the best we can 
hope for practically, for the time being, and until our 
whole social order is reorganized on a basis of greatei^ 
justice and fuller love, and cemented by stronger sense 
of responsibility, is to work a palliative, not a cure. 
Life, however, demands certain work of each one of us, 
and each has a part to play in the sad drama of his 
unfortunate neighbor's existence. The main thing for 
the women whom fortune has placed in positions of 
advantage is, of their own accord, to cross the chasm 
that separates them from their sisters in what is falsely 
called the lower order of life. They will find, beyond a 
doubt, that while they themselves may.have the capacity 
of giving much, these immigrants that are in such dire 
need, may compensate them most amply by showing 
them a phase of life, which, under an unattractive exte- 
rior, may cover in many cases, a crystal spring of possi- 
bilities, the best and the noblest. 

Mrs. Henry D. Lloyd spoke on the same subject, 
treating more particularly of the phase presented by 
domestic service. In the general discussion that ensued, 
Miss American, of Chicago, and Mrs. Helen Kahn Weil, 
of Kansas City, took part. 


Mary M. Cohen, Philadelphia, Pa. 

This subject has been selected, first, because of its 
vital importance, and second, because it is one that seems 
incapable of being controverted. I feel well assured 
that no student of sacred and profane history will doubt 
the premises which I shall endeavor to present. 

I believe sincerely that the influence of the Jewish 
religion upon the home is a truth so deeply established 
that all liberal thinkers have but one opinion about it. 
But there are, in this world, many thinkers not yet able 
to think liberally, that is, they have been trained in a 
certain groove of thought, and there their minds remain, 
according to their education, their environments, their 
beliefs. It sometimes happens, even among Christians 
of the kindliest nature and the warmest sympathies, 
that they have never come in direct contact with 
families of so different a creed as that upheld by the 
Hebrews. It has been the experience of the writer, 
over and over again, that members of the popular relig- 
ion have observed, " We have never known any Hebrews. 
What are their views? What are their observances? 
How does their religion affect the home life? Tell us 
all that you can." 

It is largely with reference to this absence of knowl- 
edge of the way in which the Jewish religion enters 
into the home life that I am urged to deal with the 
theme before this religious congress of the Columbian 


ii6 Jewish Women's Congress. 

There is very little doubt that the idea with which 
the Jewish religion was planned was to so engraft it 
upon the home life that the two should be inseparably 
joined. The observances of the faith are so entwined 
with the every-day atmosphere of the home as to make 
the Jewish religion and the family life one, a bond in 
sanctity. In this sense the synagogue is the home, and 
the home the synagogue. I mean that the intelligent 
and devout Hebrew parent is the priest or priestess of 
the family altar. There is no need, if there is a desire 
to worship the God of Israel, to visit the sanctuary; it 
is always right and appropriate to enter the House of 
God, but it is never indispensable for the performance 
of religious service. The prayers for the Sabbath eve, 
the prayers for the Sabbath day, for the fasts and 
festivals, can be as feelingly and efficiently rendered in 
the home as in the synagogue. The service on the first 
night of the Passover can undoubtedly be far better 
observed in the home than even in the sanctuary itself. 
It is true that certain ceremonies were given with the 
condition that they were only to be performed in the place 
where the Temple stood, but these were comparatively 
very few. Among them was the very positive command, 
" Thou may est not slay the Passover within any of thy 
gates which the Lord thy God giveth thee, but at the 
place which the I^ord thy God will choose to let His name 
dwell in, there shalt thou slay the Passover at evening." 

Many visitors to synagogues at the time of the Pass- 
•over Festival are surprised not to see there the sacrifice 
of the paschal lamb, but this rite was to be performed 
only in the Temple, so that since the dispersion a lamb- 
bone has been substituted as a reminder of the ancient 

The greatest benefit derived from this close connection 
between the religion and life is the fact that the religion 

Jewish Rbugion in the Home — Cohen. 117 

thus became an intensely practical one, and yet lost 
nothing of its inspired ideality. It was not possible for 
the Jew to forget his allegiance to Judaism. In the 
morning when he arose, the binding of the phylacteries 
turned his thoughts heavenward; before partaking of 
food, the immersion of the hands in cold water truly 
reminded him that "cleanliness is next to godliness." 
At the close of the meal, the Hebrew grace expressed his 
gratitude to the eternal Father for His bounties. In the 
daily events, in the transaction of business, either within 
or without the home, the influence of the religion was 
very seldom absent. 

It was especially noticeable in the times when the 
Jews were restricted to life in the Ghettos, that it was 
very difficult to see just where the religion ended and 
the home life began. Many of the people, deprived of 
opportunities of worship outside of the Ghetto, concen- 
trated all the fervor of their nature upon the home 
observances ; sometimes this was carried to an injurious 
extreme, resulting in an exaggerated superstition, which 
drew down the contempt of many a more enlightened 
and more favored outsider. In this regard it is impos- 
sible to refrain from alluding to one of the most striking 
Jewish books which has been issued this year. Mr. 
Zangwill's story, "The Children of the Ghetto," is a 
work which, when taken up by Christians, often im- 
presses them most unfavorably as a picture of the Jews ; 
but when carefully studied by critical,' and yet sympa- 
thizing, Hebrews, it is not in the least misunderstood. 
We have in that, to be sure, a very depressing presenta- 
tion of Hebrews in the east end of London, with their 
tawdry clothing, their wretched dwellings, their pinched 
means, their indescribable privations. Yet with it all, 
deep down in the soul of the Hebrew in the Ghetto, 
man, woman, or child, is the wondrous loyalty to the 

ii8 Jewish Women's Congress. 

God of the people. We see this in Esther Ansell, who, 
although transplanted when a girl from the Ghetto into 
the luxurious home of her patroness, Mrs. Goldsmith, 
finds, without exactly understanding why, no satisfaction 
in the wealth surrounding her. It is seen, too, in the 
half quaint, half pathetic scene, when Moses Ansell is 
summoned to his son's deathbed, and although the jargon 
which the father speaks has to be translated to the son, 
there is a clear understanding between the two that it is 
the glorious declaration of the Unity, the " Hear, O 
Israel, the I/ord our God, the Lord is One," the Hebrew's 
dying confession, which is to be uttered at that awful 

On the other hand, turning to the Jewish home life 
of this country, we find that the religion has a powerful 
effect upon the pursuits cherished in the home. This 
will be seen particularly in the cultivation of the art of 
poetry. I will venture to quote a verse from a poem 
entitled " Rosh-Hashana^'' the Jewish New Year. 

" One word — ere once again we turn a page 
In this great volume of the countless years 
To mark another epoch of our age, — 

One word, and we resume life's hopes and fears." 

This production evinces something of the power of 
the religion in the home life; the gifted writer has no 
doubt traced these words at the close of one of the piost 
solemn Hebrew festivals. Not in the synagogue, not in 
the office, not in the school, not in the place of amuse- 
ment, do these high, poetic inspirations arise, as a rule, 
but in the home. The creator of these poetic lines just 
quoted, is a young Philadelphia Hebrew, whose work 
will be seen to have ethical significance as well as rhe- 
torical grace; after the day which stimulates all the 
religious fervor that a Jew possesses, he sits in his library, 
and traces on paper what we may hold in our hearts 

Jewish Religion in the Home — Cohen. 119 

forever. We all know how closely associated were the 
sudden religious awakening and the literary home life 
of Emma Lazarus: her splendid poems, such as " The 
Crowing of the Red Cock," " The Banner of the Jew," 
and " The Feast of Lights," might have sprung from a 
soldier in battle, or a fiery, wandering exile; yet they were 
written in the quiet study of a New York Jewess; these 
examples are but two out of a large number that will, 
I think, testify to the truth of my assertion. 

The influence of the religion in regard to dietary 
laws is perhaps one of the most marked in close connec- 
tion with the home routine. In addition to the various 
observances commanded in the Bible, tradition and the 
Rabbis have made it customary for Hebrews to partake 
of special kinds of food on certain festivals; we see this 
in the use of white stewed fish for the Passover, in the 
additional decoration of the table during Pentecost, in 
the serving of apples and new honey on the New Year. 
The praises of fried fish as prepared by Hebrews have 
been eloquently set forth, but where is the writer who 
has done justice to the glories of the white stewed fish as 
it appears on the Passover table ? Golden balls, of deli- 
cate flavor, surmounting slices of the whitest halibut; 
cayenne peppers, with circles of lemon, adding brilliant 
color and spicy taste to the compound; over all the 
yellow sauce, almost jelly-like in consistence. Those 
who have spoken of Judaism as a " kitchen religion " 
lose sight of the fact that spirit and body are equally in 
need of nourishment, and that to closely associate the 
material and the religious is to dignify the one without 
injuring the other. 

There are many other special dishes transmitted to us 
by tradition for minor festivals. These little customs 
serve to bind the religious and the domestic life very 
closely together, and who can doubt it that sees the 

I20 JswiSH Women's Congress. 

blessing given by parents to children on the Sabbath 
eve, or witnesses the solemnity of the Kiddush, the wine 
which celebrates the approach of the bride, the Jewish 
Sabbath. I can never see, in the sometimes punctilious 
care with which some Hebrew women prepare their 
homes ibr the religious festivals, the ground for annoy- 
ance or ridicule which it seems to furnish to many 
critics; to me it presents a beautiful union between the 
religion and the home. The Jewish faith is not to be 
worn as a cloak on the Sabbath or the festival in the 
synagogue, and then to be cast aside before entering the 
portals of every-day existence; it may be carried as a 
veil, but through it should be seen, still showing 
brightly, the purity of the domestic altar. 

The Jewish wife and mother, as a rule, is faithful to 
her husband and children. Her religion teaches her to 
fulfil every duty to these near and dear ones, and in 
addition, to exercise as generous a hospitality as her 
means will permit. From the time when Sarah enter- 
tained the angels until to-day, the chain of kindly feel- 
ing toward the traveler or the visitor has never been 
broken; in fact, the well-to-do Hebrew woman holds it 
a privilege to share the fruits of the earth with any one 
less favored, and knows that in so doing she is only 
obeying a divine behest: " And thou shalt rejoice with 
every good thing which the lyord thy God hath given 
unto thee, and unto thy house, thou, with the I^evite, 
and the stranger that is in the midst of thee." 

The influence of the Jewish religion upon the home 
is of great importance in determining exactly the niche 
which the inmates are to occupy in the history of moral 
forces affecting other peoples. For instance, inasmuch as 
a Hebrew woman is a Hebrew woman, just so powerful 
are her character and her example. There are plenty 
of merely cosmopolitan women, open to the guidance of 

jBwiSH Religion in the Home — Cohen. 121 

■every creed or no creed, as shifting fancy may dictate; 
such women may be lovely and excellent in many ways, 
but they will scarcely command the admiring respect, 
the deep sympathy, the earnest fellowship, which a 
loyal Hebrew woman receives in overflowing measure 
from the world at large. Her chief value to the people 
of other beliefs is that she is a worthy daughter of 
Israel, in the home first, and then everywhere. Husband 
and children in the Jewish home show to the wife and 
mother a profound affection, and hold her in the greatest 
honor, Jewish men are almost invariably domestic, 
valuing their homes as the union of material and spir- 
itual good. 

The influence of the Jewish religion in the home may 
well be treasured as the keystone to the lasting hap- 
piness and usefulness of all the nations of the earth. 


{Discussion of the foregoi^ig paper. ') 

Julia I. Felsenthal, Chicago, III. 

The code of ethics held to be correct and practicable 
by right thinking men is the same, unaltered, that was 
taught in the Book of books thousands of years ago. 
The commandments of the decalogue and the other 
moral laws, congruous with the same, are of as vital 
importance now as when first proclaimed to the emanci- 
pated Israelites. To the obedience to the Ten Com- 
mandments is due, primarily, the survival of the Jews. 
Since two thousand years they have been a national non- 
entity, playing the part of scapegoat in the drama of 
the nations, and scattered throughout all lands. The 
wonder and the question arise, to what is due the Jews' 
perpetuation ? The strongest bond to unite them one to 
another was religion. How potent a factor this is, in 
the life not only of individuals, but of races, is observed, 
when we remember that Greece and Rome, with their 
splendid civilizations and their vast achievements in art 
and legislation, have vanished. They, too, had a beau- 
tiful belief in higher powers, full of poetry and ideality, 
but differing in the fundamental idea of monotheism 
and stern morality. Judsea, inferior in the arts both of 
war and of peace, exists, a witness to the truth of the 
idea, that there is but one God, the Father of all, who 
holds the fates of His children in His hands, and who 
docs all for the best. He loves what is good and hates 


Jewish Religion in the Home — Felsenthal. 123. 

the bad. This is and was the keynote of the Jew's 
religion. But, as in other religions, the cardinal idea 
alone did not form the substance of Judaism. Around 
this central idea clustered, during the lapse of centuries, 
a mass of additional doctrines, laws, traditions and cus- 
toms, which formed the network of the religious prac- 
tices of the Jews. This accumulated mass of ceremonials 
was like embroidery so intricately worked that one could 
scarcely discover the original texture beneath. The 
various observances, finding equal importance in the 
eyes of the devotees, were not restricted to holidays and 
Sabbaths and to fulfilment in the synagogue alone, but 
almost every daily action of man or woman, in the 
household and out of it, was accompanied by the per- 
formance of some religious rite, which none was too 
ignorant or too enlightened to omit. 

Therefore, when one considers the influence of the 
Jewish religion on the home, it must not be forgotten 
that every department of life was permeated with re- 
ligion, and the home principally, was the centre for the 
fostering of these religious and moral truths. A people 
which believes that religion is not for any distinct time 
or place, but that it must enter all phases of life, is 

Many of the most powerful moral forces were con- 
tinually brought into action through this constant asso- 
ciation of religion with life, through the agency of 
prayer and countless religious practices. The deeds and 
duties which are essential in high-minded, moral living 
were religiously practiced in Jewish homes, because 
prompted by religion. By indicating a few of the daily 
observances, this may be made apparent. No one, from 
the babbling child to the feeble grandfather, rose in the 
morning without uttering prayers of thanks to God, and 
invoking His divine grace for the coming day. At night, 

124 Jewish Women's Congress. 

laefore retiring, the last conscious act was the saying of 
a prayer. Before every meal grace was said, and after- 
ward a prayer of thanks was again recited. It was a 
religious duty to visit the mourner and the afflicted, and 
the poor received the graceful charity prompted by the 
beautiful Jewish laws. Scarcely a Jew was so poor as 
not to entertain some one of his poorer traveling co- 
religionists on the Friday evening, not as a troublesome 
beggar, but as an honored and welcome guest at the 
table. So, by the aid of these few illustrations, can be 
traced gratefulness, sympathy, charity and hospitality. 
Such paramount duties as the obedience of children to 
parents, strong mutual attachment between the members 
of a family, etc., were faithfully fulfilled. Be it remem- 
"bered that these customs just alluded to were not merely 
social usages, but religious duties, which entered the 
very sinews of life, and if many of them were mechani- 
cally performed, their significance nevertheless impressed 
itself on the minds of the participants. Thus the home 
became a bulwark of moral and social strength, impreg- 
nable by reason of the religious atmosphere that per- 
vaded it. 

In this connection, it may be remarked, as a notice- 
able fact, that wine, which played an important part in 
all holiday and Sabbath celebrations, never became a 
baneful influence in their lives. It was looked upon, 
like any other food product of the earth, as a gift from 
Ood, and the blessing or thanksgiving was always pro- 
nounced before partaking of it. Intemperance and dis- 
soluteness, those two cardinal vices which have wrecked 
so many homes, are sins which have not, as a rule, 
allured the Jew. The praise is scarcely due to the man, 
but to the Jewish laws, so wisely framed, and to the 
■customs, so beneficially impressive. Simple fidelity to 
these laws and customs was enough to guard him from 

Jewish Religion in the Home — Fei,senthai<. 125 

temptations, and keep the peace and purity of his home 

During the centuries of persecution and migration, 
the home and the synagogue were the only places where 
the Jew could find relief from trouble and care. The 
broader arena of life, where men might enlist, and find 
intellectual exercise and pleasure, was closed to him. 
Inasmuch as unfriendly and tyrannical governments 
refused their Jewish subjects any participation in the 
pursuits dear to patriotic and high-minded men, there 
remained for them only the narrow channel of bread- 
winning. They were only too thankful if their endeav- 
ors to earn a livelihood were unmolested. What would 
have soon dwindled into the most narrow materialism 
was redeemed by the purity of their home life, per- 
meated with poetical and homely illustrations of their 
faith. The synagogue and the home were sanctuaries, 
on whose altars the burdens of life might be cast, and 
love and peace be found. In this respect, persecution 
proved a blessing to the dispersed. With the sword of 
an innocently incurred hate ever hanging over them, 
home-ties were firmly knit, and the small communities 
living behind Ghetto walls were bound together as one 
family. So does misfortune often carry a blessing in its 
train. Fearing evil from without, they found peace 
within the Ghetto walls. 

The Jew, distinctly Oriental in some respects, has 
avoided, as if by instinct, some of the Eastern vices and 
failings, notably the institution of harem life and the 
notion of the inferiority of woman. Though woman's 
sphere was limited, within it she received the loyal love 
due her, as wife and mother and queen of the household. 
The father, on the other hand, was vested with a sort of 
patriarchal dignity. He was the protector and guardian 
of his loved ones, and his authority was final. Filial 

126 Jewish Women's Congress. 

and conjugal duties were zealously performed, but par- 
ticularly did old age meet with veneration and regard. 

Owing to necessary brevity, many elements of domestic 
Jewish life, possessing beautifying and elevating ten- 
dencies, must be omitted, but I cannot refrain from 
mentioning the Passover, Sukkoth, Chanukkah and 
Purim, which gave great opportunity for the play of 
joyful, religious emotions in the home, whose influence 
was felt long after the occasions themselves were over. 
But most valuable was the Friday evening celebration. 
How impressive, when the father, returning from divine 
service, folds his hands upon the bowed heads of his 
children, giving them his blessing, thus imbuing the 
child with filial love and veneration, and himself with 
the moral responsibility toward his offspring. To see 
the members of the household assembled around the 
brightly lit and festive table, welcoming the bride of 
the Sabbath with hymns and praise, presents a picture 
of true religious fervor and piety. A number of writers, 
mostly German, have caught this undercurrent of beauty 
in the lives of a hampered people, who quietly passed 
their days in the shadow of Ghetto walls, and have por- 
trayed them in works of fiction. Kompert, Bernstein, 
Franzos and Sacher Masoch, have been among the most 
successful of these writers. Prof Oppenheim, an able 
artist, has preserved these features of the past for the 
profit and pleasure of later generations, by painting a 
series of pictures, representing typical scenes, such as 
the interior of the synagogue on various occasions, holi- 
day celebrations, observance of the Sabbath eve, etc. 

Since Mendelssohn's time, many of the barriers which 
separated Jew and Gentile have been gradually removed. 
Simultaneously with the granting of civil and religious 
rights, the Jews were given intellectual freedom, and 
minds trained for centuries almost exclusively in the 

Jewish Rbligion in the Home — Fei.senthai<. 127 

study of the Bible, the Talmud, and their numerous 
commentaries, eagerly sought the avenues open to them. 
Politics, journalism, law, letters, medicine, etc., had 
many a Jewish follower. The horizon widened, and 
religion no longer played so important a part in their 
lives. How did this react on their home life ? The 
dietary laws, formerly a prominent feature in the daily 
routine, fell among many into disuse, until now they are 
"honored more in the breach than in the observance." 
Many of the customs, which had accompanied the wan- 
derers from land to land, were forgotten or ignored. In 
Russia, Eastern Austria and adjacent provinces, the old 
customs still prevail to a great extent, but in Western 
Europe and in our own country, circumstances have 
almost compelled a change, and we have had to adjust 
ourselves to a new order of things ; a simple task for the 
Jew, who, although preserving some distinctive traits 
throughout all the ages, has nevertheless always affiliated 
himself with the country of his adoption. 

Many of the moderns have cut loose from ceremonial- 
ism. Whoever has considered the rise of races or relig- 
ions knows the importance of ceremonies and symbols 
as social factors. As civilization advances, these forms 
lose their power and significance, so that if they are still 
to have a value, it is as historical reminders and relics. 

This value is denied by many, but even were its im- 
portance to be granted, the complications of our busy life 
are such that many rites, beautiful and significant, are 
difficult of performance. Doctrinal belief, many main- 
tain, would suffice for any religion, but granted that this 
were so, we would still have to admit that mere adher- 
ence to a number of articles of belief would be only the 
skeleton, which must be clothed with the flesh of imagery 
and form to make it a living reality. This was a neces- 
sity in the childhood of the race, and in a great measure 

128 Jewish Women's Congress. 

it will always be necessary. Now, when many assume- 
that we are arriving at the vigor of maturity, it is^ 
deemed useless to surround ourselves with any forms. 
It remains to be seen whether religion, shorn of all 
symbolic rites, can still exert as potent an influence on 
the home as of yore. Formerly the Jewish religion was 
treasured and preserved in synagogue and the home alike. 
Now our temples are mostly lecture-halls, and in our 
homes many rites are omitted. 

Under any and all conditions, it is of the utmost im- 
portance that the home life, as the basis for true national 
prosperity, should be elevated and elevating. This,, 
united with the fact that there are many tendencies in 
modern life apt to lower the standard of social purity,, 
should make us consider well before discarding entirely 
an element that has been so vast a power for good during 
so many centuries. 

Wednesday, September 6, 1893, 9.30 a. m. 
Mrs. Pauline H. Rosenberg, of Allegheny, Pa., was 
introduced by the Chairman as the honorary presiding 
officer of the session. 


Cora WiIvBurn, Marshfield, Mass. 

Unto the world, with Time's Peace-offering, 
What treasure gifts does Ancient Israel bring ? 

Heart-stirring melodies, the aspiration 
Of martyred souls, that death of torture braved; 
The breath Divine of answering inspiration. 
While fierce the fires of Persecution raged. 

The boundless Trust, uplifting captive sorrow, 
From Israel's stricken heart, enkindled hope; 
That evermore the dark, uncertain morrow. 
Flushed with the glory of the Future's scope. 

Faith in the Name Ineffable — Unspoken! 
Leading throughout the centuries' darkened maze; 
Glad benedictions wrung from hearts long broken, 
Of heroes, slain on unmarked battle-ways! 

Grandeur of Womanhood's exalted duty; 
Self-abnegation that Life's all bestowed; 
Sunshine and storm of Love's illumined beauty, — 
Crowned Purity, with light of heaven that glowed! 

High, reverent awe, the soul's reflecting mirror. 
That guards within illimitable Truth; 
Kept 'mid the stress of Superstition's terror, 
In the religious soul of Age and Youth! 

The Patriot's iron will, all hardships daring, 
For native land, and Freedom's light within; 
With Lion shield of David onward bearing 
The soul's abhorrence of the Traitor's sin! 
9 (129) 

130 Jewish Women's Congress. 

Vibrating unto heart and brain responsive, 
The ancient record, and the by-gone song. 
Attest in triumph-strain and hymning plaintive, 
The sweet forgiveness of a Nation's wrong! 

More than by reach of word of earthly meaning, 
Unto the world does Ancient Israel bring; 
Time's righteous victory of ascendance gleaning, 
While low accordant chimes of Freedom ring! 

Unto this gathering of the World assembled. 
What treasure-gems does Modern Israel bring? 
In the far silence freighted souls have trembled. 
Nor heavenly message dared the minstrel sing. 

Now, broadening I,ight sheds radiance of the Morning, 
Great souls hold vigils 'neath the glow divine; 
Despite of threatening Russia's bitter scorning, 
What gift brings Israel to Ouy Country's Shrine ? 

The olden reverence, graced with dear remembrance, 
Its holiest fervor, heritage of days; 
That with the New I,ife's vast, diviner semblance. 
To God's high purpose heart and spirit sways! 

The joy of Manhood's soul-emancipation; 
Glory of Woman's heart-ascendancy; 
Blent with the home-life's threefold consecration 
To noblest aims of human destiny. 

Rose-flowers of Feeling; sun-rayed Gems of Thought, 
Into one hallowed wreath of Memory wrought. 

Love for the Stars and Stripes ! all power transcending 
Imagination weaves of soaring dreams; 
Truth's vowed allegiance with all heart-hopes blending, 
As affluent Life with high endeavor teems. 

In daily service of humanity. 

Shared sweet and irksome tasks of Liberty! 

The Mind's advance, in Israel's modern story. 
Keeps evermore abreast of Truth and Time; 
As Godward tending. Science wields the glory. 
That guiding leads to long-veiled heights sublime. 

On loftiest summit, as from lowliest place, 
The garnered favors of Celestial grace. 
Shed benedictions o'er the human race. 

To THE WoRi,D IN Greeting— Wii,BURN. 131 

Only, as children love the Mother best, 

We cling unto the dear, ancestral breast. 

Not loving less the differing souls we meet, 

In mart, or home, or on the busy street. 

But as our kindred all. 'Mid din of strife, 

We know the mandate, with old wisdom rife: 

" The righteous of all nations shall Eternal Life 

Inherit." Long-kept, cherished Truth! 

Newly engraved on heart of Age and Youth, 

Attests Our Father's universal care, 

While Faith uplifts the adoring search of prayer! 

And tears we bring ! for helpless thousands call 
On human help, as deepening shadows fall; 
Portents of storm, and strife of bigotry, — 
E'en o'er Columbia's stronghold of the Free! 
Grief-thrilled, true souls To-day, as ere the light 
Pierced the deep gloom of Egypt's rayless night, 
Wait prayerful for the blest Deliverance gleam, 
Beyond the Prophet's hope and Poet's dream! 

Peace ! with thy gracious splendors manifold 

The sway of Truth let captive eyes behold! 

The boundless trust of ancient days renew! 

E'en though he reached thy sacred havens through 

Red seas of carnage ! For the menaced life 

Of Freedom calls for ending of the strife. 

That holds the world in bondage to its fears; 

With grief of longing fills the waiting years; 

Marring the grace of Justice in the land. 

At lawless bidding of the blood-stained hand 

Of Tyranny. Though not "for me and mine," 

The fell intent of secret hordes combine; 

Though safe beneath the Starry Flag we dwell, 

Dare we assert that with us all is well ? 

While homeless brothers may not seek their bread, 

On native soil; but cringe 'mid phantoms dread 

Of Famine, Murder, Pillage, women slain! 

Are we so deadened to another's pain, 

In arms of luxury lulled, that willingly. 

We shackle here the soul of Liberty? 

America ! thy grateful Israel gave 

Her life-blood, equal with thy " free and brave; " 

For the safe-keeping of thy holy stars. 

Thy Hebrew soldiers wear the battle-scars. 

13? Jewish Women's Congress. 

They share the country's glory; and its shame, 
When Force and Fraud their dastard deeds proclaim; 
Shall Russia's shadow dim our record's fame ? 

Forbid it, God ! enthroned in earth and heaven! 

Forbid it, hearts of His Compassion filled! 

By all the Light of Inspiration given 

To souls that would Thy Freedom Temples build! 

Let not the Cossack hand's brutality 

The bulwarks of the People's Sovereignty 

Assail, while dawns the Twentieth Century! 

Greeting to Israel still in captive chains! 

Greeting to all in Freedom's wide domains! 

Not Toleration, but Fraternal Love, 

Be the New Era's olive-bearing dove! 

Only a foeman he who bars the way 

To holy Freedom's universal sway. 

Where the Great Name Ineffable is spoken, 

Life's tributary prayer is heavenly token, 

And frankincense of praise; brothers and sisters we, 

Clasp hands of service for humanity, 

Heart-linked for earth and Immortality! 


Eva I/. Stern, New York. 

" Sing heav'nly Muse that on the secret top 
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire 
That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed 
In the beginning, how the heav'ns and earth 

Rose out of chaos 

And chiefly Thou, O spirit, that dost prefer 
Before all temples the upright heart and pure, 
Instruct me, for Thou know'st; Thou from the first 
Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread 
Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast abyss 
And madest it pregnant: What in me is dark, 
Illumine; what is low, raise and support; 
That to the height of this great argument, 
I may assert eternal Providence, 
And justify the ways of God to men." 

This shepherd of Milton's song was Moses, the law- 
giver, the simple man of meekness, who alone of all 
mortals breathed into by the breath of God, stood face 
to face with Him; who alone of earth's men held con- 
verse with Him, and was the elect of righteousness and 
holiness to receive from the divine spirit the decalogue, 
so simple in its comprehensiveness that we teach the 
babe to lisp it, and yet so deep, grand, severe, that it 
awes the savage in his lawlessness. It is the mighty 
pile upon which the Christian world rises, and upon 
which is built the destiny of the whole human race. 
From these Thou-shalt-nots have risen the nations' glory 
— ^morality and lawfulness, and from that solitary Thou- 
shalt issues the crowning aureole of life, which sits like 
a star on the mother's brow, and wraps the father in a 
cloth of purple. 


134 Jewish Women's Congress. 

The decalogue attests the sovereignty of God, a teach- 
ing which goes like an aeolian sigh through the code of 
Moses: " I am the I^ord your God which brought you 
forth out of the land of Egypt." As a prelude to his 
grand system of laws, he reminds the Israelites of their 
deliverance from the taskmasters of Egypt, to render 
them merciful to the oppressed, and to make them pro- 
tectors and friends of the downtrodden and all those 
who sue for mercy from man. " And thou shalt remem- 
ber that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt." 
This enslaved condition of the Jews for four hundred 
years has tempered the spiritual teachings of the world 
by having developed a Moses. It has put into touch 
with each other men of widest lives, of extremest educa- 
tion, of conflicting faiths, and this link between men is 
Charity as taught by the Mosaic Law; " it humanizes 
religion, and religionizes humanity;" it is the ethical 
basis of Judaism, as Judaism is the bedrock of all 
religions; whatever may have come after it, there was 
nothing before. What is the essence of charity as 
taught by the Mosaic law ? It is merciful conduct to 
man, beast, birds in the air, fruit-bearing trees, to every- 
thing animate and inanimate under the wide expanse of 
heaven. There is a reason for every precept in the Law, 
and every reason teaches equity, mercy, justice, courage. 
The Mosaic code has, for its direct object, the cultiva- 
tion of a spiritual and holy life, the inculcation of 
patience, modesty, humanity, sympathy for the poor and 
the sick, of help for the weak, "of release for the slave, of 
compassion for the hired man and the debtor, and above 
all of the necessity of education, which is the fountain 
whence well-springs of good impulses gush. Though 
the L,aw impresses the precept of charity on the people — 
in fact, rabbinical writ says: " He who practices love 
and charity fulfils the whole law of Moses," — it does 

Charity as Taught by the Law — Stern. 135 

not commiserate the poor man to the extent of com- 
manding self-abnegation. It says: " Every man shall 
give as he is able, according to the blessing of the 
Lord thy God, which He hath given thee," and the Tal- 
mud comments on this: " Whoever wants to enrich the 
poor must not give more than the fifth part away, other- 
wise the giver may some day impoverish himself, so 
that he will be thrown upon society." 

This humane and judicious law was carefully observed 
by the Jews of the Middle Ages, and even to-day, here 
in our midst, we have Jewish philanthropists who give 
a tenth of their earnings to the poor and the needy, and 
though this unselfish charity is unstintingly dispensed, 
it is given with a wise heart, lest the poor should organ- 
ize themselves into bands of idle parasites, and paralyze 
society. When the great philanthropist-banker Itzig, 
of Berlin, gave wine to the sick and the poor, he per- 
sistently asked the return of the empty bottles, to show 
these helpless creatures that everything was of use, that 
his wealth did not blind him, that though they had con- 
sumed the wine, the vessel which had held it for them 
could be of further use in serving others. 

How beautifully this contrasts with the godless em- 
perors of Rome who lavished wealth indiscriminately, 
striving to win fame by ill-considered liberality; "they 
fed the rabble with corn, wine and oil," and thus encour- 
aged idleness and dissipation, countenancing the rich 
who encroached upon the rights of the poor. This, too, 
is in opposition to the Mosaic teachings, which insist 
upon the rich man's calling in the poor to his table, and 
forbid hurting his feelings by even staring at him while 
he eats, lest it be taken for the arrogance of riches or 
the pride of ownership of the food he gave. Says the 
Law, " If the man be poor, thou shalt not sleep with his 
pledge, in any case, thou shalt deliver him the pledge 

136 Jewish Women's Congress. 

again, when the sun goeth down, that he may sleep in 
his own raiment." This would keep the lender to the 
poor from asking his garments as a pledge; or at least it 
would secure the garment as a covering for his limbs, 
when the poor man lay down to sleep. And in addition, 
it ordains, " When thou dost lend thy brother anything, 
thou shalt not go into his house to fetch his pledge, thou 
shalt stand abroad, and the man to whom thou dost lend 
shall bring out the pledge unto thee." This would pre- 
vent the lender from acting in an arrogant manner, or 
from domineering over the less fortunate man. 

The Greeks of antiquity were likewise munificent in 
their gifts, but with the ulterior object of displaying 
their wealth to the populace; it was a sort of advertise- 
ment for the rich man; but the Jews of this time were 
practicing the letter of the lyaw. Almost in every town 
there were synagogues, where not alone the one, true 
God was worshiped, but where instruction was given, 
and charity practiced in all its branches. 

The Jews have a sympathetic, responsive nature, and 
on account of the hardships undergone by their race, 
they are so knitted in soul to one another, that they 
nurse their sick, help their poor, soothe the widow and 
the orphan, and entertain the stranger, from instinct as 
much as from education. Consequently, all this civil- 
izing humaneness was found in towns where Israelites 
dwelt, and up to the destruction of the Second Temple, 
they lived in the spirit of the I^aw. 

Then came Christianity, a modification of these prac- 
tices under better organization, learned from the Romans, 
for the latter have excelled, in history, as leaders and 
organizers. In addition to Christianity's having this in- 
calculable advantage, it had converts from every quarter, 
who willed large sums to its institutions, and conse- 
quently put it in possession of a large territory. This 

Charity as Taught by the IyAW — Stern. 137 

left the Israelites in fewer numbers, and made them fall 
back into a solidarity of purpose, which intensified their 
brotherhood and their sympathies for one another. 

However, though Christianity grew abroad, and was 
enriched by Roman converts, who enabled it to do much 
fine charity, its ethics were nourished at the bosom of 
Mosaic teachings; virtues were adopted from the Mosaic 
code, and the merciful words, "When thou cuttest down 
thy harvest in thy field, thou shalt not go again to fetch 
it; it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and 
-for the widow;" — this merciful precept had lain in the 
heart of Jesus along with the love of the man, Moses, 
who bequeathed it to his people. 

The widow and the orphan claimed the especial love 
of the legislator, and everywhere he speaks of them, and 
enjoins man to be concerned about them, and provide 
for their wants. 

" When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not 
go over the bough again; it shall be for the stranger, 
for the fatherless and for the widow." 

" When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, 
thou shalt not glean it afterward, it shall be for the 
; stranger, the fatherless and the widow," for out of the 
mighty depths of his heart, he foresaw that woman, 
clinging in her nature, would be doubly weak when the 
stronger arm was snatched away, and with her children 
would be among strangers. While the letter of the Law 
commands commiseration for the widow and the father- 
less, it is in the spirit of the I^aw that the Israelite best 
serves the Master, a spirit that can best be understood 
by God, for the Jewish heart goes out to these unfortu- 
nates, expands for them, and contracts again with them 
enclosed. The strong man takes charge of the widow's 
affairs, advises her, comforts her, and in every provision 
includes her before himself. If the fatherless lose this 

138 Jewish Wombn's Congress. 

last, loving parent, the orphan is adopted, taught in the 
Law, given a trade together with the more fortunate 
child, and when ready for matrimony, if a girl, a good 
husband is secured for her, nor is she left portionless;, 
if a man, a good wife is sought for him, and in most 
instances he is provided with the means for establishing 
a household. Jewish Orphan Aid Societies have existed 
in large and small communities from the early centuries. 
We have them in almost every town and city in the 
United States; and they give sums of money and outfits 
of necessary clothing to the orphan. In Europe, among 
many, is the society founded in Berlin by Daniel Itzig,. 
providing liberal dowries for poor brides. This is a 
duty of the Jew to an orphan. 

Together with the widow and the orphan is men- 
tioned the stranger. The stranger, supposed to have 
left his country, his kinspeople and familiar scenes, so 
dear to the heart, his body worn with travel and emo- 
tion, sometimes with hunger and thirst, must be allowed 
to gather the fruits of the field, left for him by the 
gleaners, that he may sustain life, as the story of Boaz 
and Ruth well illustrates. The stranger is invited to the 
homes of his brethren in faith, and is compensated there 
for what he has left in his own land. The stranger is 
coupled with the brother, " And if thy brother has 
waxed poor, and fallen in decay with thee, thou shalt 
relieve him, yea^ though he be a stranger or a sojourner; 
that he may live with thee." This is one of the beau- 
tiful qualities of the family life of the Jews; their con- 
cern for one another, their respect for father and mother, 
and their cheerful hospitality. In Jewish communities 
there also exist brotherhoods, which have for their pur- 
pose benevolence to the stranger, who may chance among 
them, and one historian tells us that, in many instances, 
a poor Jew has traveled through the greater part of 

Charity as Taught by the I/Aw — Stern. 139. 

Europe witliout much more than a penny in his pocket, 
his brethren feeding and clothing him, and then giving 
him a letter of recommendation to his co-religionists in 
the next town to which he wanted to go. 

Mosaic charity inculcates fellowship, a responsiveness 
to the joy or the sorrow of others, be they kinsmen or 
strangers. " Thou shalt not oppress a stranger, for ye 
know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers 
in the land of Egypt." 

There is a very fine, humanizing law on usury, which 
says, " Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother^ 
usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of anything 
that is lent upon usury," and this law was observed 
until the early Middle Ages, when the Jews were forced 
into disregarding it by being deprived by the rulers of 
countries of other channels of livelihood. The precept 
taught the lesson to lend to the poor without exacting 
pay for what was lent, so as not to make the poor poorer, 
and as Philo interprets it, " Considering that gratitude 
may in some degree be looked upon as interest repaid at 
a more favorable season for what was lent in an hour of 

Mercy, twin sister of charity, is extended also to the 
hired man, " The wages of him that is hired shall not 
abide with thee all night until the morning." This is a 
consideration the heart can readily understand, for the 
laborer fortifies his strength with thoughts of his pay 
and of the comfort it will afford those dependent upon 
him, and if, when the sun sets upon him, his heart is 
cheerful, he brings better strength to his labor the fol- 
lowing day, while if he is tricked out of his wages, in 
addition to his waste of energy, he suffers disappoint- 
ment, which eats away his manhood, a quality of suffer- 
ing which we are forbidden to inflict upon beasts, for 
" thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the 

140 Jewish Wombn's Congress. 

corn." With the same divine conception of mercy, 
instruments of labor are forbidden to be taken away or 
taxed, if their owner needs them to gain a livelihood: 
" No man shall take the nether or the upper millstone 
to pledge; for he taketh a man's life to pledge." Would 
not this mean, besides, preparing poverty for a man who 
would otherwise be happy, because industrious ? Thus, 
when the unfortunates are committed to the charity of 
man, the wisdom of the I^aw streams forth like the 
word God, written on the mitre of the high priest. 
Everything has a claim on man's mercy, and the Mosaic 
code would have the creature made " in the image of 
God," resemble his Creator by cultivating in him the 
divine attributes of virtue, justice and mercy; many 
splendid blossoms have bloomed on the tree of life, and 
showered down leaves to make a soft bed for the poor, 
and have shed fragrance, and lent strength to those who 
needed comforting. 

In every century Mosaic charity has communicated 
its spiritual essence to society at large, and has given to 
the needy a friend and support. Antiquity records the 
charity of Helena, Queen of Adiabene, and her son 
Monabazus, both proselytes to the Jewish faith, who 
labored to relieve the people during the great famine in 
Judaea by distributing food and money among them, 
and down through the roll of ages we come to our 
modem times ! Moses Montefiore and his gentle wife 
Judith exemplified, in the highest degree, what charity 
was, taught by the Mosaic law. Fancy these two 
inspired beings moving calmly side by side to relieve 
stricken families of whatever faith, wherever found, 
crossing seas to pour gold and comforting words upon suf- 
fering fellow-creatures in the Holy Land. Then, when 
this sympathizing wife is laid in the bosom of the earth, 
look once more at this angelic old man, ninety-seven 

Charity as Taught by the lyAw — Stern. 141 

years old, braving the dangers of a long journey again, 
his seventh trip to Damascus, to let fall his charity like 
the soft dew from heaven. 

Regard the multiplicity of charities of Judah Touro. 
Besides endowing orphan asylums in many cities of the 
United States, he left fifty thousand dollars for the poor 
in Jerusalem. And who can estimate the charities of 
the Rothschilds ! they support whole towns in the Holy 
Land, and in European cities, schools, colleges and syna- 
gogues are drawing their maintenance from their cofiers, 
while, but a short while ago, one of their chateaux with 
its beautiful grounds was converted into a home for the 
poor and the sick. 

Baron Hirsch may be called the noblest exponent of 
Mosaic charity, and if the stones preached sermons, and 
if the stars above were tongues, they could not tell of 
the many hearts he soothes, the many agonies he palli- 
ates, the many lives he saves for usefulness. 

Mohammed said, " Solomon was sent by God to illus- 
trate His attribute of wisdom, Jesus, His righteousness, 
and Moses, His providence." Would it not appear that 
such men are sent always to confirm a providence which 
never lessens ? For " Mercy, first and last, shall bright- 
est shine." Almsgiving is a cardinal requirement of the 
Law. The first fruits of com and wine and oil and 
flocks were to be given to the priests, because in their 
holy office they could not till the ground, or tend the herd, 
and supplementing this there is the finest of human laws: 

" Six years let the inhabitants of the land enjoy the 
fruits as a reward for the acquisitions which they have 
made and f&r the labors which they have undergone in 
cultivating the land; but for one year, namely, the seventh, 
let the poor and needy enjoy it." 

Can we overestimate the quality of these precepts? 
One of the Greek philosophers has said about them,, 

142 Jewish Women's Congress. 

" Who would deny that these go to the very furthest 
extent of humanity, unless he had tasted of this sacred 
code of laws only with the edges of his lips, or unless he 
had not reveled in its sweetest and most beautiful doc- 

These doctrines are like strands of assorted pearls, and 
lie deep in Jewish hearts; they are the strength of their 
strength, and appeal to the reason and the tenderness of 
Jews. I/ike a cry come up these words to them, " For 
the poor shall never cease out of the land, therefore I 
command thee, saying, thou shalt open thine hand wide 
unto thy brother, to thy poor and to thy needy in thy 

This age is made glorious by its development of 
woman; little by little she has pulled herself up from 
depths, in which she was but little above or better than 
the brute animal. 

Who in the whole history of the world was the first 
to elevate woman ? to teach delicacy to woman ? to com- 
mand honor of woman, and to insist upon her rights ? It 
was this same law-giver, Moses, who has purged and 
cleansed the morals of the world from the inner circle 
to the greatest. He purified thoughts about woman, and 
created for her a place in life, next in dignity to man. 
And as dews from heaven bring forth the sweetness from 
the rose to exhale upon the air, so have these tender 
laws about woman, this care and love developed her 
heart, and the world is happier for having had noble 
women who are sainted in the minds of men because of 
their charity and soft comfortings. 

We have spoken of Judith Montefiore as her husband's 
inspiration, how she helped him in his humanitarian 
work, but she did much charity of her own accord. She 
gave from her own means in a queenly and gracious 
manner regardless of the creed of the beneficiary; it was 

Charity as Taught by the I,aw — Stern. 143 

the needy human being she sought to befriend, not the 
adherent of a church or the believer in a dogma. 

In Berlin and Vienna there lived benevolent daughters 
of Daniel Itzig, nine sisters, cultured, beautiful and gra- 
cious, each possessing many accomplishments, and trained 
to be merciful to the needy, and good to the poor and 
the sick. 

Here, in America, there issues a light from the grave 
enshrining Rebecca Gratz, a Philadelphian. She at- 
tended the synagogue on every Sabbath, and during her 
whole beautiful life "never went astray in the slightest 
instance " from ancestral teachings, and her charities, 
many and far-reaching, were conceived in a liberal spirit. 
She included suffering humanity in her plans of mercy, 
and refused to draw the line at creed; her heart was a 
mine of compassion for those who most needed it, and 
she bestowed it lavishly upon them. She founded the 
first Hebrew Sunday School in America, and was its 
superintendent for thirty-two years, and helped to found 
the Foster Home, the Fuel Society, the Sewing Society 
and the Hebrew Benevolent Society. Her friend was 
Washington Irving, who was a great admirer of her mind 
and heart, and history has it that once, when visiting at 
the home of Walter Scott, he learned of " Ivanhoe," 
then in process of writing, and that Scott was casting 
about to introduce a Jewish heroine into the novel. Irv- 
ing described Miss Gratz, and grew so enthusiastic over 
her that Scott drew a character from his description. 
When his book was completed, he asked Irving how the 
*' Rebecca " of " Ivanhoe " corresponded with his original; 
it is, indeed, a fit monument unto so sweet a life as 
Rebecca Gratz lived. 

And now while we write of noble women who lived 
with their palms turned outward, and illustrated Mosaic 
charity, let us not forget a great woman whom the 

144 Jewish Women's Congress. 

Talmud honors with the name of " daughter of God," 
that woman whose maternal affections beatified her life^ 
and who clasped to her womanly heart the crying child 
from out of his green cradle, wherein he rocked upon 
the water, the Egyptian princess, Pharaoh's daughter — 
who adopted the babe, and cared for it, and loved it with 
a mother's love, and called him Moses. 

Thus God chose a woman to execute His design to 
preserve to the world the greatest good it has ever known, 
through this man Moses, whose laws will last until 
heaven comes down to earth, and God walks abroad on 
the face of the deep. 

For, to quote Moses' own words, " My doctrine shall 
drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the 
small rain upon the tender herb and as the showers upon 
the grass." 


Carrie Shevelson Benjamin, Denver, Col. 

In a far-off country, where the snow rests eternal on 
the mountain tops, there towers a grand mountain peak 
covered with shining snow as with a bridal robe. Its 
crest is raised in high majesty against the blue sky, a 
vast, white, towering mass of resplendent crystal, whose 
dazzling beauty fills the trembling air. Royal dignity 
shines from the gracious forehead; delicate grace perme- 
ates every outline of rock and snow — a sweet and glorious 
presence. The simple people of the mountains hundreds 
of years ago paid their tribute to womanhood by naming 
this peak " Die Jungfrau." The appellation implies that 
beauty and grace are woman's heritage from all genera- 
tions; homage and adoration, her rightful dower. She is 
the wind of the evening and the spice of the forests 
transformed into a presence, the glory of sunshine become 
material, the white foam of the ocean moulded into ex- 
quisite form, and the gleaming snow turned into lovely 
fleshi The radiance of the enduring stars is her soulj 
the charity of God is her heart. And this that scattereth 
abroad help like light among the children of men is — 

With such a heritage as her special dower, with such 
a mission as her special duty, with such a banner as her 
special sceptre, why need woman seek other rights and 
other spheres ? At the recent Women's Congress held 
here, one of the apostles of the new creed of women — 
the right to be men — ^in speaking of woman's sphere, 
JO (145) 

146 Jewish Women's Congress. 

said, " Why, slie hasn't even a hemi-sphere." We think 
she has not only a hemisphere, but the whole world, with 
which to play shuttle-cock, if she will but use the proper 
battledore. A rabbinical story relates that twelve baskets 
of gifts fell from heaven, and that Eve secured nine 
while Adam was picking up the three. And we are 
inclined to believe that since then she has obtained the 
use of all. 

At any rate, in the field of charity, which is almost co- 
extensive with the field of human action, there is no one 
to dispute woman's rights, no male angel Gabriel standing 
with flaming sword at the gate, saying, " Thus far and 
no farther." Here she can be a priestess to herself and 
to others. Had this field of woman's usefulness and 
special fitness been cultivated with half the zeal that has 
been devoted to the so-called woman's cause in other 
directions, the fig-tree had sprung up instead of the 
thistle. Did woman understand that this is her strength, 
of which, unlike Samson of old, she cannot be shorn, 
she would not be at the mercy of every Philistine who 
mocks at woman's rights and woman's sphere. 

Woman's fitness for the work of charity is emphasized 
throughout the old Hebrew writings. According to 
their idea the perfect woman must possess energy, 
strength of purpose and active zeal in ministering to 
the poor at her door, giving them her time, her trouble, 
her loving sympathy. She may open her mouth to wis- 
dom, but her tongue must know the law of kindness. 
As the needle to the pole, so should a true woman's 
heart turn to deeds of charity. If man's proper study 
is man, woman's proper study is charity. This is the 
work that lies nearest her, and should be dearest to her. 
She herself was a gift of God's compassion for man, 
when God saw that it was not good for man to be alone. 
Hence she is an attribute itself of a divine charity. 

Woman's Pi<ace in Charitable Work — Benjamin. 147 

Ruskin writes, " A woman has a personal work and 
duty relating to her own home, and a public work and 
duty which is the expansion of that. What the woman 
is to be within her gates as the centre of order, the 
balm of distress and the mirror of beauty; that she is to 
be without her gates where order is more difficult, dis- 
tress more imminent and loveliness more rare." 

The conclusion of the whole matter is this: Let 
woman's rights become woman's duties, and woman's 
suffrage humanity's sufferings, and let her remember 
that though she have the gift of prophecy, and under- 
stand all onomies and ologies and the mysteries of spheres 
and hemi, yea, demi-spheres, though she speak many 
languages with the tongues of men and of angels, 
though she be clothed in splendor, so that not even 
Solomon in all his glory was arrayed like one of them, 
if she have not charity, it profiteth her nothing. 

What is this charity, this bright jewel in woman's 
crown of glory, which is co-eval with the ages ? For, 
in the Mosaic institutions, there abound laws which 
inculcate tenderness, compassion and merciful care for 
human kind and the lower animals. Doubtless, the 
ferocity of a nomadic race was greatly restrained by 
these humane enactments, and the sweet amenities of 
life were encouraged to blossom even amid the ster- 
ility and desolation of the Arabian desert. What is this 
charity of which the unthinking prattle, and which 
earnest men and women find it an herculean task to 
grapple with ? Everything that can uplift the condi- 
tion of that great mass of poverty and ignorance, which 
forms the lowest and largest stratum of civilized socie- 
ties, comes under the definition of charity. Everything 
which seeks to remove the curse of poverty from those 
upon whom it has come down, not only in hereditary 
entail, but upon whom it has held mortgages before 

148 jBwiSH Women's Congress. 

even the deeds were put into their hands, is charity. 
And everyone, from the legislator who makes wise laws 
for the benefit of the poor, to the young girl who per- 
suades a maidservant to lay aside some of her earnings 
instead of squandering them, is an agent in the cause 
of charity. 

If it is true that charity covers a multitude of sins, it 
is also true that it brings to light a multitude of virtues. 
If use and abuse enter into this field, it is only because 
human nature will not change, even though benevo- 
lently disposed both to give and to receive. The uses 
of charity, like those of adversity, are sweet. The 
abuses of charity, like those of experience, are stepping- 
stones to higher things. If charity succeeds in uniting 
doubters, atheists and devotees under a common creed — 
.that of humanity — it fulfils a divine mission. If it 
notices one raven's fall, and uplifts it to a purer atmos- 
phere, it asserts man's likeness to God. If charity 
unlocks the left hand as well as the right, it explodes a 
poor theory, and removes a honeyed morsel that has 
been chewed too long. The fear of disobeying the 
command that the left hand shall not know what the 
right hand gives has, in many cases, paralyzed the right 
hand altogether. It would be as well to let the left 
hand into the secret. There are a few persons capable 
of silent and unrecognized labors for the poor, but the 
larger number must always be stimulated by the recog- 
nition of the world. If charity gives employment to 
the idle rich, let alone to the idle poor, it prevents much 
mischief. If it asserts its claim as woman's prerogative, 
it gives the woman's cause an impetus devoutly to be 
wished. If a true charity teaches a false charity that 
there is no cause for a psean of self-gratulation when 
reports, newspapers and pulpits announce that in one 
year so many cases were relieved by donations of money 

Woman's Place in Charitable Work — Benjamin. 149 

and food, or so many poor families were given traveling 
expenses from one city to another, it asserts its higher 
and better aims. If charity succeeds in basing its opera- 
tions on a strictly quid pro quo principle, and thereby 
blots out from its vocabulary the word relieve^ and sub- 
stitutes the yfoiA. prevent, it will then indeed "drop like 
the gentle rain from heaven." 

Of the abuses of charity more can be said. It is 
abused by the individual who gives indiscriminately, 
and by the individual who receives with the same indis- 
crimination. It is impossible to stir the surface of any 
of our charitable institutions without discovering the 
wholesale imposition practiced. If a charitable door is 
opened, whether it lead to a benevolent individual or to 
a benevolent society, the throngs that enter are mainly 
shams and cheats. The fault often rests with a chari- 
table system which shifts the duties of a whole commu- 
nity to the shoulders of a generous, but not always judi- 
cious minority. If the alms capriciously bestowed in a 
single month were, at the end of that time, collected 
and distributed with order and intelligence, the result 
would prevent pauperism from following in the wake of 

Organized or scientific charity aims to correct this 
evil. The time has passed for the Charles I^amb-like 
philosopher to sneer at scientific charity. It is as sen- 
sible to sneer at scientific physiology, or scientific anat- 
omy, or at scientific anything else, as at scientific 
charity, which is merely a phrase describing an intel- 
ligent system of treating poverty, founded on the widest 
actual experience and the most careful thought. The 
amelioration of humanity under its varied phases of 
misfortune must become a science, the appliances of 
which must be carefully studied, or the obstacles to good 
works will be increased. The spirit of association 

150 Jewish Women's Congress. 

involving unity of purpose also involves division of 
labor, so that individual charity in the shape of personal 
contact and friendly visitation is not excluded. While 
it offers the means of realizing the loftiest enterprise, it 
also gives efficacy to the humblest efforts. 

Of many charitable institutions, both public and pri- 
vate, there is no end, and their name is legion. Millions 
of money are expended every year in benevolent work 
by countless charitable societies and countless institu- 
tions. Among these the Jewish charities assume no 
mean proportions. Judaism, in its broadest sense, is 
synonymous with humanity, and the expression, " rich 
as a Jew," is merely negative, implying that there are 
no poor Jews depending on any but their own charities. 
There is no philanthropic work where Jewish women, 
when permitted, do not take an active and a leading 
part. Yes, our cities are full of charities, some languish- 
ing for lack of funds and personal interest, others flour- 
ishing with noble endeavor and achievement. Our cities 
are also full of persons who give freely, and who seem 
ready to plunge recklessly into the formation of still 
more charity-societies and buildings. And yet much of 
this must be effort absolutely wasted, since poverty 
increases, ignorance runs riot, and crime keeps pace with 
these. It strikes us that an increase in the number of 
churches erected bears an inverse ratio to that of char- 
ity institutions. Besides, more churches do not always 
imply more church-goers. But more charity buildings 
seem to augment the ranks of the poverty-stricken. 
" The poor ye always have with you," is true, but it is 
equally true that much brick and mortar, many asylums 
and institutions are only a panacea for ills, not a cure. 

Preventive and educational charity — this is the remedy. 
Some one has said that nudity and rags are only human 
idleness and ignorance out on exhibition. Every charity, 

Woman's Pi,ace in Charitabi,e Work — Benjamin. 151 

no matter how important or how beautiful, that does not 
tend to prevent the evils of idleness and ignorance, 
defeats the very end for which it exists. Give work to 
the able-bodied idle, and you do much to empty refuges 
for the unfortunate. Establish an orphan's society that 
shall possess not one brick in the way of an asylum, 
but that shall create a thousand new homes, individual 
homes, for a thousand street Arabs, and you have a 
remedy for juvenile pauperism. It is the influence of 
work over idleness, of homes over institutions, that is 
needed. Volumes full of truth and eloquence might be 
written on this subject. But the pen of the writer 
would have to be dipped into a sunbeam to write, with 
sufficient eloquence, of the benefits of the education of 
the poor. It is a well-worn axiom that where ignorance 
prevails there is the greatest amount of pauperism and 
crime. If much cannot be done with the old and hard- 
ened pauper something can be done with his child. 
The prophecy of Fichte is true, " The first generation 
will be the only one upon whom it will be necessary 
to use constraint." Succeeding generations will lean 
toward education as the flowers toward the sun, as the 
dry leaves to the refreshing rain. Much has been done, 
but there is much more left undone. There are times 
when the limitations of man's power to help man's need 
drive one into despondency and despair. We reap our 
little corner, and see the wide fields stretch beyond, not 
only unsown, but unploughed. 

Who shall take these matters in hand ? Shall they be 
left to legislation ? Yes, if legislation were ideal. Look 
at Europe; its very heart is being eaten out by the cancer 
growth of all sorts of dreadful isms, because of too much, 
or perchance too little, legislation. Look at our own 
country. Legislation has much to answer for, and its 
responses, like those of the oracle of old, are often 

152 jBwiSH Women's Congress. 

unsatisfactory, if, coming from a silver State, I may be 
permitted to criticise recent legislation. 

And in this connection I may be pardoned if I speak 
with special pride of Denver's charities at all times, but 
especially in these times that have tried its soul. When 
a legislation, without legislating, shut down Colorado's 
mines, and thrust thousands of men with their dependent 
families out into a sea of trouble, Denver's men and 
women came nobly to their relief. The history of its 
Governor's misunderstood remark of " blood to the 
bridle " has been written up and spread abroad in article 
upon article, and illustrated in cartoon upon cartoon, 
by newspapers that are fond of sensations, and by those 
whose printers' devils, were there no sensations, would 
cry for " copy " in vain. But what about the unwritten 
history of the deeds of charity done in Denver ? When 
in one night like magic there sprang up, in the open 
field, hundreds of homes in the shape of tents for the 
homeless, provided with food for the hungry? What 
about the public works pushed for the sake of giving 
employment to the idle ? What about heaping coals of 
fire on the enemy's head by sending car-loads of food 
from Denver to the unemployed of "gold-bug" New 
York ? Colorado's skirts may be trailed in the dust, but 
with such a record, her head must rise peerless to the 
skies. Hence it is evident that, until a legislation 
becomes ideal, nothing can touch the evils of poverty so 
well as the work that can be done outside of State and 
even church by those who have the heart to feel, the 
hands to do, and, above all, the time to do it in. For 
the real growth of philanthropic work depends upon the 
time intelligently devoted to it. 

It seems conclusive that it is to woman that we must 
look as the invincible agent in this work. She is 
divinely appointed, and innately fitted, and for the most 

Woman's Pi,ace in Charitabi^e Work — Benjamin. 153 

part endowed with wliat is of essential value — leisure. 
To the unoccupied woman the plea arises loudest. When 
we speak of unoccupied women, we mean, not only the 
familiar type of the woman indifferent to all things, but 
also those who live in careless comfort, and who some- 
times satisfy their half-awakened consciences by giving 
to the poor what they can readily spare from their well- 
filled larder and press. Often the quality of such charity 
of cold victuals and old clothes is much more apt to 
bless those who give than those who take, by relieving 
larder and press of burdensome effects. We also include 
those women who pass long mornings at society sewing- 
circles, full of the idea that they are discharging their 
duty to the poor, when the essential labor of personal 
contact, of judicious investigation and education is left 
undone. Such sewing has to be done, but let it be rele- 
gated to the pauper women who are supported in idle- 
ness, and be paid for. There is an appallingly large 
class of these unoccupied women, rich as well as poor, 
and it is vastly important to develop this wasted power 
into labor for the common good. Work is the appointed 
lot of all, and neither the lazy rich nor the lazy poor 
can escape this edict. Position, influence and wealth 
are not indispensable. The widow's mite of time serves 
here as the coin of old. " Eveiy^ man hath " business, 
such as it is," and Indeed the most delicate butterfly of 
fashion sighs: "I am so busy," but the question should 
be forced upon you, pretty butterfly, " What is this busi- 
ness?" Suppose an ideal legislation should place a 
levy on your time in favor of the unfortunate, after the 
manner of the tithes of feudal times ? Suppose an ideal 
legislation should draft you into a standing army of 
women of leisure to do charity service ? and train you 
in the best tactics of social usefulness, thus teaching 
you that only by having the interests of the poor at 

154 Jewish Women's Congress. 

heart can you become a good citizen, thereby also per- 
petuating the idea that you cannot live to yourself alone, 
but must bear others' burdens ? It would tax the limits- 
of this paper to enlarge upon the beauties of such a 
scheme. We can give only the merest diagnosis of the 
disease, and only hint at the remedy. If to do were as 
easy as to suggest what were good to do, chapels had 
been workshops, and poor men's unsafe tenements sani- 
tary cottages. Did every spark let fall from the pyro- 
technic display of eloquence offered within these walls 
at the myriad congresses held here, take effect, there 
would arise a conflagration, compared with which your' 
fire of '71 would be as "moonlight unto sunlight, and 
as water unto wine." 

It is an old legend of just men, noblesse oblige^ or 
superior advantages bind you to larger generosities. 
Hence the more gifted the woman, the more goods she 
is endowed with, the more leisure she possesses, the 
greater the demands on these resources. 

Bentham's principle, " the greatest good to the greatest 
number," is most true of charity. The benefits of the 
more fortunate must be bestowed on the less, or they 
convict themselves of unfitness to possess their advan- 
tages. Surely the graces of culture and wealth will not 
be thrown away if exercised among the humblest and 
the least cultured, for they need them and must have 
them, or they will remain blind forces in the world, the 
levers of demagogues, who preach anarchy, and misname 
it progress. There is no culture so high, no refinement 
of wealth so exquisite, that it cannot find full play in 
the broadest field of humanity, and there shed a light 
which shall illumine surrounding gloom, and without 
which life is like one of the old landscapes into which 
the artist forgot to put the sunlight. If your fruits are 
gathered up in storehouses and barns, they must decay 

Woman's PIvAcb in Charitable Work — Benjamin. 155 

and die. If your coin is put into chests and vaults, the 
moth and rust must corrupt and destroy it 

No matter what her walk in life may be, woman can 
take up arms in the cause of charity. Whether she be 
on the highways or in the by-ways, she can find ample 
scope for her energies in this work. Whether she walk 
in the day-nurseries, through the kindergartens, in the 
industrial schools, out in the trades with the wage-earners, 
into the tenements, into the hospitals, out in the streets,. 
into the homes of the poor and the rich — " the ways, they 
are many, the end it is one." It is said that women have 
a mania for organizing, and that doctors encourage this 
as a cure for nervous prostration. This sly insinuation, 
with all its attendant sneers, would lose its force, did 
women put forth all their executive efforts in ways for 
which they are pre-eminently fitted, and for ends uni- 
versally good. If woman must be an organizer, with 
all the influence which that implies, let her emphasize 
the fact at her meetings, clubs, and congresses, that 
woman's sphere may comprise, among other things, 
suffrage, dress reform, and charity, but that the great- 
est of her duties is charity. If the woman's-rights 
woman thinks, with Mrs. Browning, that " male chiv- 
alry has died out," let her remember that in the cause 
of charity " women may be knight-errants to the last. 
A greater Cervantes shall arise who will make his Don 
a Donna." 

When woman shall walk (uprightly) in the many ways 
that charity opens for her, we shall see that a new polit- 
ical economy will arise that shall be to the old science 
what the spirit of modern religion is to the ecclesiasti- 
cism which has been its unwilling mother. Let woman, 
obeying her divine mission, be the modem Heracles to 
set free the modern Prometheus. The rocks will take 
up the chains that long fettered his limbs. The hungry 

156 JEWISH Women's Congress. 

vultures of pauperism, ignorance and crime will feed on 
the carcass of worn-out life, not on the throbbing heart. 
The fire of a divine charity, filling the earth, will flame 
back to the sun by day and the stars by night. " Watch- 
ful angels will not wear their faces veiled, and shadows 
will mimic substance no longer." 


(^Discussion of the foregoing paper. ) 

GoLDiE Bamber, Boston, Mass. 

Woman's place in charity, to-day, is that of a self- 
constituted agent for the distribution of food, fuel, 
clothing and money. Suffering and pitiful want appeal 
mightily to her tender heart, and alms-giving follows. 
This is but a " sop to Cerberus," however, and while it 
relieves the sensitive susceptibilities of the giver, fosters 
rather than diminishes pauperism, the evil which charity 
aims to obliterate. In my work among the poor, I have 
found them, as Tolstoi says, " As other men are," diffi- 
cult to assist without devoting time and care to them; 
their wretchedness is not to be relieved by the m::re 
giving of a bank-note. 

Since, then, material aid is obviously insufficient to 
do more than relieve for the day or the hour, it is in the 
field of aesthetic charity that we must labor to obtain 
permanent results. If our aim is to effect a change, to 
redeem the poor and uplift them from their sordid sur- 
roundings, we must devote time and thought to the 
character and need of the individual. 

In Boston, we have commenced with the children, 
trusting through them to influence their elders; they are 
the future citizens, and in them we are not obliged to 
contend with confirmed habits, old-world prejudice and 
superstitions. Their fresh, young minds are open to 


158 Jewish Women's Congress. 

every new impression, and they readily adapt themselves 
to changed conditions. The civilizing and educating 
influence of the public schools is not undervalued, but 
we consider it necessary to supplement this by special 
schools, where more attention may be paid to the indi- 
vidual requirements, to the assimilation and growth of 
American ideas. 

Three years ago, through the interest and sympathy 
of Mrs. J. H. Hecht, an Industrial School was opened 
with twenty miserably unclean and melancholy little 
girls for pupils. The school numbers to-day one hun- 
dred and fifty tidy, self-reliant little women, and they 
are not half of the number of those who are clamoring 
for similar advantages. Our first step in character 
building, after we have won the confidence of the child, 
is to impress upon its mind the necessity of cleanliness; 
appreciation of the hygienic value is encouraged by the 
distribution of free bath tickets, but it would have been 
impossible to furnish a practical illustration, and enforce 
neatness with these unfortunate children in their soiled 
shreds and tatters, if the Hebrew I/adies' Sewing Society 
had not come to our assistance, and provided shoes, cloth- 
ing, and new material. Self-respect and industry and 
order were then developed by teaching the child to keep 
its clothing in repair. For this, classes were formed, 
after school hours, in plain sewing, darning and mend- 
ing. This intimate association with the children re- 
vealed to us the deficiency of their moral and religious 
training, and a Sabbath School was the outgrowth. 
The instruction is not dogmatic, and observance of the 
forms and ceremonies is not strenuously insisted on so 
much as an intelligent conception of and adherence to 
the vital principles of Judaism. 

Knowing that these girls would be obliged to con- 
tribute toward the general support of the family at the 

Woman's Place in Charitable Work — Bamber. 159 

earliest age that the law allows, we endeavor to render 
them capable of filling good positions. The time after 
school hours was found to be all too short for thorough 
and systematic training, so evening classes were inaugu- 
rated; there sewing is taught in all its branches, both 
hand and machine work; cutting of white clothes; dress 
making and fitting by chart and measure, and millinery 
making and trimming. We are in direct communica- 
tion with the principal business firms, who send to us for 
help, and we hear only praise of the neatness and effi- 
ciency of our pupils. 

Good manners are cultivated, and opportunities are 
given the children at religious festivals, concerts and 
entertainments to meet and mingle with those more 
favored children who know the charms of a refined 
home. Friendly relations have also been established 
with the parents of our pupils, and they have been urged 
to encourage their children to put into practice the 
knowledge gained at school. We soon became aware of 
the ignorance that prevails in these households of how 
to perform the commonest tasks, or prepare the simplest 
meal. One feature of the industrial school is the Coun- 
try Week. During the first summer we attempted 
cooking and kitchen gardening with excellent results. 
The utility of such instruction was clearly demonstrated 
in the improved conditions of the homes. Extension 
of our future work will therefore be along these lines. 
Another much appreciated feature of the school is the 
lending library. 

These advantages offered to the girls excited the 
interest and envy of their brothers, who repeatedly 
appealed to us for corresponding opportunities. It was 
finally decided to open a boys' club, and a more motley 
group than the fifty ragged, dirty newsboys and boot- 
blacks who assembled on the first evening, it would be 

i6o Jewish Women's Congress. 

difficult to find. The consternation of the ten or twelve 
merchants and college men who had gathered to assist 
us soon gave place to profound interest in their novel 
occupation. The aims were the same as in the girls' 
school, to establish habits of honesty, industry and clean- 
liness, and arouse a spirit of self-reliance and self-respect. 
As with the girls, a practical illustration of the motto, 
" Cleanliness is next to godliness," was first insisted on. 
The depth of enthusiasm of the Harvard man, who 
himself washed and combed a bright-eyed little gamin, 
was not participated in by all; but night after night, after 
study and business hours, social and household demands, 
these earnest men and women devoted themselves to the 
making of worthy American citizens. Lectures, readings, 
debates, informal talks on social, religious and scientific 
topics, music, games and gymnastics filled the evenings 
of these boys, and withdrew them from the evil influences 
of the street. Among the two hundred neatly dressed, 
well-mannered fellows listening intelligently to a lecture 
on " The opportunities that America oflfers to the immi- 
grant," delivered before them last June, it would have 
been difficult to recognize the fifty original members. 
Interest in our work is so widespread that we hope soon 
to have a well-equipped building, to be devoted solely to 
the education and development of Jewish youth. 

This wave of interest has extended even to the parents 
of our pupils, and renewed fervor in the work of the 
Sewing Society, and increase in the ranks of the district 
visitor are direct results. Although more tact and dis- 
cretion are required, previous attempts in the way of 
furnishing employment, amusement and instruction to 
the adults, have proved how much can be accomplished 
in arousing their dormant self-respect and independence. 
One visit to their squalid habitations will convince you, 
as no printed or recited story can, of the necessity of 

Woman's Pi<ace in CharitabIvE Work — B amber. i6r 

" better dwellings " societies. After such a visit you 
will not doubt the guarded rumors of immorality said 
to exist there ; moral cleanliness and well-being are 
greatly dependent on environment, and such surround- 
ings are degrading and debasing. There is room for 
more Jewish women on the roll of the society which 
compels the Board of Health to condemn and landlords 
to pull down unfit dwellings, and erect in their stead 
convenient, well-ventilated apartments. 

No society has greater influence in this work of ele- 
vating the poor and fitting them for improved conditions 
than the Boston Women's Educational and Industrial 
Union, numbering Jewish women among its members. 
The Young Women's Hebrew Association, although 
established only two years ago, is also an important 
factor in the redemption of the poor; it relieves im- 
mediate want, provides physicians and nurses, and gives 
occasional outings to the children. A day-nursery and a 
diet-kitchen are among their plans for the immediate 

Tchernystchewsky, in his book, "What's to be 
done?" deals with the very people, the problem of 
whose salvation we are trying to solve; from his state- 
ments and by our own experience, we learn that it is only 
through association, by actual contact, that we may hope 
for their regeneration. The dread of disease and con- 
tag-ion should not separate us from our unfortunate 
brothers and sisters, especially as with crowded thorough- 
fares, public conveyances, places of amusement, and 
money, the universal medium of exchange between rich 
and poor, teeming with germs, we cannot expect to 
enjoy immunity from disease, even if we keep away 
from the poor. 

Wherever and whenever a well-directed movement is 
inaugurated for the betterment of downtrodden humanity, 

1 62 Jewish Women's Congress. 

woman's wisest energies should be employed. Her place 
is in a field of usefulness, bounded only by her good 

All Israel suffers in the degradation of its poor; 
woman is the Messiah come to deliver them from their 
second bondage of ignorance and misery. She is the 
educator, the reformer, and the reward of her labor will 
be the evolution of a nobler race of worthy citizens and 
respected members of society. 




{Disaission of the foregoing paper. ) 

R. W. Navra, New Orleans, La. 

When we turn to the consideration of a subject as far- 
reaching as the one now before us, it must be remembered 
that it is an inherent law that the actual facts of the 
present and the possible ones of the future are influenced 
by those of the past. 

Therefore, we, who stand to-day with the broad light 
of civilization illuminating all avenues of thought, with 
the gleam of " right purity, right truth, right rapture " 
shedding rays into the misty future, must seek for the 
spark of this brilliant and intelligent illumination in the 
comparative twilight of the past. The vista thus pre- 
sented is almost endless. Even in the primitive creed 
of the ancient Greeks, we find that the pure and beauti- 
ful woman whose form always stood as a type of the 
most exalted virtue, the one whose arms were entwined 
about the figures of Hope and Faith, Charity^ was con- 
sidered the greatest. If, then, even with such rivalry, 
the figure of Charity stood supreme between the other 
Graces, surely the crown, sceptre and mantle of that 
rank, which has descended through the ages on all 
women, must determine the supremacy of her position 
in the world's charitable work. As the gradual and 
imperceptible changes of the social scale have taken 


164 JEWISH Women's Congress. 

p'lace, and the intellectual ranks given to woman have 
^Decome established, she has assumed the position of 
almoner, as alleviator of the sufferings of others, striving 
to maintain her position as a true disciple of the great 
Queen Charity, who was so worshiped and so deified in 
the past. 

We of to-day who see constantly the great need in 
our cities among all sorts and conditions of God's 
people, all races, all ranks, all creeds and all characters, 
especially since the great immigration of Russia's per- 
secuted Jews, must feel that there is a vast field for the 
executive ability of woman, as well as for all her tact, 
diplomacy, patience and untiring effort in educating the 
young. It has been my personal experience, and from 
such data we consciously and unconsciously form our 
conclusions, that the mere question of money-giving or 
of gaining subscriptions for charitable work is, espe- 
cially among the generous-hearted people of our sect, 
and in our Southern city, not the most diflScult problem 
to solve. Rather the most formidable, because it entails 
both good and evil, is the injudicious giving of money 
to the poor. Cases occur to my mind in which some 
modern Crcesus, moved by a sense of pity aroused by a 
tale of distress, recklessly gives to the applicant enough 
money to entirely upset his domestic economy, and to 
make the privation of to-morrow the harder to bear, 
because of the plenty of to-day. It is for this reason, 
and because I always believe that in organizations and 
institutions the judicious expending of the funds entrusted 
to its officers is of paramount importance, that I often 
wish it were possible for me to head a crusade, which 
would find followers in all the world, against careless and 
unthinking charity. 

Surely, then, the wise administration of the alms of 
those who give is a mission worthy of Mrs. Jellyby 

Woman's Place in. Charitabi,e Work — Navra. 165 

herself. Yet we women who have laughed at that clever 
caricature have sympathized sweetly with the absorbing 
interest of this poor enthusiast in the savages of Bor- 
rioboola Gha, while the members of her own household 
were even wilder and more uncivilized. This involun- 
tarily reminds me that it might be well for us all to 
remember that there is a place for women in the " Char- 
ity which begins at home," and that those who have 
really filled the highest place in the world's work, are 
the women who never permit a conflict between the duty 
that lies within and that which is without their gate. 
If, then, there is one woman who has listened to me 
to-day who will carry home with her, among the many 
souvenirs of this more than marvelous exposition, one 
little thought, uttered from out of the fullness of my heart, 
may it be this: when she rejoices in the pre-eminence of 
woman in charitable work to-day, let her feel that she is 
in the position oi guide to those who give carelessly, and 
let her remember always to ascertain the wants as well 
as the position of the applicant. Also, that absorbing 
as outside work may be, there is a duty that lies nearer, 
the one which must be fulfilled to those dear to us, 
whose claims are undeniable. Then, too, hidden from 
others, there is a sanctuary within our souls, at the 
shrine of which we lay our sacrifices, and it is then that 
we remember that there is a charity which speaketh no 
evil and thinketh none. This truth exemplified in 
noble lives has done more than anything else to keep 
bright the halo that surrounds the figure of Charity — 

" In Faith and Hope the world will disagree, 
But all mankind's concern is Charity." 

Wednesday, September 6, 1893, 8.30 p. m. 
The interest in .this evening's session was so great that 
it was found necessary to hold an overflow meeting in 
another hall, over which Mrs. H. Frank presided, and at 
which all the papers read in Hall 7, the usual meeting 
place, were repeated. 


Hannah G. Solomon, Chairman. 

In the first days of the week, I had decided to say a 
few words of welcome to the fathers and brothers who 
might attend this evening's session. But so generous 
has been their attendance during the week that words 
of welcome are superfluous. But one thing I will say, 
and that is, that if there is one lesson more beautiful 
than all others which Israel has taught the world, it is 
that of the position of woman. Love for the mother, 
devotion to the wife, sacrifices for the children, these 
stamp Israel of all times as a civilized nation. And if 
this week we have been spelling "Jewish Woman " with 
a capital "J " and a capital " W," it is not less true that 
we believe you all capital fellows. It is not vain-glor- 
iously, or in a spirit of boasting that we have been rum- 
maging the pages of history for the illustrious daughters 
of Judah, nor do we strive to shine by reflected light. 
But we have come to teach and to learn. In the pages 
of history, in the lives of the heroes and heroines, the 
destinies and possibilities of a people are written. In 
them, we have been trying to discover ideals for ourselves, 

our daughters and granddaughters. 


Address — Solomon. 167 

I hope I shall not be too severely taken to task for 
saying that I am proud of the record made by Jewish 
women during the past week. I am proud of the ear- 
nestness shown, best attested by the facts that all our 
essayists, with one exception, were here to read their 
own papers, and that our delegates have come from the 
remotest points to be with us; proud of the unselfish- 
ness of the women; of the lack of vanity shown by the 
women of our city, who left every place in the pro- 
gramme to the women of other cities, accepting only 
the places left. All this, I think, argues well for 
the woman-soul of the future that is to lead " upward 
and on." 


E. Frank. 

Mrs. President, I,adies and Gentlemen : 

When first the subject of a religious congress was 
spoken of, the idea suggested itself to a few of our ardent 
workers that no more fitting time or opportunity would 
ever present itself for the revival of our forgotten and 
scattered hymns than at this first Jewish Women's Con- 
gress. That it is peculiarly woman's sphere to. introduce 
divine and sacred music into the household is self-evident; 
why should not we, then, deem it a duty to become 
familiar with the beautiful echoes of the past and the 
histories that surround them ? 

It is an admitted fact that many of our co-religionists 
have created the most beautiful and sublime works in the 
world of sound ; is it possible that the music in connec- 
tion with the divine service is of an inferior quality ? 
No ; and yet we have searched so little for its beauties. 
I believe the main reason for this lack of knowledge has 
been the want of some book to bring it to us in an easy 
and intelligent manner, and I am sure the compilers of 
our Memorial Book have accomplished this end. Let 
these songs be heard, and they will need no praise to 
recommend them to you. 

To many, these revised melodies will bring memories 
of the sweet and pathetic incidents of their past lives, 
when, surrounded by those who have long since departed, 
they knew no greater pleasure than to make their Sab- 
baths and other holidays perfect so far as their simple 
mode of living allowed. A feeling of reverence and 


Presentation op the Hymn Book — E. Frank. 169 

piety is with us as we gaze on these pictures of the past, 
and why must the sentiment of the old be thrust aside 
for the rush and hurly-burly of the present ? We have 
always been called a people of sentiment, though we 
must refute statements that attribute to us merely senti- 
ment without ability to act. 

Music fostered and sung on all occasions can lead us 
to the greatest of deeds, and then, when within our heart 
of hearts we feel that we are doing our best, what care 
we whether "sentiment" is still said to be the main 
feature of our individuality ? 

In our new and easy methods of teaching in the Sab- 
bath School, it has been found unwise and unnecessary to 
bother the children with the study of Hebrew, but music, 
the language understood by young and old the world 
over, must not be buried, and let us hope that our book 
will fulfil its mission, and every home give it a welcome. 

"Music! Oh, how faint, how weak 

Language fades before thy spell! 
Why should Feeling ever speak, 

When thou canst breathe her soul so well ? 
Friendship's balmy words may feign, 

Love's are even more false than they ; 
Oh ! 'tis only music's strain 

Can sweetly soothe, and not betray." 


Minnie D. Louis, New York. 

" Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the 
cause of the poor and needy." 

If I am a part of all nature, if I contain a part of the 
universal soul, or as Emerson says, if " the soul needed 
rae as an organ to contain it," then am I one with the 
beautiful golden-tinted clouds that float in such blissful 
contentment; then am I one with the torturing, crush- 
ing, darkening evil that drags down to the depths of 
nakedness within and without. 

Everything in the universe that fulfils its purpose, 
ultimately reaches upward; even what is matured under 
the earth's surface has no value till it climbs up into the 
light; the soul, as part of the universe, partakes of this 
same upward tendency. If by some chance it should be 
dragged down, it matters not if it be in my body or in 
another, it is part of me, and I cannot be relieved from 
the pain of its dragging, until I lift it up, and gird it 
with strength that it may freely ascend into the hill of 
the rejoicing ones of the earth. This is the very essence 
of mission-work. 

Our Jewish history teems with records of such under- 
standing and fulfilment of life's purpose, both through 
religious propagandism and organized effort for the 
enlightenment and elevation of a community. The 
passage in our Bible, " The poor shall never cease out 
of thy land," is an ever-present mentor, its utterance 


Mission Work. — Louis. 171 

growing into a louder and louder prophecy that fills 
men's hearts with fear and trembling, making mission- 
work tower in men's minds as a barrier of defense. 

We lightly say that fashion incites it; that because 
some known accumulators of wealth bring their tres- 
pass-offerings to charity's altar in endowments for her 
institutions, and contribute toward various modes of 
relief, and affect a concern about the condition of the 
"poor as officers and patrons of communal societies, a pre- 
cedent is established for the socially ambitious to fol- 
low. But it is something deeper than a mere fad; it is 
a real concern; there is an actual apprehension that the 
social body is diseased, and that the virus may be com- 
municated to any spot, and cause destruction: and beside 
this, there is, in some, an ««worded, yet sure knowledge, 
that "if in thy wicked heart, thou say est. The seventh 
year, the year of release, is at hand, and thine eye be 
evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him 
naught; he will cry unto the L^rd against thee, and it 
will be sin unto thee." 

lyike a stream that flows with more volume and swift- 
ness as it approaches its mouth, gathering in its current 
a constantly accumulating mass of floating matter, so 
this century is plunging down into the sea of time, 
whirling along, in its torrent, all the busy, burning 
thoughts of men; and this hurrying flow draws the 
people to the shore to anxiously watch it, and snatch 
therefrom what is valuable, before it is swept into the 
unsearchable depths of that ever broadening sea. We 
have come to watch mission-work, and take from it what 
seems to us best. 

See ! the claims of the far-away savage heathen that, 
for so many centuries, monopolized the efforts of the 
zealous, are no longer paramount. " Borrioboola Gha " 
has been supplanted by " Whitechapel," " Mulberry 

172 Jewish Women's Congress. 

Bend," and the nearest district tenements. Instead of 
the outward-bound ship with its cargo of beads and 
trinkets and gay calicoes and missals, unfurling the Con- 
stantine banner, see the " People's Palace," the " Uni- 
versity Settlement," " Hull House," spread their buoyant 
pennons at our street corners; instead of the sacrament 
given to wondering, half-dressed, tawny natives in a 
distant land, see libraries, club-rooms, lecture-halls, trade- 
shops, given to wondering, half-dressed, pale-skinned 
natives in our own towns. 

But what have we Jews to do with this ? Mission- 
work has never been with us of such a character that 
transformations like those must in rerum natura occur; 
"what we know of the missions of Abraham, Moses, 
Samuel and Nehemiah, are to us such ideals of effort in 
"behalf of our suffering brethren that they serve as 
models for all time. It is true, since our denationaliza- 
tion other peoples have so emphasized the proselytizing 
motive in mission-work, that we eschewed every consid- 
eration of the phrase; now that it has assumed a broader 
scope, compatible with the Jewish conception of hiiman- 
itarian endeavor, we no longer hesitate to characterize 
our own philanthropic work as such, and even follow the 
trend of popular method. 

I do not propose to discourse upon "Mission-work 
among the Unenlightened Jews " statistically, to give the 
number of organizations enlisted for it, with the amounts 
received and expended therefor; but rather to explore the 
work, dig deep into the soil to discover the accumulated 
obstructions thrust in by religious and social persecu- 
tion — of which we Jews share some of the guilt — and 
venture an opinion as to how they might be removed. 
And to do this, I trust I may be permitted to cite New 
York City in illustration of its greatest need and the 
remedies already applied. We know that throughout 

Mission Work. — I^ouis. 173 

southeastern Europe and Syria, the "Alliance Israelite 
Universelle," within the past thirty-three years, and the 
" Anglo-Jewish Association," within the past twenty-two 
years, have established most successfully their secular, 
religious and industrial schools, which number fifty-eight 
primary schools, and twenty-seven workshops or indus- 
trial schools for both boys and girls; and that the " Anglo- 
Jewish Association," in connection with the "Jewish 
Colonization Society," is pursuing a scheme of coloniza- 
tion, whereby indigent Jews from every part of the world 
may achieve their regeneration mainly through agricul- 
tural labors (a scheme much less bruited, less complicated 
than General Booth's, yet equally comprehensive); and 
we know that throughout this country, wherever the 
unfortunate of our people have sought refuge, the most 
generous assistance has been provided, yet in no place 
are their needs so great as in New York City. 

The Jewish arrivals in that port from 1885 to July i, 
1893, aggregate 285,894, of whom, up to January i, 1893, 
205,416 were exiled Russians.* These people naturally 
gravitate toward the central body of their compatriots 
already residing there, chiefly in the Tenth Ward. This 
ward is the most densely populated area in the world, 
averaging 25,000 people to the acre. When one hears 
that one double tenement house contains 297 tenants, 
one can conceive somewhat of the crowding. In a house 
in Essex street, which I visited some time ago, the build- 
ing, front and rear, was occupied by fifty-two families, 
composed of from three to ten members, besides an almost 
equal number of lodgers. An ordinance of the Health 
Board demands that " 400 cubic feet of air-space shall be 
provided or allowed for each bed or lodger," but the rents 
are so grinding upon these tenants, that the larger the 

* Statistics furnished by Hon. A. S. Solomons, General Agent of the 
Baron de Hirsch Fund Committee. 

174 Jewish Women's Congress. 

family, the greater the need of the $3.00 or $5.00 per 
month from the lodger, harbored in defiance of the law. 
This overcrowding, humanely, if not wisely winked 
at by the authorities, who know that enforcement of this 
law means eviction for non-rent, is the promoter of a 
greater evil, the immorality of the young. Where, for 
instance, seven people sleep in a room, say 14 x 14, 
which is used for all living purposes, there can be no 
privacy; and where modesty is uncurtained, virtue is in 
danger. But the real source of this evil is the cupidity 
of the landlords, which encourages this huddling. Most 
of them, having been former tenants in that locality, 
and having made their money through industry and 
saving, know, from long observation, that the most 
advantageous investment is a tenement-house, which 
yields a large and sure and speedy income. Usually 
domiciling themselves in it, often serving as its house- 
keepers, they hover hawk-like over their tenants, lest 
there be tardiness in the payment of the dues; every 
closet is taxed for its quota of revenue; two of these 
with one fair-sized room constitute an apartment, and 
such apartments range in price from $7.50 to $16.00 
per month, and are seldom repaired or improved except 
under threat of the law. This condition, of course, 
applies to the older houses, which predominate, though 
the beguiling exterior of the new ones reveals a still 
condemnable interior. Very recently, a thrifty woman, 
with five children, whose husband, a cloak-maker, has 
been out of employment for months — he is a non-union 
man — in distress about her rent, came to me. She had 
recently moved from Ludlow street to Brooklyn, reduc- 
ing her rent from $13.00 to $7.00. Her former land- 
lord exacted his payment whether or not they had work, 
or whether or not they had food. She said, if she had 
to beg, she would not do it for the landlord, so moved 

Mission Work.^Louis. 175 

where rent was cheaper, but work scarcer. Our " United 
Hebrew Charities " essays to meet the emergency of dis- 
possessed tenants, but any institution would soon be 
bankrupt, if acceding to every appeal. 

This matter of rent, which absorbs all the energies of 
the poor working-class, while it fattens the greedy land- 
lords, is an important consideration in mission-work; 
regarding it, the landlords are the ones to whom 
reformatory eflFort should be directed. All laws are 
made fundamentally for the benefit of all people under 
their jurisdiction; and while some may object to the 
so-called " government paternalism " in what I am about 
to advance, it is, nevertheless, the first duty of a govern- 
ment to protect its people from all manner of oppression. 

A law to assess dwelling-house property at its intrinsic 
value, with a fixed percentage for rent, all demanded 
above the fixed percentage being made confiscate to the 
government, would soon regulate the rent scheme to the 
satisfaction of every one but the owners. The venality 
that such a measure would induce would be guarded 
against by the unavoidable requirement that the assess- 
ments for taxation and the assessments for rent must 
tally; each would serve as a balance sheet against the 
other, and honesty be ensured, nolens volens. While the 
strict construction of our constitutions, both State and 
federal, would render such a proposition impracticable 
at present, inasmuch as constitutions have been amended, 
in the past, in answer to the louder cry for liberty, so 
they may be in the future. As mission-work is to-day 
the greatest factor in the legalized amelioration of social 
abuses, it is quite within the province of the law to 
effect this one. 

The condition of the houses within the financial range 
of the poor is a mighty agent in aggravating all the 
offences of their poverty. The homoeopathic supply of 

176 Jewish Women's Congress. 

air, light and water affords no recuperation to their 
fatigued bodies, and while we admonish the miserable 
tenants to keep their apartments clean, we must admit 
that, with all our philosophy, we would deem the same 
circumstances for ourselves most extenuating, in case of 
our derelictions. When the children clamor for food, 
and there is no prospect of a day's work to furnish the 
wherewithal, when the father's coat, the feather pillows, 
the Sabbath-eve brass candlesticks have all been pawned 
to still the hungry mouths, can we wonder that no ambi- 
tion is aroused to keep the dismal apartment in proper 
condition ? And while we condemn the filth that gains, 
we partly condone the negligence of the wretched house- 
wife, to whom life is all a sunless, dingy comer. And 
here is where the mission-worker must be a law unto 
him or herself. Encouragement to brace up against 
misfortune, a loan of money to provide food, the effort 
to obtain employment for the workers in the family, the 
supply of a few cleaning implements, with assistance to 
most pleasingly distribute the sparse furniture, and 
above all, cheery words of sympathy, and repeated 
visits, — these make up part of the routine practiced by 
our " Sisterhoods of Personal Service," the " Volunteer 
Corps of Friendly Visitors to the Tenth Ward," and the 
institution with which I am connected, the " Louis 
Down Town Sabbath and Daily School." The newest 
organization to undertake this work adds to the above 
routine daily house-to-house visiting, and nursing of the 
sick discovered in their rounds. It is known as " Visit- 
ing Trained Nurses under the auspices of the Health 
Board," and all leading Jewish and Christian communal 
societies have subventioned it; it is supported by a Jew- 
ish lady and a Jewish gentleman of New York City,* 

* Mrs. Solomon Loeb and the Hon. Jacob H. Schiff. The nurses 
■who have, with beautiful devotion, initiated the work, are Lillian D. 
Wald and Mary Maud Brewster. The scheme is an outgrowth of the 
" Louis Down Town Sabbath and Daily School." 

Mission Work. — Louis. 177 

but anticipates becoming a municipal institution. But 
the most strenuous efiForts to maintain cleanliness in 
these rookeries, where " the three D's, Dirt, Discomfort 
and Disease " hold high carnival, cannot be so eflfectual 
as the complete incineration of them. In a report of 
Sir Moses Montefiore, relative to his visit to the Holy 
Land in 1866 to apply the " Holy Land Relief Fund," 
he says: " It seems to have become the settled opinion 
of those to whom England would point as the men of 
the highest intellect, and the greatest experience and 
zeal in the cause of humanity, that the wisest scheme 
for being at the same time useful and charitable to the 
poor, is to be found in the erection, maintenance and 
improvement of dwelling-houses." As early as 1823, 
he " presented the synagogue with an estate of thirteen 
houses in Cock Court, Jewry street, on the condition 
that the rents arising during five years should form a 
repairing fund, and then the dwellings should be occu- 
pied by deserving poor." 

The progress, the redemption of man, in every sense, 
depend upon his education, the standard, self-conceived 
or inculcated, that he strives to attain; no " trolley " 
contrivance can accelerate it in its prescribed path; by 
slow degrees the ideas unfold, the objectionable is aban- 
doned, and the secure causeway laid for further advance. 
Education to-day is the main instrument of the mission- 
worker. The last annual report of the "Anglo-Jewish 
Association " contains the following: "Amid all the omi- 
nous sounds of ill-will against the Jews which fill the 
air at this latter end of the nineteenth century, there is 
one department of work which oflfers the best antidote 
to anti-semitism, viz., the education of Jewish children." 
The Jewish community of New York City is fully awake 
to this fact, as is testified by the existence of the follow- 
ing schools, all under charitable maintenance: 

178 Jewish Women's Congress. 

Evening classes of the " Young Men's Hebrew Asso- 

Evening classes of the " Young Women's Hebrew 

Evening classes of the " Friendly " and the " Pansey " 

" Hebrew Technical Institute," for boys. 

Industrial School of the United Hebrew Charities, for 

Kindergartens and Industrial Schools of the Hebrew 
Free School Association, for boys and girls. 

Kindergarten and Industrial School of the " Bikur 
Cholim " Society, for girls. 

Kindergartens of the five Sisterhoods of Personal Ser- 

Kindergarten of the " Shearith Israel " Congregation. 

" lyouis Down Town Sabbath and Daily Technical 
School," for girls. 

Mrs. Ehrich's kindergarten in Allen street. 

Miss Opper's Russian night school, for boys. 

Preparatory English Classes, and Evening and Trade 
Schools of the " Baron de Hirsch Fund " Committee. 

The majority of these efforts is directed to the Tenth 

The most recently adopted methods for those above 
fourteen years of age are weekly entertainments given 
by ladies and gentlemen of culture, and weekly instruct- 
ive lectures on the history and government of the United 
States, which the " Hebrew Institute " — the representa- 
tive building of the " Hebrew Free School Association," 
the "Aguilar Free Library," and the " Young Men's 
Hebrew Association " — provided during the past year; 
and loan exhibitions of fine art, which the " University 
Settlement " presented. These are commendable, but 
they will fail in their purpose, if the people who are to 

Mission Work— Louis. 179 

profit by tliem are to be continually relegated to tbeir 
original surroundings. Their foreign language and cus- 
toms are their most flagrant offenses here, and as long as 
they are permitted to transplant their section of Poland, 
Russia, or Roumania to a certain area on this soil, it is 
still the old country, though ostensibly America. Envi- 
ronment is the first educator; and until the legions of 
the Tenth Ward can be decimated by distribution 
throughout the city or elsewhere, where their character- 
istics can become modified by other environment, much 
of educational effort amongst them will be unresponsive. 
The " Baron de Hirsch Fund Committee," the " United 
Hebrew Charities," and the " Volunteer Corps of Friendly 
Visitors to the Tenth Ward," essay to transport them, 
the first two to the colonies in New Jersey and Connecti- 
cut and to other parts of the United States; the latter 
society only to the upper parts of the city. But the 
little thinning out they can do is infinitesimal. Larger 
organization is necessary. The status of this newly 
released community here is analogous to that of the 
returned captives from Babylonia to Judaea; and even at 
this remote date, the sagacious action of Nehemiah in 
dividing the area apportioned to them into small dis- 
tricts, and in placing over each a worthy, able and con- 
scientious officer to maintain order and manage their 
affairs, is most suggestive. Can we not think that sim- 
ilar precautions might have averted the recent outbreaks 
among our unemployed, easily inflamed brethren, to 
whom liberty is so new that they do not yet know how 
to handle it ? 

To return to the educational processes. Where the 
tendency is largely toward entertainment specially pro- 
vided, it is apt to engender a pruriency for culture that 
can, with circumscribed opportunities, be gratified by 
only an imitation of it. Mr. Ruskin says: " Sure good 

i8o Jewish Women's Congress. 

is first in feeding people, then in dressing people, then 
in lodging people, and lastly in rightly pleasing people, 
with arts, or sciences, or any other subject of thought." 
He says further, if every effort were made " to enforce 
the organization of vast activities in agriculture and 
commerce, for the production of the wholesomest food, 
and the proper storing and distribution of it, so that no 
starving shall any more be possible among civilized 
beings," .... if every means were trie^ whereby " the 
children within your sphere of influence shall no more 
be brought up with careless habits of person and dress," 
.... if every effort were made to obtain "vigorous 
legislation and cutting down of vested interests that 
stand in the way of proper lodgment," and this pursued 
" till we are breathless, every day, all the fine arts will 
healthily follow. . . . And out of such exertion in plain 
duty, all other good will come; you will find nearly 
every educational problem solved, as soon as you truly 
want to do something." 

Several years of personal knowledge, and concentra- 
tion of thought on the subject of improving the intel- 
lectual condition of our unenlightened Jews have not 
yet privileged me to affix to the problem, quod erat dem- 
onstrandum. Every girl who has caught the infection 
of culture from the grand dames who cater to her amuse- 
ment rather disdains plain, homely labor ; she aspires to 
nothing less than to be a stenographer or a school teacher. 
It requires at least four generations of culture to mold 
the teachers who are to give proper direction to the soul- 
growth of our young; and certainly the phraseology 
requisite for a competent stenographer is dependent on 
the facile use of correct language, which is acquired as 
much through association as study; this unfitness, 
although disclaimed, makes the poor Jewish girl a type 
of unskilled labor. Of course, there are gratifying and 

Mission Work — Louis. i8i 

noble exceptions to this rule; but I think it is timely to 
direct the attention of the mission-worker to the inor- 
dinate and incongruous aspiration of the young through 
following many of the present methods. Mr. Zangwill 
says: " People who have been living in a Ghetto for a 
couple of centuries, are not able to step outside merely 
because the gates are thrown down, nor to efface the 
brands on their souls by putting off the yellow badges." 
The reaction from the long isolation is visible in every 
degree of push and ostentation, and is a phase of the 
injury so long endured, and must be judiciously treated 
by the mission-worker. 

In contradistinction to the indiscretion of elevating 
the unenlightened Jews too suddenly into an unaccus- 
tomed atmosphere of culture — Moses kept them in the 
wilderness till the older generations had entirely passed 
away — there is the danger of unwittingly aiding them 
to keep in the depths of degrading pauperism. Mr. 
Zangwill says again, in his proem to " The Children of 
the Ghetto:" " The beggar felt no false shame in his beg- 
ging. He knew it was the rich man's duty to give him 
unleavened bread on Passover, and coals in winter, and 
odd half-croAvns at all seasons; and he regarded himself 
as the Jacob's ladder by which the rich man mounted to 
Paradise." This class is not yet extinct; it flourishes in 
the Tenth Ward of New York City, its pathetic woes 
ever intensified by increasing numbers. The fathers 
seldom make the appeal; the peddler's box or the push • 
cart withholds their dignity from such humiliation; but 
the wives and the children are faithful and energetic 
ambassadors, whose smiles and tears are ready accesso- 
ries to their pleading. 

In accordance with the growing method of the scien- 
tific application of relief, which precludes response to 
an appeal before official investigation has been made, we 

i82 Jewish Women's Congress. 

are teaching ourselves to deliberate, inducing a scepticism 
of declared wants that is usually unjust. Very recently, 
during the struggle for existence occasioned by the 
present paralysis of labor, a Jewish woman in the Tenth 
Ward, who for two days was without food, each day 
placed her cooking vessels filled with only water on 
her oil stove, to induce the belief that she was pre- 
paring her customary meals. And yet various newspa- 
per reporters, even Jewish male investigators, could 
find no case of starvation. One of the trained nurses 
discovered this one. We were taught by our pious 
Jewish mothers, " Cast thy bread upon the waters," and 
they felt sure that none but the hungry would reach out 
for it. 

It is true that the ceaseless cry for help demands sys- 
tematic dispensing of charity to avoid confusion and 
error. But there should be no opportunity to beg. " If 
there be among you a poor man of any of thy brethren, 
within any of thy gates in thy land which the Lord thy 
God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thy heart, nor 
shut thine hand from thy poor brother. But thou shalt 
open thy hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him 
sufiicient for his need, in that which he wanteth." Our 
bureaus of relief for any kind of assistance, monetary or 
otherwise, should be abrogated, and superseded by Co- 
operative Loan Associations, based and conducted on 
the strictest business principles, their benefits accessible 
to all, the charges not to exceed, but rather to fall under 
the legal rate of interest. This would be the surest 
means to extirpate beggary, yet help a man in his direst 
need, in a manly way. Such a project is not at all 
chimerical, as the great " Monts-de-pi^t^ " in many cities 
of Europe testify; and if our men think it too lillipu- 
tian for their, consideration, I would suggest that our 
women ponder it, and develop it. Whoever has been 

Mission Work — I<ouis. 183 

besieged by the poor mothers whose families are 
shuddering under the Damocles' sword of impending 
destitution that sickness or non-employment of their 
breadwinners holds over them, will properly estimate 
the necessity for some honorable means to avert the 
danger. Certain it is, our present methods are neither 
adequate nor just. We put humanity at a discount, 
and then wonder that it becomes depreciated. 

But what we want most to do for the material relief 
of our poor is to busy ourselves with the proper adjust- 
ments of labor and capital, the regulation of schools to 
the equal development of brain and handicraft, and the 
compulsory attendance of every eligible pupil, which 
must all be effected through legislative action. And we 
want for this, legions of mission-workers who can appre- 
ciate these needs from personal knowledge of the condi- 
tions, and who will not stop till they have razed the 
obstructions to equal opportunity, which opens the gate 
to all true progress. 

We expect, in the hoped for influence of our most 
approved philanthropy, to see our unenlightened brethren 
speedily divest themselves of their persecution-pampered 
ways, and appear in the pleasing garb of amenity to all 
the leading demands of our present culture; we do find 
our foreign unenlightened brethren all too soon becom- 
ing Americanized, but in ways we did not calculate 
upon. We find them entering our prisons to such an 
extent that necessity has arisen for the latest organiza- 
tion, the " Society for the Aid of Jewish Prisoners." 
" This fact hath raised up from their thrones all the 
kings of the nations; they say unto thee. Art thou also 
become weak as we ? Art thou become like unto us ? " 

We do not want so much to Americanize them as to 
Judaize them, or rather to help them to know their Juda- 
ism. But who amongst us are the enlightened ones to go 

i84 Jewish Women's Congress. 

down to teach them? Are the unenlightened only 
amongst the poor ? And are all the poor unenlightened ? 
Mr. Jacob A. Riis tells us in his " Children of the Poor: " 
" It happened once that I came in on a Friday evening 
at the breaking of bread, just as the four candles on the 
table had been lit, with the Sabbath blessing upon the 
home and all it sheltered. Their light fell on little else 
than empty plates and anxious faces; but in the patri- 
archal host who arose, and bade the guest welcome with 
a dignity a king might have envied, I recognized with 
difhculty the humble peddler I had known only from 
the street." In what of real worth are we wiser or better 
than they ? We glorify the Jew while we almost aban- 
don Judaism. Like Solomon and Hezekiah, we boast- 
fully show our treasures to the world, scarcely guarding 
the stronghold. We point to Moses as the world's purest 
type of intellectual and moral grandeur, and yet too 
many of us deride the work wherein his grandeur lay; 
we even presume to say that his wonderful code, except 
the ten commandments, was only for the time in which 
he lived. Who can disprove that the Sabbatical year 
was the most far-seeing scheme of humanity that ever 
occurred to mortal ? Do we know whether if, in the 
seventh year, the needy were entitled to all the over- 
plus in the fields and from every harvest, poverty and 
discontent would not be reduced to a minimum ? We 
imitate others, and we do not know what powers are 
in ourselves, and how we may still show mankind the 
way to happiness. Why shall we not now awe them, 
and weaken their hands, raised against us, by the over- 
powering glory of our righteousness, which we must 
derive from our Law ? By our rapid heart-throbs when 
we hear the Jew spoken of, in praise or censure, by the 
quickening current of intelligence that flashes through 
our brain when we hear our God spoken of, by the calm 

Mission Work — Louis. 185 

mastery that possesses us when we hear of worldly 
strifes, and by the glad response in our soul when we 
hear of the promised universal brotherhood, we feel that 
we have been chosen to guide God's ark of truth 
through the shoals of human error; though too often 
with such unreverential Uzzah hands that we have been 
smitten down beside it. Our survival is a marvel to 
man; do we not recognize the will of the Almighty in 
it ? If we were not doomed to perish with the buried 
nations who have been contemporaneous with us, we 
must have something to do in the world. Why are we 
here to-day, strong as ever in our physical and mental 
strength, our individuality not eliminated ? Surely we 
have a trust; yes, we have the grandest mission ever 
conceived: " I the Lord have called thee in righteous- 
ness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and 
give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the 
Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prison- 
ers from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of 
the prison-house." But before we can lead other peoples 
to the pure hill of the Lord, we must ourselves be pure; 
before we go down to purge the infected quarters, we 
must first cleanse ourselves. We must put away the 
stranger's gods — pomp and luxury — that have defiled 
our sanctuary. Even the " princes of the captivity," 
those men whose wisdom is an inextinguishable splendor, 
indulged in the vanities of wealth; and though " absorbed 
in the task of upholding the Law and Jewish life," took 
no heed of the Jewish peasants, who drifted into a 
neglected mental and moral state. Professor Graetz 
says: "Thus left to themselves and cut off from the 
higher classes and from all share in communal life, 
without a leader or adviser, the peasants easily fell under 
the influence of young Christianity." And when we 
see to-day Christian missions springing up among our 

1 86 Jewish Women's Congress. 

neglected Jews, we have no right to condemn them; it 
is we who deserve the condemnation for unfaithfulness 
to our duty. 

As the mountains pour down their floods irresistibly 
into the valleys, impregnating them with new, beauti- 
ful life and vigor, so, if we fill our souls from the foun- 
tains of Judaism, the spirit will overflow, and descend 
to the low-lying plains, to refresh and invigorate into 
new, beautiful life our wounded, weak, languishing 

You Jewish women of Chicago, all Israel honors you ! 
You have inaugurated a new mission of enlightenment ! 
Like unto Samuel, you have gathered us together to 
unite us, that we may gain strength, to arouse in us a 
thirst for better knowledge of our people and our trust, 
with a more loyal allegiance to both, through which we 
may become invested with that holiness that will make 
even our enemies wish to worship with us. 

Oh ! that every voice here might become a prophet's 
voice to urge us on to the redeeming shore ! And every 
daughter of Israel here become a Miriam to sing the 
song of triumph: — arrogance and ignorance, vanity and 
viciousness, unfaithfulness and undoing hath He thrown 
into the sea ! May each lead the forward march, under 
the cloud-pillar of life's duties and the fire-pillar of God's 
glory, into the promised land of peace, of plenty and of 



(^Discussion of the foregoing- paper. ) 

Rebekah Kohut, New York. 

The subject so ably treated by my friend, Mrs. Louis, 
happily fell to her lot, for I doubt whether a Jewess in 
this broad land can claim that pioneer knowledge and 
experience which undoubtedly belong to her, whose 
name is a household word in connection with educa- 
tional work, and who has rescued families upon fami- 
lies from darkness and despair. In our great city of 
New York, no practical question concerning the wel- 
fare of Judaism is of more vital importance than that of 
mission-work among the Jews. It will not be my aim 
to show what mission-work was among our people. 
Judaism is a stronghold of liberality and independence, 
in that each of us may worship our one and only God 
according to the belief that is within him, and yet 
belong to the grand old faith which inspired Moses to 
write down the laws of ethics and morality, which have 
maintained law and order among mankind up to the 
present date, — the most perfect code of laws conceived 
by the mind of man of all times and ages, past, present 
and future. The great every-day phrase, " we are not 
proselytizers," here changes into the paradox — Jtidaize 
unenlightened Jews. I feel quite sure that at the first 
view of the subject of our discussion, the question at once 
presents itself, " Unenlightened Jews ? " Our down- 
town brethren, of course. Friends, a twofold discussion 
is most necessary. There are two missions incumbent 
upon each of us. I plead for Judaism first. We must 


i88 jBwisH Women's Congress. 

Judaize the brother who, though refined, conscious of 
his duties toward man, has neglected his great and fore- 
most duty, the salvation of his own soul. It is our ear- 
nest and sacred duty, the duty of those of us who have 
been fortunate in having had parents who have instilled 
into us a love for our faith, to see that that faith shall 
not die, but shall live among the sons of men. Our first 
great need is within ourselves. We who believe, we 
who are possessed of that great stronghold, faith, who 
are happy in the consciousness that there is an ever- 
living, ever-loving one God, the God of our forefathers, 
must, by the contagious example of heroic self-sacrifice 
and toiling beneficence, inspire others, less tutored in 
the ancient creed, and not so susceptible to the heart- 
throbs of nineteenth century culture. 

To strike at the root of all existing evils lurking in 
the pursuit of genuine missionary work among the un- 
civilized denizens of the sequestered Ghettos, here and 
elsewhere, is possible only, allow me to make the start- 
ling avowal, by the extermination of corrupt theories and 
wrong preconceptions in the minds of refined aristo- 
crats, who lay claim to superior fineness, and this course 
only will pave the way for admitting those deluded 
and decried co-religionists not basking in the bright sun- 
gleam of refinement and elevation. " Sin crouch eth 
before the door," is applicable to patrician as well as 
plebeian life. The lord of the mansion, the purse-proud 
owner of palatial homes, the full-fledged aristocrat of 
fortune, disdains to recognize the duty of caring and 
nurturing his outcast brethren, whom the solace of kind- 
lier, humaner touch, the condolence of tenderer, less 
brutal persuasion, would mold into rare models of repre- 
sentative Jewish thought, Jewish feeling and endeavors. 

The Russian Jew is a pariah in the midst of his con- 
freres. Semitic anti-semitism is the bane of modem 

Mission Work— Kohut. 189 

Israel. The opulent members of society, fancying them- 
selves enshrouded in a pleasing halo of centred admira- 
tion and universal homage, haughtily lift their heads in 
the gentle zephyr of prosperity, and, for fear of contract- 
ing an inconvenient cold, take scrupulous care not to be 
xishered into the stiffly blowing gale of neglect and total 
abandon, where those whose hearts' blood is the law of 
antiquity, the sublime doctrines of the mother-creed of 
mankind, and who, above all surviving races, now amal- 
gamated with the jealous, ever-complaining world, pos- 
sess most eminently the traditional treasure, imparted to 
posterity by the lightning and thunder of Sinaic admo- 
nition. With our Russian brethren, those derided char- 
acters on the stage of life's thrilling drama, abides the 
imperishable impulse of all-permeating and time-tran- 
scending faith-lore — a faculty for trust, a gift for com- 
prehending in ethereal conception the import and 
sublimity of that written heritage which traveled far 
and wide, and crossed the darkest oceans of Israel's 
destiny upon the frailest bark of uncertain safety and 
restless quietude. 

In barbaric Russia, where the autocratic Torquemada 
of tyranny wields the sceptre of oppression with unre- 
mitting force, where clerical authority, enveloped in 
superstitious awe, is the most potent civilizing power of 
a modern nation, rescued from the tombs of antiquity, 
the chosen people demonstrated their allegiance to that 
time-honored standard, and remained to this day the 
readers of the Book. The Bible saved their intellect 
from the throes of benighted guile, the Bible requited a 
persecuted herd of nomads with the milk and honey of 
eternal memories for every momentary agony, for every 
fleeting pain. 

But the Bible is an ancient book. Its code of ethics is 
not necessarily congruous with modern ideas of conduct 

igo Jewish Women's Congress. 

and etiquette. The Jews, amid primitive surround- 
ings, devoid of polite arts and refining impetus, preserve 
intact the seeds of that old-time culture which needed 
but the fostering care and paternal guidance of a pro- 
phetic Moses. They lacked the redeeming Messiah of 
mercy, fraternity and tolerance to lead them forth out 
of the house of bondage into the Canaan of enlighten- 
ment, which has found its most glorious realization in 
the United States of America. 

Why harp on the deficiencies and glaring faults of 
these children of the Ghetto, who have but lately 
crossed the Red Sea of strife, and are as yet deeply 
intoxicated with the martial ring of victory? Why 
emphasize so unfeelingly the dearth of refinement, the 
lack of culture ? Who was there in holy Russia — God 
save the mark ! — ^to release them from the thralldom of 
uncouth manners or even the valley of sin ? None. 

And who are there to lend a helping, nay, a saving 
hand here ? 

The women of America ! The religiously enlightened 
matrons of our country, delivered from the oppressor's 
yoke, must dive into the depths of vice to spread culture 
and enlightenment among our semi-barbaric Russian 
immigrants, not insusceptible to the keen edge of the 
civilizers' art. With this prolegomena, let us go into 
medias res. 

Friends ! Let us now turn to that side of the question 
which, indeed, is the Gordian knot of our difficulties. 
I almost fear to touch it when I think how slight results 
are as compared with the tireless eflForts one must expend 
to attain them. I do not know whether your cities are 
the haven of so much abject and depraved poverty as 
we find in New York. I have lived in Baltimore and 
San Francisco, and can say, from experience, that from 
the very nature of things, one finds more depravity and 

Mission Work — Kohut. 191 

greater poverty in the larger city. This, I believe, is a 
self-evident fact. New York is the dumping ground of 
the Russian exile, and coming as he does from benighted 
Russia into the great Ghetto of America, the tempta- 
tions that are held out to the wanderer are very great. 
How often have I heard a mother bewail the downfall 
of a heretofore dutiful son or daughter ! How often 
found the deserted wife with children, or met the hus- 
band torn by the pangs of jealousy of the faithless 
spouse ! It is that great serpent which grows by what 
it feeds upon, which one finds living under the same 
roof with poverty — vice. The experience of our little 
band, called the Ahavath Chesed Sisterhood, shows that 
fully twenty-five per cent of the poor who appeal to us 
for aid are the unfortunate victims of desertion. O, my 
sisters ! ye who are the mothers of noble sons and fair 
daughters, ye who are the respected wives of true and 
noble men, think of the enduring torture that must 
come of poverty, wretched poverty and shame. When 
we take the history of one poor heart that has sinned 
and sufiFered, and represent to ourselves the struggles 
and temptations it passed through, the brief pulsations 
of joy, the tears of regret, the pangs of poverty, the 
scorn of the world, the feeble cry of the little one for 
the bread that is not there, health gone, hope gone, hap- 
piness gone, when we think of all this, can we sit by, 
idly by, unmoved ? No ! " Arise, for the day is calling, 
and you lie dreaming on." Put on your girdle of 
charity, light up your lamp of culture and refinement, 
and go forth into the hovel of your sister, who, without 
your help and encouragement, will be forever lost. 

Some months ago I was invited to a conference with 
Mrs. J. B. L/Owell, one of our most estimable women, 
and a member of the Charity Organization Society of 
New York City. Said she, " Have you no missionaries, 

192 Jewish Women's Congress. 

no King's Daughters among your people ? I visit 
your poor constantly, and have never yet met any of 
the better class Jewesses in the lower quarter of the 
city ! " The dart went straight home. I knew too 
well the truth of her statement. We Jewesses are not 
missionaries; we do not go into the camp of the lowly 
and oppressed; we await our sisters at our own doors. 
We do not hunt out the irreligious, and by precepts and 
suasion teach them how to live, show them how to die I 
It is by personal contact alone that we can be true mis- 
sionaries ! It is our duty to give, not only materially, 
but morally as well. We must seek our sister and show 
her the way. Inspire her with confidence in you that 
she may feel that in you she has found a friend ! This 
can be done only by entering her home and her home- 
life. And now that her door is open to you, and you 
may enter at will, gently but firmly teach her that 
cleanliness is next to godliness. Make her see that 
with a pure soul must be a clean body, and that religion 
not only means blind faith, but is the golden, luminous 
setting of that jewel called life. If we narrow the 
sources of internal comfort and internal enjoyment, we 
lose some of that treasure which God has given us as 
absolutely our own. Well, then, our next aim is not 
only to teach miorality, but cleanliness as well. Filth 
and dirt always accompany depravity. Poverty breeds 
much, and has much to answer for. Dr. Johnson says, 
"It is the peculiar misfortune of the afflicted poor that 
the very circumstance which increases their wants cuts 
off, by disqualifying for labor, the means of their sup- 
ply." Poor, at best, when seized by sickness, they 
become utterly destitute. 

When I undertook my first rounds among our poor, as 
a committee of the United Hebrew Charities, the first 
and greatest discouragement I encountered was the utter 

Mission Work — Kohut. 193 

lack of cleanliness which prevailed on all sides. When 
one thinks that the tenants must carry water up three 
flights of stairs, and there are always the proverbial 
large families to be provided with this article of luxury; 
and, furthermore, when we realize that poverty is not 
usually a great incentive, but rather dulls the senses, 
it is most natural that when want leads the way, vice 
follows, and dirt and disease come up in quick succes- 
sion. A few women, of whom I was one, formed 
themselves into a broom and pail brigade, and always 
making reasonable allowances in exceptional cases, we 
insist upon a clean home before giving material aid. 
And more than this, we either wait until house-cleaning 
is over, or call again in a few hours to convince ourselves 
that it has been done. Instilling habits of cleanliness 
promotes ideas of economy and exactness in the recipi- 
ent, awakens dormant ambitions, and instils a feeling of 
self-respect. It is, indeed, a privilege to give, but it is 
a greater privilege to see the beneficial results of our 
gifts. It has never been charged against our people 
that we do not take care of our poor, but it has been 
said, and I fear truthfully, that we do not raise them to 
the standard of an enlightened citizen. I^et us not 
despise the gifts which bring joy and health and comfort 
into the wretched hovel of the poor, but let us give not 
only liberally but intelligently, doing the greatest good 
for the greatest number. 

" Better the blessing of the poor, 
Though I turn me empty from his door: 
That is no true alms which the hand can hold; 
He gives nothing but worthless gold 
Who gives from a sense of duty; 
But he who gives a slender mite, 
And gives to that which is out of sight, 
That thread of the all-sustaining Beauty 
Which runs through all and doth all unite, 


194 Jewish Women's Congress. 

The hand cannot clasp the whole of his alms, 

The heart outstretches its eager palms, 

For a god goes with it and makes it store 

To the soul that was starving in darkness before." 

A writer has said: " Every degree of assistance is an 
act of charity; and there is scarcely any man in such a 
state of imbecility but that he may on some occasion 
benefit his neighbor." Our principle in giving should 
be, as far as possible, to help others to help themselves. 
This is real and effective charity. 

And now, having aided our less fortunate sister mor- 
ally and materially, let us grasp her by the hand, and 
show her that religion means, not only the chanting of 
prayers; it means the practice of goodness and virtue, 
the living of our faith in our contact with our neighbor. 
We must not be clannish and narrow-minded. Down 
with the wall that divides us from our Christian brother ! 
High up with the standard of Judaism in the other 
camp. Act in every sense of the word as American 
Jews. This is the great lesson we must teach. It is a 
glorious privilege to be a Jew, but it is also glorious to 
be an American, and we must appreciate those privi- 
leges by acting up to them in the fullest sense of the 
word. Refined, chaste, quiet in our manners and dress, 
we must adopt the vernacular of this blessed free coun- 
try, and perfect ourselves in it. No foreign tongue, no 
jargon ! We are Israelites, but we are Americans as 
well. The educational aspect of the question presents 
manifold difficulties, but one with which, I think, we 
can cope, if we grasp at the root — the children. Save 
them from other missionaries by doing mission-work 
yourselves. Form Hebrew free kindergartens, free 
classes for older children, free Sabbath Schools, free 
sewing and reading classes, free working girls' clubs, 
and reading and religious classes for boys and men, and 

Mission Work — Kohut. 195 

mothers' meetings. It shall not be my aim to go into 
the detail workings of these classes. Suf&ce it to say, 
" Let us each be up and doing." Not all do one thing, 
nor one everything. The great lesson of the day is, 
" division of labor." l^et us each be a friendly visitor, 
doing the little we can, inspiring others to do a little 
too, thereby adding to the glory of Judaism, and placing 
one more stone upon the structure of our forefathers. 
Then shall the walls of bigotry and prejudice crumble 
and decay, and tolerance, liberality, enlightenment, 
peace and good will reign over all. 


Laura Davis Jacobson, St. Louis, Mo, 

The consideration of abstract principles becomes of 
vital interest when necessity of application emphasizes 
their importance. If this be so, then the theories, by 
means of which the present question must be answered, 
should receive eager investigation; for the piteous cry 
that assails our ears from across the ocean is neither an 
echo of the past nor the faint muttering of a possible 
future; it is the agonized wail of the living present. 
It is because Russia dares offer a living illustration of 
barbarous persecution that the possible intervention of 
nations has become a question of burning importance. 
It is because millions of innocent human beings are 
daily deprived of the merest rights of living; because 
a nineteenth century government acquiesces in, yes, 
encourages the torture that rends heart-strings asunder;, 
because piercing the dawn of universal justice comes 
the quivering wail of a heavily-yoked people, burdened 
not only with the load of unjust laws, but harried and 
stung by an inconceivable swarm of illegal cruelties; 
for the reason that this persecution is present now, a 
breathing monstrosity menacing civilization, the world 
feels the imperative demand of an answer to our ques- 
tion. It is no abstract problem with which we have to 
deal, but one that has the exigencies of a present situa- 
tion for its factors. The question demanding a speedy 


Protests Against Persecution. — ^Jacobson. 197 

reply, the question that is the present, clamorous phase 
of the general proposition, the crystallized, material 
form in which the theoretic problem is presented to our 
generation, that for which we are really seeking an 
answer to-day is, "How can nations be influenced to 
protest or interfere in the Russian persecution of the 
Jews ? " 

The right to interfere must be plainly demonstrated, 
ere nations can be spurred to action. No such serious 
move can be contemplated, for a moment, until that is 
firmly established. Are we justified, will be the first 
question. Is the call urgent, the second. Before pro- 
test or interference can have a justification, it is neces- 
sary to study Russia's methods in her treatment of the 
Jews, to examine her reasons for the persecution and to 
decide whether those reasons are either valid or suf- 
ficient. To Russia can undoubtedly be given the ques- 
tionable distinction of producing the most outrageous 
conditions by which one set of human beings may wan- 
tonly harass another. To rehearse the refinements of 
cruelty perpetrated would require volumes. Yet excuses 
are advanced, so palpably absurd, that the most cursory 
investigation discovers their futility. Those complaints 
that can claim the slightest vesture of truth gather sub- 
stance from faults that the Russian has forced upon the 
Jew through centuries of prohibitive legislation and 
illegal hounding. " All Jews," says Russian law, "are 
aliens. " It is an historic fact that Jews were settled 
along the Volga, Don and Dnieper, centuries before 
Rurik founded the first Russian dynasty, since which 
time they have been obedient subjects, supporting the 
crown by the payment of heavy taxes, and fighting, 
when need called, for the country they named home. 
It is true, a vast number of Jews became Russian sub- 
jects through the spoliation of Poland. But if they are 

igS Jewish Women's Congress. 

classed as aliens, all Poles are entitled to the same dis- 
tinction, as well as the natives of many other bits of 
land that Russia has succeeded in grasping. " The 
Jews form a hostile State within a State," says Madame 
Ragozin. Emma I/azarus pointed her reply by recalling 
the injunction of Jeremiah, " And seek the welfare of 
the city whither I have banished you, and pray in its 
behalf unto the I^ord, for in its welfare shall ye fare 
well." All students of history know that the Jew has 
always loved, and served the land in which he was 
allowed to dwell. When Napoleon called the famous 
Sanhedrin, one of its first declarations was that the law 
of the State was binding upon the Jews of the State. 
It also absolved Jews on the battle-field from the cere- 
monial observance of their religion that they might be 
unhampered in their service. Even in Russia, Nicholas 
declared that his Jewish subjects fought like veritable 
Maccabees, and it is known that when Alexander I. 
called upon them to fight against the invader, they 
responded heartily. Yet libel says that they are hostile 
to the State. 

" But the Jew is not an agriculturist," cries his perse- 
cutor. He cultivated the soil successfully in Poland, 
where laws were moderately lenient. In Russia he can 
neither own nor lease land. Small wonder that he does 
not care to till it. By the infamous May-laws the Jews, 
even within the Pale, the fifteen provinces in which 
they are permitted to exist, were driven into the towns. 
Yet the hue and cry goes up that the Jew is not an 

"The Jew is a middleman" is another complaint 
brought to his door. He is not allowed rank in the 
army, he is limited almost to the extreme in the acquisi- 
tion of a profession, successful farming is rendered next 
to impossible, numerous branches of artisanship are 

Protests Against Persecution— Jacobson. 199 

closed in his face. He must earn a livelihood; what 
would you have him be? And this occupation of middle- 
man, viewed by other than Russian eyes, is not the un- 
mixed evil some would have us believe. In a country as 
large as Russia, where transportation is difficult, middle- 
men are a necessity. Harold Frederic says that the aw- 
ful famine in '91 and '9a was largely due to the lack 
of Jewish middlemen, who usually buy the grain as it 
stands, and advance money for reaping implements. 
Whole acres of crops, he says, rotted ungathered in the 

We are told that the Jew is a usurer; that he battens 
on his Christian neighbor. Lanin says that the same 
economic abuse exists in provinces in Russia in which 
the Jew never sets foot. Complaints against malefactors 
of the orthodox Greek Church are rarely heard, for the 
reason that their voicing would be futile, while the Jew 
is easily brought to punishment. 

Claims are made that he evades military duty. Sta- 
tistics answer that the Jews constitute 3.95 per cent of 
the population of European Russia; yet the average 
proportion of Jewish soldiers for the last twelve years 
has been 5.97 per cent. That he is not an enthusiastic 
soldier needs no comment when it is remembered that 
he cannot rise from the ranks. 

It is said that the present administration regards the 
Jews as advocates of Nihilism. This amazing conclusion 
was reached because, among the many persons implicated 
in the assassination of Alexander II., were three people 
of Jewish birth, one of whom was a Freethinker, 
another an apostate, and the third a Jew. All three 
were Nihilists, because they were Russians opposing the 
government, not because they were Jews. 

But, they say, the Jew exploits the peasant Yet, 
strange anomaly, the account of the Peasant Land Bank 

200 jBwiSH Women's Congress. 

shows the peasants of the fifteen provinces of the Pale 
to be more prosperous than in districts minus Jews. If 
any exploiting is done it appears to be accomplished 

The offences gravely laid to their charge by an intelli- 
gent Russian statesman in one of the Russian papers — 
the evils of quick wit, longevity, fecundity, industry, 
perseverance, and sobriety — these indeed must be admit- 
ted. Except these final, sensible (?) objections, all the 
charges, the miasmal exhalations of Russian hate, are 
dispelled by the first inquiring ray of reason. Yet 
these are offered as adequate vindication of the cruelty 
that taxes the Jews doubly, that denies them land, that 
brands them as pariahs, and herds them in a lazar house, 
no other Russian save those of the criminal class being 
thus restricted in residence. These excuses are offered 
as reasons why, with a minimum of exceptions, they 
should be prohibited an education. 

These are the bulwarks by which Russia would defend 
the May laws and innumerable, flagrantly unjust ordi- 
nances. And as to the illegal cruelties consistently 
winked at by the government, nothing, not even the 
truth of all the charges, could excuse them. The hor- 
rors of Mr. Kennan's pictures of Siberia would be fully 
equaled by the volumes that would relate the sufferings 
induced by this persecution. The flimsy foundation of 
justification falls crushed to atoms beneath the weight 
of facts. 

Yet, before international interference can receive the 
sanction of justice, the question, " Can hope for the 
rectification of this outrage be looked for from within 
Russia itself?" must be asked. Russia is a despotic 
monarchy, her masses are kept in dense ignorance, and 
their prejudices and superstitions are fostered, the press 
is manacled, and public expression of adverse opinion is 

Protests Against Persecution — Jacobson. 201 

reported and punished with the vigilance that character- 
ized Venice of the Middle Ages. The peasantry of 
Russia, who compose eighty-five per cent of the popula- 
tion, are uneducated and superstitious. Their extreme 
aversion to labor and fondness for vodka have reduced 
them to the direst poverty. The Jew, active, alert, 
abstemious and untiring, thrives in the light of the 
slightest opportunity. Therefore the peasant needs but 
a hint from authority to cry out, " Give him no opportu- 
nity, as it is he that takes the bread from our mouths. 
Let us kill him." With such a leader in the highest 
court circles, under the guidance of Pobiednostsev, who 
is the real Czar, a bigoted fanatic, and a Torquemada of 
the nineteenth century, it is not surprising that the 
peasant, who is a blind follower, should hate the Jew as 
an unbeliever and the cause of all his troubles. 

No change will take place there unless the official 
attitude is altered, education made general, and liberality 
supersedes bigotry. The rigid supervision over the 
press makes these things unlikely. A number of broad- 
minded editors have disappeared in the wastes of Siberia 
for public disagreement with government methods. 
What may we expect from the council of Russian rabbis 
to be called this autumn in St. Petersburg, when liberal 
Russian believers are forbidden freedom of expression ? 
What can we hope when rumors ai'e rife that new atroci- 
ties are to be perpetrated ? The Russians are notorious 
as liars. Before the May laws were put into operation, 
floating suggestions of them reached the world, and 
aroused indignation. The Russian government denied 
even the thought of issuing such decrees. Shortly after 
they came like a thunderclap. Is it not likely that this 
council is to serve as a blind on this occasion ? Even 
petitions of the mildest nature have been followed by 
disaster. It is known that in May, '91, in Moscow, an 

202 Jewish Women's Congress. 

old Jewish soldier presented a petition, most humbly 
worded, to the Czar, begging that those soldiers who 
had served full time, and whose homes were in Moscow, 
might be allowed to remain in that city. The petition 
remained unanswered; the petitioner mysteriously dis- 
appeared. Numerous like occurrences admonish the 
sanguine. The government pursues its course with the 
dogged persistency that always accompanies fanaticism. 
Indeed, no chink is left through which the wedge of the 
liberal few may force a breach. Hope from within is 

Unofficial protest has been expressed by almost every 
civilized nation, either through the medium of the press 
or of individuals. Russia is deaf. The celebrated pro- 
test drawn up at a meeting presided over by the Lord 
Mayor of lyondon, and sent to the Czar, received no 
answer. Others enjoyed a similar fate. Governments 
have at various times instructed their representatives to 
interpose in behalf of the Jews as far as they could do so 
in consistence with international relations. Their kindly 
intervention accomplished nothing. Representations 
and appeals have been sent to the Czar again and again. 
They were returned unread or regarded with scorn. 
The only official utterance that has broken the ominous 
silence came last February in an article by M. Botkine, 
Secretary of the Russian Legation at Washington. 
The weakness and bias of this defence are equal. Since 
that time no word has appeared. The sentiment of the 
civilized world, unsupported by official governmental 
protest, has produced little efiect except perhaps to 
increase the brutality of the persecution. 

Since, then, the world must pronounce these Russian 
persecutions inhuman, since improvement is not to be 
looked for from within Russia herself, and since enlight- 
ened petitions and remonstrances have proved ineffisctual, 

Protests Against Pbrsecution — Jacobson. 203 

nations may surely consider themselves amply justified in 
official interference. The broad basis of humanity is sufii- 
cient support of their right. Vattel, an eminent author- 
ity upon the " Law of Nations," says, " If persecution be 
carried to an intolerable excess, it becomes a case of 
manifest tyranny, in opposition to which all nations are 
allowed to assist an unhappy people." But another 
reason than the ethical furnishes adequate ground for 
international interference, and urges its expediency. 
Russia expels great masses of people in such a condition 
that nations, in protection of their own interests, hesitate 
to receive them. Although cleaner by far than other 
Russians of their class, these poor Jews are distantly 
removed from the ideaL The majority, as we have 
seen, are ignorant through compulsion. Russian injus- 
tice has pauperized them. Even those who, despite all 
obstacles, have enjoyed comparative comfort in Russia, 
have been rendered penniless through official robbery 
and the cruelty that commanded them to quit their 
homes upon such notice that household effects had to be 
sacrificed for a trifle. Poverty-stricken and helpless, 
unacquainted with the language and the mode of 
thought of Western Europe and America, foreign to our 
habits, thoroughly Russian, except that they are admit- 
tedly superior to other Russians of their class, they come 
in immense numbers, willing to work for a trifle, and 
dependent very largely on charity. The industrial 
army, even in these spacious United States, gives them 
a most grudging welcome. The European labor mar- 
ket is so crowded, and remuneration so low, that any 
addition of cheap labor would result most disastrously. 
Russia is indifferent. Her policy is to make the life of 
the Jew unbearable in Russia; her law draws its fatal 
net around hundreds of thousands of these, her subjects, 
who are compelled to flee en masse from its entangling 

204 Jewish Women's Congress. 

meshes. Now it is a well-recognized principle of inter- 
national law that nations may rightfully oppose the 
action of any nation that may be a source of disadvan- 
tage to themselves. The two causes, humanity and self- 
protection, are certainly present to give nations the 
right in this and like cases, to protest and interfere. 

Demonstration having plainly shown the justification 
of such a course on the part of the united powers, it 
remains to be seen whether these causes are cogent 
enough to influence them to act upon their right in the 
case under consideration. Nations must move with 
caution, their first duty being the welfare of their own 
subjects. Fear of provoking hostility and its possible 
evils acts as a powerful restraint upon impulse. Official 
protests, to have due force, must be backed by cannon, 
or supported by commercial action. Such measures are 
extreme, and a natural hesitation precedes their employ- 
ment; yet nations have, upon several occasions, been 
impelled by the mighty power of public opinion and 
sympathy to array themselves on the side of justice, and 
to fight for those principles upon whose observance civ- 
ilization, progress and safety rest. Servia and Bulgaria 
were dealt with by treaty. Among the other conditions 
stipulated was one demanding more humane treatment 
of the Jews and the abrogation of many of the restric- 
tions under whose disadvantages they were laboring. 
The two principalities depended for their recognition by 
the powers of Europe upon their assent to these just 
demands. It is true, the countries in question were the 
more easily persuaded to justice, because they were weak 
in military power. But another precedent of interna- 
tional interference in the cause of liberty, though not in 
behalf of the Jews, interference with a country strong 
in her army, will be recalled in the struggle of the 
Greeks against Turkey. In England and France, public 

Protests Against Persecution — Jacobson. 205 

sentiment ran sufficiently liigli to induce those govern- 
ments to send men-of-war to practically illustrate the 
sympathy they felt. Russia, perhaps from a complexity 
of motives, also gave her aid. Cannon backed protest, 
and supported interference. International law, as inter- 
preted by the well-known authority, Mr. Wheaton, 
approved the interference, upon the ground that " The 
general interests of humanity are infringed by the 
excesses of a barbaric and despotic government. " Are 
we less wise and humane than our fathers in the child- 
hood of the century ? Is it impossible for us to be 
stirred to action by a noble indignation? After every 
persuasive measure has been uselessly urged, if Russia 
continues to close her ears to reason and justice, will not 
nations be influenced by the ties of a common humanity 
to answer the cries of the six millions of people whom 
the Czar so recklessly crushes? Civilization should 
blush to give any reply save one. When to that appeal 
for aid, motives of self-protection are added, the neces- 
sity of intervention gains force. European labor, as has 
been shown, has just cause for alarm. Europe bids the 
exiles a hasty adieu, and eagerly hastens their journey 
to the United States. Suppose, under the strict enforce- 
ment of our pauper immigration law, three-fourths of 
these people were refused entrance at our ports ? The 
steamers would hesitate to take the risk of carrying 
them from fear of being obliged to give a return pas- 
sage. Europe would then be forced to maintain them, 
expel them, or refuse them entrance. The first she 
cannot do; the second would be expensive, trouble- 
some and cruel; the last course would cause these poor 
wretches to die in hordes at her very door. She would 
be left only this choice, murdering the interests of her 
own people, annihilating the very existence of millions 
of refugees or taking measures to see that Russia 

2o6 Jewish Women's Congress. 

rendered life bearable to her subjects. Is the decision 
doubtful ? 

The course of the United States is equally plain. Our 
country is large, our labor unions are strong, yet constant 
murmurs are heard against these helpless intruders. Such 
numbers of indigent people willing to work for any wage 
to keep body and soul together are a menace to the work- 
ing classes, at least, until such time when they shall have 
learned to insist upon the highest market value for their 
labor. Meanwhile, provision must be made for them by 
charity, and the best interests of our own wage-workers 
are being sacrificed. Since between five and six millions 
of Jews are still in Russia, as each year witnesses new 
persecutions, and consequently brings its hundred thou- 
sand of beneficiaries to our shores, this condition of affairs 
is apt to continue for years. The menace will become a 
chronic evil, the appeal, a constant drain. If the com- 
paratively few have cost such expenditures in charity, 
and are the source of increasing dissatisfaction to the 
working classes, what may we expect, when the other 
millions are thrust upon us, equally ignorant, helpless 
and poverty-stricken ? There is no reason why we should 
suffer the disastrous results of another nation's wrong- 
doing, when that nation can be compelled to rectify her 

The wage-workers whose interests are infringed are 
beginning to see this, and their complaints are becoming 
louder. They are the power in every free country 
where public opinion frames and interprets the laws. 
Their growing dissatisfaction will influence nations to 
interfere, as a self-protective measure, with Russia's 
wholesale exile of the Jews, and to insist that she shall 
maintain a more reasonable attitude toward those mem- 
bers of her empire, so that they may at least fit them- 
selves for emigration. Self-protection and humanity. 

Protests Against Persecution — Jacobson. 207 

therefore, urge nations with the ringing call of trumpets 
to unite in official interference. 

But, says M. Anatole Leroy-Beaulieu, " Russia is strong; 
Europe's protest to have force must be united; united 
Europe under existing political conditions is impossible." 
He claims that France looks to Russia as an ally in case 
of an attack from Germany, and that, much as she de- 
plores Russia's conduct, she will do nothing officially 
that might alienate her, Germany will not dissipate 
her forces, when she knows that France is only waiting 
for a sign of weakness to precipitate a war. 

Presuming that this is true, are France and Germany 
necessary to a successful interference? France would 
most likely remain neutral, if extreme measures were 
reached. Germany has no love for Russia, and even if 
other reasons did not press, would refuse to aid the friend 
of France. The other European powers, in conjunction 
with the United States, could easily intimidate Russia, 
if she were unaided by these great military nations. 
And should the improbable occur, if either one of these 
countries could be persuaded to aid Russia, the other 
would, from motives of long-fostered hatred, ally itself 
with the opposing forces. M. Beaulieu's apparent obsta- 
cles have not sufficient substance to cast a shadow. Fear 
of failure, therefore, need not prove a deterrent. The 
certainty of ultimate success, which always acts as an 
impetus, can, in this case, be assured. But such harsh 
measures are likely to prove entirely unnecessary. Rus- 
sia, convinced that the civilized world is intensely in 
earnest in its protest, will become more amenable to 
reason. Firmly convinced that a more tangible support 
than mere words will be given, if necessary, to just 
demands, she will yield to the inevitable, and it will be 
possible to negotiate by means of a treaty. An inter- 
national congress to consider the amelioration of the 

2o8 Jewish Women's Congress. 

condition of the persecuted in Russia could be convened, 
to which Russia would be invited to send her represent- 
ative. Arrangements could then be made whereby this 
evil that touches both the persecuted and the world at 
large could be mitigated. To the conditions agreed 
upon by this convention, the Czar should be firmly held. 
Is it the dream of an idealist to expect nations to endeavor 
to right a great wrong ? If so, then the civil war in which 
thousands of men fought for the liberation of the negro 
from slavery was a myth. True, that was a national, 
not an international correction of an evil. Be it to our 
everlasting glory that we did not wait for outside press- 
ure, but from the highest of motives undid our own 
error. It proved at least that the pulsations of a divine 
sympathy can rouse the soul to fight in behalf of the 
unjustly oppressed. If international interference be a 
dream, then the aid that Greece received was a chimera. 
If nations cannot be stirred to righteous action, civiliza- 
tion is a farce, and the Russian AcksakofiF was right, 
when he said that our boasted progress is but deteriora- 

But history assures us that nations can be stirred, and 
that these things were positive realities. It tells us that 
great thinkers have swayed the public mind through the 
press. We know that Horace Greeley and Thurlow Weed 
aroused the heart of a nation ; that I^owell, Whittier and 
Mrs. Stowe moved thousands to tears and action. We 
know that in England the eloquence of a Macaulay, a 
Fox, a Pitt, and a Brougham, drew 97,000,000 dollars 
from the British treasury' to blot out the shame of slavery. 
Records relate that English and French statesmen cham- 
pioned the cause of Greek liberty in their houses of 
government, that fervent addresses, in behalf of justice, 
rang from the lecture platform to be echoed by the masses 
with ever-increasing volume, that a nation and that 

Protests Against Persecution — ^Jacobson. 209 

nations have been influenced in these ways to champion 
the cause of the distressed. What has been done, can 
be done again. Mighty, noble work has been given to 
our generation. I^et those whose interest is moved, the 
philanthropist, the humanitarian, the statesman, the 
wage- worker, and the simple lover of justice, form socie- 
ties throughout the world. Their individual work should 
be based on carefully prepared plans agreed upon by 
chosen representatives, who will meet, or communicate, 
at stated intervals to report progress and consider further 
measures. Let them procure statistics and reports for 
publication. Let them persistently and untiringly appeal 
to the self-interests and the human sympathy of the peo- 
ple by all the arts known to man. Let them gather 
their resources of finance, of eloquence, and of power 
that they may employ every channel of communication 
to gain public attention and enlighten public thought, 
A part of their work will be to see that their members 
are sent to Congress, to Parliament, to the Chamber of 
Deputies, the Reichstag, and to all the bodies that decide 
the course of nations. They can arouse the voice of 
labor to vote for those men who will sway the delibera- 
tions of legislators to a proper consideration of its inter- 
ests. Through the efforts of these societies, composed 
as they will be of the brightest and most liberal minds 
of the world, let popular literature, the monthly maga- 
zine, the rostrum, and above all the daily press be used 
in the service of the humanitarian and the patriot, and 
the policy of nations will surely be influenced to a right- 
eous interference with wanton cruelty, a humane defense 
of the persecuted and a just protection of their own 
citizens. Then shall justice arise glorified in the dawn 
of the new century, and vindicate, even for the lowliest 
among the children of men, the equal rights of men. 





(^Discussion of the foregoing paper.) 

IviiviviE HiRSHFiELD, New York. 

In our righteous indignation at the ruthless oppres- 
sion of the Jews in Russia, in our heightened sympathy 
for the persecuted, and in our burning desire to lighten 
their burdens, we must not allow ourselves to be swept 
beyond the confines of common sense. Because this 
question is one of such vital importance, we must not 
permit our feelings to usurp our reason. Emotions may 
excite to action, but action itself must be ruled by 
sound, practical judgment, if it is to have adequate and 
lasting results. This question of international protest 
or interference in behalf of the oppressed subjects of 
another nation is one of the utmost delicacy. 

At the very outset, it clashes with that most precious 
possession of nations, their sovereignty, their right to 
be governed as they see fit, which right all other nations 
are bound to scrupulously respect. On this topic of 
sovereignty, Vattel says, " Every nation is mistress of 
her own actions. The sovereign is he to whom the 
nation has trusted the empire and the care of the gov- 
ernment; it has invested him with its rights; it alone is 
directly interested in the manner in which the con- 
ductor it has chosen makes use of his power. 

" It does not, then, belong to any foreign power to 
take cognizance of the administration of this sovereign, 


Protests Against Persecution — Hirshfield. 211 

to set itself up as a judge of his conduct, and to oblige 
him to alter it. If he loads his subjects with taxes, and 
if he treats them with severity, it is a national affair; 
and no other is called upon to redress it, or to oblige 
him to follow more wise and equitable maxims." 

Hence, the underlying principle of international law, 
according to all authorities, is non-intervention in a 
nation's domestic concerns. 

No nation has lived up to the letter as well as the 
spirit of the principle of non-interference so consistently 
as the United States. Absolute, unswerving neutrality 
has been the foundation stone upon which it has reared 
its relations with the other powers of the world. In 
opposition to the most enthusiastic sympathy of the 
people, Washington proclaimed, and maintained the 
strictest neutrality when France, our only ally, demand- 
ed our aid against England. 

The United States is peculiarly sensitive on this ques- 
tion of international intervention, as witness the Monroe 
Doctrine. Moreover, did not this government resent, 
with indignation, Great Britain's interference in favor 
of the southern Confederacy during our civil war, and 
did it not make that power pay for its meddling ? 

On the question of religious persecution, Vattel 
declares, ' ' When a religion is persecuted in one coun- 
try, the foreign nations who profess it, may intercede 
for their brethren: but this is all they can lawfully do, 
unless the persecution be carried to an intolerable excess; 
then, indeed, it becomes a case of manifest tyranny, in 
which all nations are permitted to succor an unhappy 
people." But in the next breath he qualifies this seem- 
ing exception to the principle of non-interference by 
saying: ' ' If the prince, by attacking the fundamental 
laws, gives his subjects a legal right to resist him; if 
tyranny, becoming insupportable, obliges the nation to 

212 Jewish Women's Congress. 

rise in their defence; every foreign power has a right to 
succor an oppressed people who implore their assist- 
ance." Even in the exceptional circumstances under 
which interference is allowable, there must first be a 
rising of the people against the tyrant, and an appeal 
for aid on the part of the oppressed themselves. How- 
ever much men, in general, may be affected by sym- 
pathy, the deliberations of governments, in matters 
relating to foreign powers, are swayed by common 
sense, expediency and diplomatic usage. Hence, all 
talk about "protest backed by cannon "is manifestly 
absurd, preposterous. But allowing for the sake of 
argument that armed interference were possible, who 
would fight ? It is obvious the United States could not, 
and would not break through its settled principle of 
neutrality. Now we turn to Europe, and ask what 
powers there are affected by this expulsion of the Rus- 
sian Jews. There are really only three vitally inter- 
ested in this question: Austria and Germany, the high- 
roads along which this outcast people trail their hard 
and weary way to the seaports, and England, who keeps 
as many as she passes on. France has no practical con- 
cern in this movement. Now is it conceivable that any 
of these interested powers would further tax its already 
overburdened people to maintain an army in the field 
against Russia, would be willing to increase its national 
debt and to slaughter thousands on thousands of men, 
thus making countless widows and orphans, and all for 
a few millions of Russian Jews ? In the opinion of the 
great powers of the world, would the amelioration of 
the condition of the oppressed Jews justify the expendi- 
ture of millions on millions of money and thousands on 
hundreds of thousands of lives, and would it compen- 
sate for the sorrow and desolation that follow in the 
wake of war ? The calm, dispassionate answer is, No. 

Protests Against Persecution — Hirshfield. 213 

But cries the idealist, " No cost is too great which pro- 
cures the emancipation of a people." True, but we 
must not forget that this people are Jews. And we 
have not come to the day, no, nor yet to the dawning of 
that day, when the world will fight for Jews. It is time 
we openly recognized that fact. It is time we no longer 
deluded ourselves with the pretty sentimentalities of the 
brotherhood of man. Chilly toleration and lukewarm 
patronage are not equality. Humanity is far from 
being the watchword of the world, else I would not 
stand here to-night pleading a forlorn cause. 

The Greek Revolution has been instanced as a prece- 
dent for international interference in a power's domestic 
concerns, but as an example it does not hold good. In 
the first place, the Greeks were not wholly under the 
domination of the Ottoman government, for, according 
to Finlay, the celebrated historian of Greece, they were 
in the habit of placing themselves under the protection 
of some foreign power. Moreover, the Greek Revolu- 
tion fulfilled the conditions which make international 
intervention allowable: — the Greeks had risen against 
insupportable tyranny, and, fighting for their faith and 
national independence, had called upon the British and 
the French government for aid. Then again it must 
not be forgotten that this was a struggle between a 
Christian people and a Moslem power, and Christendom 
could not allow its kindred to be crushed. And then 
what a halo of romance surrounded "Greece, the isles 
of Greece ! " What a debt mankind owes this land, the 
birthplace of art and letters, of Homer and Plato, and 
all that radiant, intellectual host ! What have the Jews 
done for art and letters? Compared with Homer and 
Plato, who are the prophets and Jesus ? 

Since war is manifestly impossible, what other re- 
sources are there to enable foreign powers to influence 

214 Jewish Women's Congress. 

Russia in this matter? An international congress has 
been suggested. But the question at once arises, Who 
is empowered to convene such a congress ? An interna- 
tional tribunal is an impossibility without the concur- 
rence of all first-class powers. No nation, or league of 
nations, dare call another power to account for its domes- 
tic affairs. And haughty, autocratic Russia would be 
the last to [submit to such dictation, and no power on 
earth could compel her. The Berlin treaty is held up 
as an example of what an international congress can do 
for the amelioration of the condition of the Jews. It is 
a misstatement of fact, however, to say that the Balkan 
Principalities "depended for their recognition by the 
powers of Europe upon their assent" to the improve- 
ment of the condition of the Jews. That was one of 
the minor conditions of the treaty, and covered the case 
of the Roman Catholics as well as of the Jews. Even 
in 1879 the United States government, through its Sec- 
retary of State, Mr. Evarts, declared that " the mitigation 
of the persecution of the Jews in Roumania could not 
be made a sine qua non to the establishment of ofl5cial 
relations with that country." 

Since an international tribunal is as impracticable as 
war is absurd, what is to be done ? We must arouse 
public opinion, that " watchdog whose bark sounds an evil 
omen in the ear of monarchs." The Czar, it is said, 
feels keenly the imputation that he is a sort of imperial 
slave-driver, standing, with uplifted lash, to scourge the 
non-believing Jews into the Orthodox Church, or drive 
them forth from the homes of their ancestors. It is to 
this exquisite sensitiveness on the Czar's part that is due 
the explanation given to the world that the oppression 
of the Jews is not a religious persecution, but the solu- 
tion of an economic problem. This explanation was 
made to Mr. Charles Emory Smith, United States Minister 

Protests Against Persecution — Hirshfiei<d. 215 

to Russia, in reply to the friendly protests made by 
Secretary Blaine in 1891. Mr. Blaine put the question 
on the plane of humanity and economics. In answer to 
the plea of humanity, the Russian Government, through 
its foreign minister, M. de Giers, acknowledged that its 
treatment of the Jews was not in conformity with the 
enlightened spirit of the age, but that the political con- 
ditions in Russia were so diflFerent from what they were 
in the United States that the Americans could not 
appreciate them. As for the increased immigration of 
Russian Jews affecting our labor problem, M. de Giers 
suggested that if the immigrants became good citizens, 
aiding in the development of the country, the United 
States government certainly had no cause to complain; 
and if, as claimed, the refugees were an undesirable 
element, Russia blandly insinuated that America was 
not compelled to receive them. An open avowal of 
mediaeval methods and a diplomatic cynicism as to the 
effect of such Middle Age legislation on our industrial 
problem were all that the earnest, liberal-minded pro- 
tests of this government could extract from Russia. . 

The question is a hopeless one. The Russian govern- 
ment, with arrogant selfishness, refuses to do its share 
toward solving this problem. It may come to pass event- 
ually that the responsibility of each government for its 
own people will become a principle of international law, 
that the expulsion of its undesirable elements by any 
power will be considered a violation of the law of nations. 
For the present, however, outside help for the Russian 
Jews is impossible. But one tiny, feeble ray of light is 
glimmering within darkest Russia herself, which some 
day may burst into a devouring blaze to illuminate this 
desperate state of things. To those who have studied 
Russian politics, it is well known that both within 
and without the empire there is a strong and growing 

2i6 jBwiSH Women's Congress. 

revolutionary party, not nihilists or regicides, but men 
and women who are working for a free, constitutional 
government. Let this revolutionary party pledge itself 
to give equal rights to the Jews in case of its success, 
and there is not a Jew in the world who would not give 
moral and financial aid to further that cause. This is 
not the wild chimera it seems at first sight. The spirit 
of the age has doomed despotisms, and no matter how 
long the respite may be, the doom will fall. The French 
Revolution gave to the Jews their first political freedom; 
the results of the American Revolution have strength- 
ened and augmented that liberty, who can tell but that a 
Russian revolution may solve the Russo-Jewish problem ? 
But from the radiant dream of the future, we turn to the 
hopeless, living present, and cry with Isaiah: 

" It is a people robbed and spoiled. They are become 
for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none 
saith. Restore." 

The same subject was discussed by others, Mr. Wm. 
Onahan speaking briefly, and Professor Chas. Zeub- 
lin making an earnest plea for the Russian Jews. The 
Rev. Mr. Jenkins Lloyd Jones brought out the points 
held in common by the Unitarians and the Jews, and the 
Rev. Ida G. Hultin bore greetings from the women of 
the Unitariau Church. 

The following letter from George Kennan was then 

^jiETON Cottage, Baddeck, 
Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, 

August 5, 1893. 

Mrs. Henry Solomon. 

Dear Madam: — Your letter of July 20 is at hand. It 
would give me great pleasure both to hear, and to take 
part in, the discussion with regard to the prevention of 

Protests Against Persecution — Kennan. 217 

persecution, if it were possible for me to do so, but I 
regret to say that my engagements are such that I cannot 
be in Chicago when the Jewish Women's Religious Con- 
gress meets. I fully sympathize with the object that 
you have in view, and I shall try to do what I can for 
the abatement of persecution, both religious and politi- 
cal, in all countries, and particularly in Russia. 
Sincerely yours, 

George Kennan. 

Thxtrsday, September 7, 1893, 9.30 a. m. 

Sadie American, Chicago. 

The foregoing days of this Congress have shown what 
some Jewish women have been, have done, have thought, 
and what a few are thinking and planning. This Con- 
gress would not be complete without some record of 
what many Jewish women have done, and are doing. 
Therefore, an attempt has been made to bring into a 
short, presentable form, the present work of Jewish 
women. The present work we say, for though the 
record be of work past and passing, work which has 
been good, work which leaves an impress on the world 
that can never be effaced, is ever present work. It will 
readily be understood that no attempt could be made to 
record the names of individual women. There are too 
many who, in a more limited sphere, have labored as 
worthily as have such women as Rebecca Gratz, Emma 
Lazarus, Penina Moise and others, but whose fame has 
not gone beyond the circle of those among whom they 
worked, and spread the perfume of their lives. There- 
fore, this report can contain but an account of work 
Jewish women have done together in associations or 
societies, large or small. In order to gain a complete 
report, requests were sent broadcast over the land for 
accounts of associations of Jewish women, of whatever 
kind or nature. We regret that the requests did not 
meet with more frequent and full response. 


Organization — American. 219 

The largest cities only replied; their reports must, and 
may, be taken as typical of what has been done else- 
where. The object of the request sent was to ascertain 
the nature, field, purpose and success of associated work 
among Jewish women; not merely to present such a 
record, but to make it serve as a lesson to teach by the 
past how to guide the future, to teach what has been 
accomplished, and what calls for attention, to teach us 
what paths to avoid and which to follow, to teach us 
wherein we are able and wherein we lack. 

To classify the work was not difiBcult. In the one 
great field of Philanthropy was it all embraced — its 
purpose the bettering of the condition of those unfortu- 
nate in the world, its success uniform. 

From London comes a most interesting report, which, 
headed " Philanthropic Work," has been divided into 
four subdivisions: Religious, Educational, Recreative and 
Charitable. The first embraces Sabbath afternoon ser- 
vices for working girls, at which are conducted, by vol- 
unteers, singing, Bible reading, and a short address; 
Sabbath classes at the free schools, at which religious 
instruction is given and prayers are taught in Hebrew 
and in English, also by volunteers. 

Under the head of Educational come the Jewish free 
schools, infants', primary, high and normal, under the 
supervision and partial instruction of volunteers; and 
in connection with these, some cooking and sewing 
classes. In connection with these schools, are provided 
penny dinners for the children. Fortunately, in our 
country, the public school system is such as to offer the 
chance of acquiring an ordinary education to all, irre- 
spective of race or creed, and to bring together, under 
one roof, children of all classes and religions. We are 
thus enabled to throw whatever of force we have into 
the furthering of the broader training of hand with 

220 Jewish Women's Congress. 

tnind — of schools which, though supported and super- 
vised by Jewish women, are open to all alike. 

But for this very reason, our women should give 
more time and attention to the existing public schools, 
studying their nature, their defects and their needs, and 
endeavoring to use all their influence for the bettering 
of these schools. 

The third division. Recreative, presents a record of 
glorious work — ^work in which our sisters across the 
water are in quantity, though not in quality, ahead of 
us. There are girls' clubs, in which mutual entertain- 
ment is encouraged; in which, while some sew, others 
read, speak, or furnish music, and once a week a con- 
cert and dance are given by the ladies interested in the 
clubs. There are others, at which the ladies from the 
West End of I/ondon entertain the girls at Sunday tea 
parties, and, with music, stories and pleasant chat, bring 
a refinement into the lives of the girls, which would 
reach and influence them in no other way. There are 
fortnightly free concerts for working men and women, 
■well attended and enjoyed. 

There are what are called the Children's Happy 
Evenings, at which three hundred and fifty children 
are entertained at fortnightly gatherings, with lively 
music, by magic lantern exhibitions and conjurers' 
wonderful tricks, and by dancing, a favorite amuse- 
ment with all. They are encouraged to sing in chorus 
and to entertain one another in various ways; and a prize 
is given for the best performance, the children them- 
selves judging its merit. At some of the Board Schools, 
also, such " Happy Evenings " are of frequent occur- 

There are summer country excursions for children, 
and a Convalescent Home for adults, one for children 
and a Home for incurables. At all of these, at regular 

Organization — American. 221 

intervals, entertainments, mostly musical, are given, 
and they are found to be of great assistance in making 
cheerful and happy their unfortunate inmates. Best of 
all, several of the ladies who have country homes,, 
entertain poor children there during the summer. 

In connection with the synagogues are Women's 
Guilds, the purpose of some of which is to provide the 
sacred vestments for the synagogue, and its decoration 
on festival occasions, and to go among the poor, endeav- 
oring to brighten their lives by social entertainments. 
Two deserve special mention: 

(i) The Hampstead Personal Service Guild. I quote 
a paragraph concerning it: 

" Its duties consist in taking charge of, and befriending 
one or two or three families residing in any part of Lon- 
don; visiting the sick and suflFering at their homes and 
in hospitals; teaching children who through infirmity 
are unable to go to school; reading aloud to the sick, the 
blind, and at various institutions," etc. 

The other, worthy of special mention, is the Ham- 
mersmith Synagogue Guild, W. E., the only one in which 
occurs the word mutual — its purpose mutual improve- 
ment and recreation and philanthropic work. 

The need of more associations for mutual improve- 
ment among us is very great. 

The section of Charitable work consists of various 
societies for furnishing financial aid and clothing, assist- 
ing the sick, for district nursing, visiting hospitals and 
other institutions; of workrooms where mothers of fami- 
lies are taught to sew, and garments are given out to be 
made for the poor, by the poor, at moderate cost. A sale 
is held in these workrooms once a year, where all gar- 
ments are sold at cost price. There are workrooms in 
which girls are taught high-class needlework, embroid- 
ering and dressmaking. 

222 jBwisH Wombn's Congress. 

There is a society for granting to the poor loans of 
from one to ten pounds, without interest and payable in 
weekly installments. A committee visits every appli- 
cant for help, and in accordance with its report a loan is 
made. I^ast year 330 loans amounting to ^f 1872 ($9360) 
were made. The society was founded in 1844, and since 
that time nearly 12,000 loans have been made. Many of 
its present subscribers were once its beneficiaries. In 
conjunction with this society is a Relief Society, which 
gives needed things to those borrowers who are inca- 
pacitated from work by illness. There is a labor registry 
for men and women. There are soup kitchens, a diet 
kitchen, whence patients (30-30) are supplied with hot 
dinners at their homes, in accordance with the instruc- 
tions of the medical attendant; penny dinners for Jewish 
school children, at which soup, Irish stew and bread are 
served by five volunteer lady waitresses daily. 

There is an association for preventive and rescue work, 
called Rosaline House, where friendless girls, native or 
foreign, may find a home till claimed by friends or find- 
ing employment. One hundred and seventy girls were 
taken care of there last year. It also provides board 
and lodging for working girls at seven shillings per week. 
Lastly, a Rescue House, accommodating twenty inmates, 
but fortunately rarely full. Girls are here trained in 
domestic service and laundry work. Their stay is un- 
limited. After a year, or at most eighteen months, of 
the strict but kind discipline of the place, they are found 
trustworthy, and fit for service. The matron continues 
her supervision after the}' are placed in situations; and 
ladies take a personal interest in these girls. This society 
acts in conjunction with the Travelers' Aid Society. 

In this report there is no mention of kindergartens or 
creches, nor of manual training schools; and we have as 
yet had no reply to the letter, asking information on this 

Organization — American. 223 

point. This report from lyondon is typical of other cities 
in England. 

From the other countries of Europe, we regret to say, 
we have been unable to secure replies to our requests for 
reports; but from a hasty glance at some of those gath- 
ered in the various bureaus of the Fair, we are justified 
in saying that the work in these countries is similar to 
that in Ivondon. 

Time will not permit, for our own country, more than 
a report curtailed so as to give merely an idea of the ex- 
tent and character of what is being done, and the mention 
of a few societies, whose work especially deserves exten- 
sion and imitation. The full reports, however, are open 
to the inspection of any one interested. 

In all cities, large and small, exist aid societies, inde- 
pendent or as auxiliaries of institutions or of a central 
relief society; societies for the distribution of food, cloth- 
ing, fuel, money and whatever may be needed for imme- 
diate relief. There are orphan asylums, hospitals, homes 
for aged, infirm and incurables — almost as many as are 
needed — with auxiliary sewing societies, etc., for all. 
There are societies in plenty, sewing for the very poor; 
but there are too few societies which teach the very poor 
and helpless to sew for themselves — the adult poor, I 
mean. There is in almost every large city a training 
school for nurses; and the Hebrew charity associations 
send out one or more district nurses. There are Sabbath 
Schools to teach the children of the poor something of 
their religion, and much of the form to which the adher- 
ents of orthodoxy cling. These Sabbath Schools are 
almost exclusively instituted, managed and taught by 
the orthodox among us, and good work have they accom- 
plished. Yet it is time we of the reform temples should 
bestir ourselves in this direction, bringing new methods 
and new ideas to fertilize the old soil. To these Sabbath 

224 JEWISH Women's Congress. 

Schools are being added classes for teaching industrial 
branches; but while beneficial in their small way, they 
cannot benefit the world as they should, so long as they 
are mere adjuncts to schools started for other purposes. 
There are a number of industrial schools (the New York 
Hebrew Charities support one), but there are not enough, 
nor are those that exist good enough. 

I must go on to speak of the charities of New York 
and a few other cities, because they were the only ones 
to send a full account of work in time to be incorporated 
in this report; so that if any of the other cities feel that 
they are being passed over, they have but themselves to 

Almost every feature of the lyondon work has its 
counterpart in New York, but there are one or two 
features lacking there and in other cities. I should 
perhaps modify this by saying that my accounts omit 
mention of some features, from which I have concluded 
that they do not exist. There is no loan association, 
such as there is in lyondon — an institution much needed, 
and often the means of preventing the first gift of 
charity, the first step on the road to pauperism. Rosa- 
line House has no counterpart among us, but^should 
have one. For a Rescue Home there is happily little 

The time and attention given to and for the beneficial 
results of recreative work among the poor in lyondon 
are but faintly shadowed forth on this side of the water. 
The absolute need of the poor for entertainment, for 
relaxation, is just dawning upon us here. The reports 
of the various large institutions show that the apprecia- 
tion of this fact is just beginning ; they mention the 
markedly good results of occasional entertainments, and 
endeavor to impress upon people the need for multiply- 
ing them. The Montefiore Home Auxiliary Association 

Organization — American. 225 

is the only one which gives entertainments at regular 
intervals. They occur weekly, are small and informal, 
'tis true, but visitors and inmates find themselves hap- 
pier and brighter for them. This branch of philan- 
thropic work in institutions and among the poor and 
working classes cannot be too much encouraged nor too 
widely emulated. 

There are in existence several working girls' clubs for 
evening instruction ; and one — ^the Working Girls' Alli- 
ance — for mutual improvement and culture. This is a 
self-supporting institution, and is a pioneer in a field 
that should be actively and energetically worked. 

In New York and in other cities during the past few 
years have been formed in the various congregations 
what are known as Sisterhoods. They teach the value 
of personal service, and practically show it in visiting 
the sick and poor, in providing and teaching creches 
and kindergartens. 

Their work is divided into four sections: 

(i) Visiting the poor; 

(2) Work in Kindergartens, etc.; 

(3) Work in Sabbath Schools and sewing classes, com- 
bining religious and practical work; and 

(4) Work among working girls. 

Prevention is their watchword, as it must come to be 
that of us all. The first three of these sections are in 
most active operation. Work among working girls is 
being pushed, but has assumed no such proportions as 
it should and will. 

In addition to these sisterhoods, there exists in Balti- 
more a society doing much the same work but on a 
difierent plan. The organization, known as the Daugh- 
ters in Israel, is an organization composed of small 
bands of ten, each doing the special work itself decides 
upon; its small size insures all workers and no drones. 

226 Jewish Women's Congress. 

Among the good things brought into existence through 
its instrumentality are, visiting among the needy, dress- 
making classes, the establishing of a fresh air fund for 
the care of sick children, the instituting of a temporary 
home, where Russian immigrants are cared for during 
a few days till they can find employment; mothers' 
meetings, at which kindly advice on home matters is 
given to poor mothers, and at which they are also taught 
to sew; a small kitchen-garden or household school, and 
a working girls' club for social approach. This club 
holds meetings every Saturday evening; often there are 
informal talks by some outsider on popular subjects, 
such as physiology, etc. Here, too, their sympathies 
have been quickened for those most unfortunate in this 
world — the sick and absolutely poor — and they find that 
out of their small means they still have enough to give 
something of money, of time, and of friendliness, to 
help those poorer than themselves. The Daughters 
seek to procure employment for specially talented girls. 
They have extended their influence even to children. 
There is one band that gives such things as children 
prize — fruit, and flowers, and candies, and good food 
for the mind in entertaining books. The Daughters in 
Israel may feel they have indeed deserved to be told, 
" Well done, thou good and faithful servant." 

There are, too, in Baltimore, congregational societies 
" for promoting the interests of the congregations," 
furnishing prizes and entertainments for their Sabbath 
School children and decorations for the synagogue on 
Holy Days. There is the night school of the Hebrew 
Iviterary Society, arranged primarily to meet the needs 
of adult immigrants, to teach them English and act as 
an Americanizing influence. For the more advanced 
pupils here, the history of the United States is taken as 
a textbook, and some have this year been reading 

Organization — American. 227 

Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare, with frequent passages 
from the great bard himself. Sunday evening lectures 
in winter are a feature of this school; but the best 
• feature is the fact that it is partially supported by the 
small tuition fee of thirty cents a month, paid by the 
pupils, and giving them that feeling which is only 
theirs who know that they are not a burden nor a drag 
on others. 

In Philadelphia, the institutions deserving special 
mention are, a Wayfarers' Lodge, established by Rus- 
sian women for the temporary housing and feeding of 
their persecuted brethren driven to seek new homes; 
the Household School, providing as an adjunct to itself 
weekly inspiriting entertainments; and the Personal 
Interest Society, composed of women, each of whom 
looks after some one family, inculcating principles of 
thrift, and cleanliness and culture, and seeing that the 
children get all the benefits of education open to them. 

In Rochester, beside the general run of societies, there 
is one for encouraging and distributing good reading 
among children, a club giving monthly entertainments, 
a musical society and a Shakespeare class. 

In St. lyouis, the Mothers' Club, and the Pioneer 
Society, a society established for mutual culture and 
improvement, must be mentioned. 

In Detroit stands forth pre-eminent the Woman's 
Club, established on the fine principle of bringing rich 
and poor, women of all social conditions together in fre- 
quent meetings, that they may learn to know and to 
help one another. Sewing classes, readings, lectures 
and general social intercourse are its work; and it has 
proved its practicability and elevating tendency through 
the several years of its existence. 

These societies, it must be understood, are not worthy 
above others; but they are on the high road to a nobler 

228 Jewish Wombn's Congrbss. 

manhood and womanhood, and in the van of progress, 
and therefore it is they that have been selected for 
special mention. 

We could not do without what some are pleased to 
call more practical work. The time will soon come 
when all will see that we can still less do without such 
societies as these, unless we wish to sink back into the 
mire of pure materialism and toward an animal existence. 

There are among the Jewish women various benefit 
and secret societies, such as the Treue Schwestern, 
whose purpose is mutual aid in cases of sickness and 
death, and noble friendship and endeavor, together with 
some charitable work among the very poor. 

There is in existence, too, a society called Sons of 
Zion, with branches called Daughters of Zion, whose 
aim is (I read from the report), " To propagate the 
national idea among the women of Israel, by meetings, 
lectures on history and literature, and a circulating 

" Secondly, to assist Jewish colonization in Palestine, 
with the special aim of colonizing the Russian Jews. 
These societies, comprising in all about 30,000, exist in 
Russia, France, Germany, England, and a small number 
in America, as the Americans think not at all on this 

The existence of this society will be a surprise to 
many of us; yet, while we do not in the least share in 
the national idea, in fact, scarcely comprehend it and 
strongly oppose it, we can all see here in the colonization 
of Palestine another chance of bringing happiness to the 
persecuted of our religion. 

Two institutions mentioned in the L/Ondon report, 
and entirely wanting here, are: " The Children's Happy 
Evenings," and the entertainment of poor children by 
individuals at their summer homes. I/Ct us hope the 

Organization — ^American. 229 

mere mention of this fact will bring about the filling of 
the want, and another year show that in nothing are we 
behind our co-religionists in England. 

Time devoted to rendering childhood happy is well 
spent; for happy childhood is the gateway to bright and 
energetic manhood. Children's spirits should be kept 
high, children's bodies should be well fed — and therefore 
there should be more penny dinners established; chil- 
dren's minds should be well fed, and their hands well 
trained — and therefore I beg leave to call your attention 
to the need for more manual training schools; to the need 
of emulating that society whose purpose is to aid those 
children who, through nature or accident, are prevented 
from availing themselves of the privileges of childhood; 
" to teach children who through infirmity are incapaci- 
tated from going to school; and also to teach or read to 
the sick or blind at their homes or in institutions." 

Individuals can do this; yet associated work in this, 
as in all things, can do more; and better methods and 
results can be attained. 

To the sewing of garments for the poor, by the poor, 
I also desire to call attention. In New York there exists 
a Young Ladies' Society, which gives work to the very 
poor, to be sewed for distribution by the Hebrew Relief 
Society. But the like society in lyondon is on a higher 
round of the ladder, since it arranges that the poor work 
directly for the poor, and be paid by them. This work 
should be copied. 

There are three institutions in my own city which I 
must, however, mention. Though not entirely woman's 
work, women have done more than their one-half share 
in starting, managing and providing for them, and work- 
ing in them — and therefore I include them. 

In addition to the general run of philanthropic socie- 
ties in which women are interested, we have the Jewish 

230 Jewish Women's Congress. 

Manual Training School — the model of its kind in the 
United States, and an institution of which we are justly 
proud. We have the Elise Frank Fund, of which we are 
equally proud, for its application of funds to the support 
and bringing up of orphans in private families has proved 
so successful that it has demonstrated this manner of 
caring for the parentless to be no longer an experiment, 
but a finer, a better and, to the practical, a more eco- 
nomical way of solving this great question. In this 
country, this fine woman, following the plan laid out by 
the late lamented Dr. Hirsch, of Philadelphia, is the first 
woman to apply money to this purpose. 

In addition to this there is about to be formed a Social 
Settlement of Jewish Young People. While it will be 
non-sectarian, welcoming all co-workers, and doing its 
work among whom it may find, yet its main purpose is 
the elevation of the Jews, in whose midst the settlement 
will be situated. Its work will not be charitable, but phil- 
anthropic. The distinction between these terms should 
always be carefully noted. The raising of the people 
from their outward and inward degradation, the helping 
of working men and women, girls and boys, to learn, to 
cultivate themselves — to play and relaxation and recre- 
ation — that is their mission — to inculcate the principles 
of independence, of self-dependence, of self-reliance ; by 
living and working directly among them to become their 
friends, not their benefactors nor patrons, and thus to 
teach and to influence them, as only personal contact can 
teach and influence. 

Time will not permit me to go more into detail. I 
repeat — whatever reports are in our hands are at the dis- 
posal of anyone interested. There is also a possibility 
that they may be printed. 

These organizations are Jewish women's organizations, 
doing work almost exclusively among Jewish people. 

Organization — American. 231 

Yet it must not be judged from this tliat Jewish women 
are engaged in exclusively Jewish charity (there is 
scarcely a charity in which our Jewish women are not 
represented), nor that Christians take no interest in them. 
While the management is Jewish, and the great majority 
of cases assisted are Jewish, many of these societies, 
notably the hospitals, are non-sectarian. While the 
larger part of the money expended is from Jewish purses, 
Christians almost invariably extend a helping purse 
when called upon. And I believe that to-morrow, if the 
very desirable abrogation of all sectarian charity could 
be effected, and all join hands in helping the poor — our 
poor — the Jewish poor could be quite as well taken care 
of as they are now. 

While many of the associations are dignified by the 
name of organizations, they scarcely deserve it. They 
are merely associations; for work done with willing 
heart and hand may yet not be done in the best way, 
nor so as to do the most good — present good often lead- 
ing to future ill. There is too much and too little in 
these associations — too much unjust distribution, too 
much consideration of the present; too little real justice, 
too little thoughtful consideration of the past and for 
the future. There are too few ounces of prevention, 
too many pounds of so-called cure. The wound is but 
lightly covered, and again and again breaks open. 

While there is need of more and greater organization, 
there is need of more and greater personal service; and 
while personality and its expression in action accom- 
panies organization, yet, with greater organization, there 
is always danger that too much dependence may be 
placed on the work of the organization as a whole and 
too little on that of its individual members. To-day, 
the growing understanding of the importance of each 
is counteracting this danger. In various societies of 

232 Jewish Women's Congress. 

personal service, but especially in the social settlement 
idea, is this service being trained to perfect work. It is 
the personal service which does not go and give, but 
goes and gets; which finds what there is, and strives to 
lead it forth — whether it be ability to work, to act, to 
think, to speak, to smile, or what not. That is personal 
service in a twofold sense, the service to the served and 
to the server. 

This has been a record of organized work, so called. 
There is to follow this a paper on organization. Why 
devote time to the consideration of this subject ? Do 
we need to study the matter more closely ? Are we 
Jewish women particularly interested, and if so, why ? 
Are we organized ? and if not, should we be ? and why ? 

If you will give me your indulgent attention for some 
minutes longer, I will endeavor, with your kind permis- 
sion, to answer these questions. 

The reports just read sufficiently indicate the extent 
and the limits, the breadth and the narrowness of organi- 
zations of Jewish women. There naturally arise in the 
mind the questions: Do these reports contain anything 
new ? Have they any value ? Their value lies in the 
light they cast on past and future. Every report of work 
done is like the two-faced god of the Romans: One face 
looking down the vista of the past, the other turned to 
the vision of the future. Above the face of the past is 
written in clear, white light, " Follow — Follow — Lead ! " 
Above the face of the future stand forth in changing 
roseate hues, the words, " Lead — Lead — Follow ! " But 
to him of clear sight appears high above both a vision 
of one young, and straight, and strong, with forward, 
upward gaze, leading, on a steep, precipitous slope, a man, 
bent by the weight of years, with glance restlessly wan- 
dering to and fro, whose guiding finger points the way 
between the threatening obstacles his eye discerns. 

Organization — American. 233 

A purpose of this paper is to bring prominently for- 
ward the work and power of organization. Why empha- 
size the work of organization rather than that of the 
individual? To emphasize one is to emphasize both, 
lyct us try to see this clearly. 

There are some words and ideas which are part and 
parcel of a time or era, words that are constantly on the 
lip — ideas that consciously or unconsciously are em- 
bodied in almost every speech. So common become 
their use and abuse, that for the general public, the aver- 
age person, their meaning is entirely lost. Instead of 
being alive with vitality and force, conveying in one 
word what would before have required sentences to ex- 
plain, they are mere empty phrases rousing no thought, 
not understood, rousing no desire to understand. Among 
such words in our own day, are organization, individual- 
ity, independence — terms often used together, paradox- 
ically it may seem at first view, but intimately connected 
as hand and brain. To recall the real meaning of these 
terms, to look into them and bare to the light the truths 
covered by the cobwebs of time and use, is to bring back 
for us their original force. 

What is organization? 

An organ is an instrument through which some im- 
portant end is accomplished, a medium through which 
the functions of life are carried on. 

An organization is the differentiating, or grouping 
together of capacities for performing the functions neces- 
sary to one end, the act of endowing with organs or the 
state of being so endowed, i. e., of having various powers 
so co-ordinated, as by united action to render possible 
the accomplishment of one great purpose, of having that 
which we call I,ife. 

Association and organization are often used inter- 
changeably, and it therefore becomes necessary for us to 

234 Jewish Women's Congress. 

bear in mind the distinction between the two. An 
association is a number of persons banded together in 
pursuit of one end, each of whom may be doing the 
same thing. An organization is such an association of 
units, in which the work necessary to the attainment of 
an end is ordered, divided, apportioned among its mem- 
bers, so that each becomes an organ through which a 
special part, and that part only, of its work is to be 

Primal nature was unorganized. The Fiat Lux of 
the Eternal Spirit, which separated light from darkness, 
and made visible the surrounding chaos, was the first 
step toward organization; the separation of the warring 
elements of chaos, that each might bring forth or sup- 
port after its kind, made possible all subsequent life. 
When from the first simple forms of life, organless, in 
which all parts equally and alike performed the func- 
tions necessary to existence, was difierentiated the first 
apparatus for digestion and circulation, primitive organi- 
zation came into being. 

As differentiation increased, co-ordination accompanied 
it, and organization became higher in proportion to the 
number and dissimilarity of parts, until, in the rise of 
the scale of life was reached the wonderful complexity 
of man with his nature physical, mental, spiritual. 

Man, in his social development, followed in the foot- 
steps of nature. When he formed the first group for 
defence against wild beasts, for protection against the 
wilder elements, when some watched, while others 
worked, man made the first movement on the road 
toward the magnificent complexity of modern organi- 
zations and social relations. 

In the realm of man as in that of nature, differen- 
tiation is the law of progress; in proportion to the unity 
and diversity, the number and complexity of its parts, 

Organization — Ambrican. 235 

organization became great and perfect. Perfect subor- 
dination of its units to one supreme purpose, perfect 
co-ordination of dissimilar parts, perfect performance of 
diverse functions with one underlying intention, are the 
essence of a great and powerful organization, and alone 
make possible the carrying out of its design. 

The principles that underlay the first simple organi- 
zations are the principles that underlie the complex 
organizations of our day. 

The necessity of satisfying man's nature, of satisfying 
his needs, physical, mental, moral, called into action his 
diverse endowments. Man's increasing needs and wants 
brought about the appreciation and application of his 
various faculties and varying capacities. The strong 
were called on to defend, the wise to counsel, the able to 
lead or to do; as association increased, latent ability was 
made patent, was called on and developed, work and 
play were divided and apportioned, all worked for each, 
and each worked for all, under the guiding light of one 
common inspiration. Because men saw that what one 
can do with utmost difficulty another can do with 
utmost ease; because they recognized that what is 
impossible to one becomes possible to many acting as 
one; because they recognized that division is multipli- 
cation, that many, each of whom is doing a part, can 
bring about results more quickly and better than can 
one who does all, therefore did they organize. 

Organization has been likened to the human body 
with its various members. Organizations among primi- 
tive peoples and in primitive civilizations may be likened 
to a body with head commanding and members obeying, 
the head alone recognized as of importance or value, 
the members counted as mere tools. Absolutism, subor- 
dination, strength, are its underlying principles, oflfence 
and defence its purpose. In the Middle Ages the head 

236 Jewish Women's Congress. 

was still supreme, but tlie body was recognized in its 
entirety, and was given a higher place than in time 
before. Some of its members, having proved their im- 
portance, were regarded as of value to the whole; the 
ideas of might and subordination still underlay its 
development, but slowly and surely the ideas of the 
individual and independence were forcing their way to 
the light of day, even though as yet it was but the inde- 
pendence of the few powerful individuals which was 
maintained, even though it was the privilege of the few, 
not the right of all. The growth of these ideas caused, 
the development of the conservatism and the exclusion 
of the Middle Ages — the desire to keep things in statu 
quo, to retain the power and privilege gained; and the 
endeavor to keep down and out the struggling, striving, 
awakening mass of humankind, until from the very 
nature of the case, the lines, drawn closer and more 
close, tighter and more tight, could no longer stand the 
strain from within, the pressure from without, the energy 
of the one and the force of the other. They broke, and 
after an interval of turmoil and mingling and striving 
for place, arose the bright form of modem organization, 
with its far-reaching arms, its body healthy and strong 
and beautiful, because at last head and members were 
seen to be of equal value and import. It is a body with 
a soul animating, directing, the head no longer com- 
manding, but guiding, co-ordinating, answering only to 
the impulses sent from the members; the members no 
longer obeying, but co-operating. From the heart 
through each member pulses its life, while the animat- 
ing soul determines the nature and quality of its work. 
It is no longer individual and independence which hold 
its underlying ideas, but these have overflowed from the 
narrow limits of those words into the larger compass of 
Individuality and Interdependence. It is no longer 

Organization — American. 237 

conservatism, exclusion, stand-still, which are the watch- 
words of the time, but liberalism, advancement, inclu- 
sion, growth and progress, not in straight and narrow 
lines, but in ever widening circles, extending the bounds 
of their influence, their usefulness, their power. 

Individuality and interdependence, individual and 
independence — they sound alike. Are they not so? 
No, and again, no. Individual is simply that which is 
indivisible — one — a unit. Individuality is that quality 
by which a man — a unit — is distinguished from every 
other unit, that which is inseparable from him, which 
belongs to him and to him alone among the millions of 
men about him. Independence is the negative of depen- 
dence, and is but a relative term — some object or force 
of which one is independent is always understood. 
Absolute independence cannot exist in the universe, for 
if a man were independent of all other men, he would 
still be dependent on Nature, on the Higher Power 
immanent in every object of which his senses give him 

Interdependence is the expression of an absolute 
truth — the highest knowledge to which we can attain; 
for the recognition of absolute truth, and the endeavor 
to make it live, are knowledge no longer, but wisdom. 
Interdependence acknowledges that every being, every , 
thing, is dependent on every other being or thing, that 
which affects one affects all, that we are simply parts of 
that great organization which we call the world. 

Independence separates; interdependence joins. Inde- 
pendence, individualism, selfishness, tyranny co-exist; 
interdependence, individuality, altruism, freedom live 

Men's awakening to the knowledge of their mutual 
need of one another has been a bond to hold them close. 
It has become crystal clear to men that association is a 

238 Je;wish Women's Congress. 

necessity, a law of man's existence; that only by and in 
association can he develop his faculties — the faculties 
by whose possession he is distinguished from the brute, 
the faculties which distinguish him from every other 
man. Men have come to know that no individual, how- 
ever small or insignificant he may seem in himself, is 
small or insignificant for good or for ill, as a part of a 
great whole; men have learned that only by exchange 
of services does it become possible for each to develop 
his particular aptitude to the utmost point of perfection, 
that by mutual exchange of knowledge and the lessons 
of experience are men saved from the sadness of wasted 
energy and efibrt and of useless repetition. Men have 
found that mutual easing of burdens is increase of 
strength and power, raises and widens the field of vision, 
induces true fellowship and happiness; and men have 
learned that association without organization means 
failure — while association with organization means suc- 
cess. For these reasons has organization become the 
bidding of the Zeitgeist, and individuality and inter- 
dependence a cry of the time. For these reasons are 
they connected close as brain and hand. Because men 
know these things, do we find organizations in every 
field of human endeavor, in every department of human 
thought and activity. It is needless to weary you with 
a rehearsal of them in detail; the records are daily 
before you in reports, newspapers and periodicals. It is 
needless to repeat their success. To speak of the power 
of organization to-day is almost to perpetrate a truism. 
Yet it is a fact on which we cannot place too much 
insistence, and therefore, even at the risk of some weary- 
ing repetition, let us attempt a short analysis of this 
power in order that we may see clearly wherein it lies. 

Its power lies (i) in its association, centralization and 
concentration, like a lens focusing the scattered rays of 

Organization — American. 239 

light and heat upon one point, thus piercing the shell 
of difficulty surrounding any problem. Our most famil- 
iar stories hold embodied the great truths which men 
need to know. This truth was long ago set forth in the 
fable of the bundle of sticks a father gave his sons to 
break. The bundle, held together by a stout cord, re- 
sisted all the strength of each of the sons to break it. 
But the father, loosening the cord and taking one stick 
from the bundle, broke that with ease, and all the others 
quite as readily. Thus was brought home to the sons 
and all who know the tale, the truth that in a union 
bound together by the cord of a strong purpose, is 
strength unconquerable, the strength of the living oak; 
but the bond of union once loosed, the strength becomes 
but as the strength of the dead branch. 

Its power lies (2) in its division of labor, entailing a 
smaller amount of work on each; its consequent develop- 
ment of special functions, and the uncovering of hidden 
energies and capacities. It is a magic wand striking the 
sparkling waters from the rock. 

(3) In its economy of force and work, of time and 
attention. It opens wide the gates of opportunity, and 
thus throws into work itself, energy which would other- 
wise be dissipated in the possibly fruitless search for an 
opening. This and its division of labor enable a man 
to put his whole force into what he desires to do, and 
in consequence of the skill attained in the practice of 
his specialty, multiplies production by turning out bet- 
ter work in shorter time. It facilitates communication, 
since by its close connection any information, any plan 
or purpose, demand or idea given the head, thrills like 
an electric current instantly through every part. 

The rushlight in the hand of the individual search- 
ing for the way to an end, passing through the trans- 
forming medium of its crystallized knowledge and 

240 Jewish Women's Congress. 

experience, becomes a searchlight making clear and 
bright the way to means and to ends. 

Its power lies (4) in the inter-relation of its parts, their 
order and discipline, and the relation to a head, without 
which each is powerless, but which itself is powerless 
without the parts. Through it are effected combinations 
of force, disentangling of knotted threads, solving of 
weighty problems; through it is secured balance of 
parts, which insures full and rounded growth, the one 
indispensable condition of success, of attainment of the 

Its power lies (5) in the activity it induces among its 
members, the fire of interest and investigation it lights 
by contact of mind with mind, in the esprit de corps it 
rouses, calling forth the best that is in one; in the com- 
mon thought, idea or principle which holds it together, 
insuring mutual comprehension and harmony; laying 
constant stress on the fact that each is a part and but a 
part of one great whole, working in different ways to 
one great end, it makes prominent the ideas of inter- 
depelidence and unity, unity and interdependence — as 
the one great principle of growth, of progress, of 

It is not the purpose of this paper to attempt a history 
of organization, yet some preliminary remarks were nec- 
essary to its design — the bringing home to the Jews the 
value and the necessity of Organization. 

The Jews have had many of the benefits, and suffered 
many of the disadvantages of organization. 

The average Jew has had certain outward character- 
istics, and has been known by them. Repression and 
oppression made more intense his native intensity, and 
at the same time prevented normal growth, normal differ- 
entiation of work and character. He came to be known 
by the qualities which the world about him called into 

Organization — American. 241 

action and notice, by the qualities in defence, in opposi- 
tion^ if I may coin the phrase; his qualities in conjunc- 
tion^ his feelings and actions for and with his fellow- 
beings, Jew or Gentile, were lost sight of, or deliberately 
hidden by men's prejudgment. In spite of and through 
the covering of likeness with every other Jew which 
custom and law threw over him, his versatility and 
adaptability have shown themselves. He has adopted 
the ways of the people in whose midst he settled; their 
virtues and vices he has added to his own. He has 
reflected the ideas of his time, even if on account of his 
distance from the world's head and heart — only when 
they have become a part of it, and not at their birth. 

The Jew is an idealist. He has been guided through 
Egyptian gloom and darkness by the light that never 
was on land or sea. But he combines with the ideal the 
practical. He has seen the stars reflected from the well- 
springs on the earth about him; and so, though he gazed 
at the stars, he has fallen into no waterpit by the way- 
side, nor into the abyss of loss of faith and trust in the 
eventual triumph of right and justice. 

And because he combines in himself the practical 
with the ideal, having adopted an idea he studies it, 
watches closely its development and influence; but he 
himself does not apply it till he is certain of success. 
For this reason the modem Jew, while identified with 
all the movements of his time, has yet been slow to 
apply the principle of organization to his own concerns. 
He has not properly understood, nor appreciated the 
great and growing power of organization. He has not 
fully realized its importance to himself and his history. 
He is beginning to do so now. Heretofore, he has needed 
no formal organization, for the enforced closeness of 
relation in his restricted life, his peaceful nature, his 
feeling of brotherhood have led him unconsciously into 

242 Jewish Women's Congress. 

means and ways that an organization would consciously 
adopt. Yet he has done less organized than associated 
work; he has done much and great individual work, with 
but little individualization. Indeed, the greatest work 
among and for the Jews has been done by individuals 
who, like Moses Mendelssohn, were gifted above their 
fellowmen, felt within them the strain and stress of the 
spirit of liberty, and had the courage of their convic- 
tions. But individual work is no longer adequate; the 
work that is to be done requires the power of a great, 
well-disciplined army, not individual prowess. 

The Jews needed no formal organization. They need 
it now — times have changed. In the larger, freer life 
which has been opened to them, the closeness of their 
union has been broken; their restraining fetters loosed, 
the spirit of organization no longer animates their 
doings; in the reaction from the close band of a com- 
mon fear, there is danger that their interdependence 
will be forgotten, that in the spirit of sauve qui peut, 
which the law of self-preservation causes to show itself, 
some may forget that each is his brother's keeper, that 
every act done by any Jew casts its light or shade on 
every other Jew; there is danger of forgetting that so 
long as one Jew is oppressed or suffers because he is a 
Jew, so long are Jews bound together by chains of 
adamant, which no straining can break, which none can 
escape — so long must they unite under one banner to 
break those chains, opposing might with might, until 
the full triumph of truth and justice shall break them 
with a touch. 

The Jew has been a Goth rather than a Greek, if I 
may commit the Irish bull. He has seen the details 
rather than the whole, the present rather than the 
future. His environment compelled him to do this; for 
the present moment was the only one he could call his 

Organization — Ambrican. 243 

own. Now that restraining laws and bars are down, he 
can and must look at the whole equally with the details, 
he must look to the future more than to the present. 
Now for the first time, the future is his to make of it 
what he will. I^et him understand and rise to his 
opportunity and its responsibility, let him know and 
understand his duty, and fulfil it through light and 
darkness, as in past ages, to the glorious end. From 
the past and present, let him build a mould for the 
future. Through organized and united endeavor can he 
alone fulfil this, his duty. 

The Jewish woman has shared the ideas and thoughts 
of the man. She has aided with heart and hand in his 
work; the assistance of her head has rarely been asked. 
Her real work has been confined to the home. There it 
is she has made her influence felt. Though the Jew 
daily thanked God that he had not been born a woman, 
it was not because she was degraded far below him, as 
was the case with other peoples, but because she was 
prohibited from the observance of certain religious rites; 
and he considered himself much more fortunate than 
she was since in the performance of these rites he was 
allowed to show his worship and devotion to his Maker. 
For this it was that he daily thanked his God. To the 
Jew, the mother was and is the highest, noblest type of 
womanhood. In the home, the Jewish woman reigned 
as queen; to her were left the performance of religious 
rites in the household, the important preparation of food, 
etc. There she was looked up to and regarded. She 
was adequately protected by law; her position was 
assured, her influence very great. As -the Jew has 
reflected the ideas of his time, she has reflected them 
through him. She needed to make no movement for 
herself, she has made no movement for others, but has 
been content through her influence to impel him to 

244 Jewish Women's Congress. 

move. Because her work has been done largely in the 
home, because the man has been the medium of commu- 
nication, the Jewish woman has been a little slower to 
feel the heart-beats of her time than have other women. 

For this reason, we find no trace of organization among 
Jewish women until we come to modern associations for 
charity — associations often independent of man in work, 
but not in purse nor direction. 

Indeed, woman is only just awakened to the realiza- 
tion of her true part and function in the economy of the 
universe, she has only begun to feel her real power and 
to exert it for the progress of her fellow creatures. She 
has been a passive agent, like the child that follows the 
path laid out for it with no responsibility, no duty but 
obedience, but which, when the time comes for it to 
throw off this yoke of obedience, and act for itself, be- 
comes a responsible agent with duties to fulfil, with the 
duty paramount to properly exercise its newly gained 
freedom and power. Individual Jewish women have 
understood the meaning of the new, bright star in the 
galaxy of heaven. Individual Jewish women have been 
in the van of every movement of the time; but as a 
body, Jewish women are behind the times, and have 
done nothing. 

Is there any reason why they should do anything? 

Jewish women have been accused of being bound 
down to the narrow limits of their own homes, of having 
no interest outside of them, of having no interest in the 
interests of women as women, of not being in sympathy 
with their time. No greater mistake was ever made. 
The Jewish woman — every Jewish woman — is interested 
in all that interests woman, is in perfect sympathy with 
the time; but custom and tradition, and the misunder- 
standing, misconception and excluding prejudice of the 
world have militated against her showing this publicly.. 

Organization — American. 245 

It is the bounden duty of the Jewish woman, on account 
of this misunderstanding of her true nature and inter- 
ests, to make these manifest; it is her duty, as it is that 
of all Jews, to make prominent her qualities in conjunc- 
tion, that they may cast in the shade her qualities in 
opposition. It is not enough that she be in sympathy 
with her time, she must be running hand and hand 
with it. 

The question whether Jewish women should have an 
organization cannot be answered in a word, and I beg 
leave to present certain matter for your consideration. 

This Congress has a unique place among the various 
congresses. Never before have Jews been given a place 
on a plane with other men, not to defend themselves and 
their doctrines, but to present them. This Congress 
holds a unique place among Jewish congresses. Never 
before in the history of Judaism has a body of Jewish 
women come together for the purpose of presenting 
their views, nor for any purpose but that of charity or 
mutual aid; never before have Jewish women been 
called upon to take any place in the representation of 
Judaism. When work was begun toward bringing 
together a body of Jewish women which should repre- 
sent Judaism as exemplified by its women, Judaism in 
its various phases, religious, philanthropic, educational, 
in its diflFerent shades of opinion, under varying influ- 
ences and environments, no path to its accomplishment 
was visible; the field had to be surveyed and a way 
found through virgin ground filled with the boulders of 
custom and tradition, of indifierence and opposition even. 
No law existed against such a convention, but the step 
was a new one, and the difficulties in its way seemed 
insurmountable. It required long continued and untir- 
ing effort first to arouse interest, then to rouse to action. 
Woman took no part in religious matters outside the 

246 Jewish Women's Congress. 

home and Sabbath Schools — what could she have to say 
in a religious congress other than what men would say 
better than she could ? Jewish women had never before 
held a congress; — why should they do so now? Was 
the matter so important that custom should be disre- 
garded and a precedent established ? The chairman and 
the ladies of the committee, realizing the possibilities, 
the responsibility and duty of this great opportunity, 
deemed the matter was important, knew that the women 
had something to say worth saying. They determined 
not only that a precedent should be established, but fol- 
lowed. They set to work with a will, determined that 
success must crown their efforts. Practical questions 
were to be answered, high ideals to be realized ! How 
was this to be done? Where were the women who 
could best represent Judaism, and in representing Juda- 
ism represent the Jews ? That there were many who 
could do so, no one for a moment doubted, but how to 
reach them was the question. Had there been a central 
body to which to refer, much, very much wasted time 
and useless effort might have been saved. However, 
no stone was left unturned, no avenue untried, in the 
search to find the proper representative women and to 
interest them in the project. 

But it required untiring energy, earnest zeal and enor- 
mous labor. Their efforts were rewarded by hearty 
response and sympathy from a few, and a growing inter- 
est from many, which showed that they were but 
embodying in concrete form a latent feeling and want. 
In view of the last three days, I venture to say a glori- 
ous success has crowned their efforts. But I repeat, it 
took almost a year of continued, repeated, unceasing and 
untiring, determined and disinterested hard work to 
bring about this success. The interest and enthusiasm 
shown the past days has caused all, everything to be 

Organization — American. 247 

forgotten but the joy in this magnificent realization of 
their almost Utopian desires and dreams. The economy 
of time, of toil, of energy, which would have resulted 
from the existence of an organization reaching in all 
directions is, I am sure, sufficiently manifest to you and 
needs no insistence. 

In the course of its work, the lack of many things 
impressed itself on the Committee. 

The lack of a proper understanding of our position, 
our responsibility, our duty and our time, the lack of 
widespread knowledge of our history, and even of our 
ethics, of those things wherein we difier from other 
religions, of the difference that the broken gates of the 
Ghetto have made, and of the specter of indifference 
that, like a worm in the bud, is sapping our vitality, 
and which, unless stamped out, will, by the inertia it 
induces, sink us through the quicksands of apathy to 

Then it was that the Committee determined that the 
Congress should flash a light into the darkness, that it 
should be a voice to proclaim our needs, our wants, our 
difficulties, our facilities, telling our women wherein we 
lack, calling to them in clarion tones: " Awake ! arise ! 
A new house is to be built in Israel, which shall be the 
home of all that is fine, and true, and pure, and beauti- 
ful. From it shall go forth an influence and power 
which shall uplift men, its atmosphere shall be sweetness 
and purity and light; it shall be builded on the firm rock 
of principle and unselfish love and Enthusiasm. It shall 
be a vehicle by which shall be conducted to the top 
the forces accumulated and accumulating in hidden 
reservoirs beneath the surface, and only waiting for an 
outlet to rush and mingle with the upper air, for a kiss 
of fire to burst into a flame aspiring to the stars, a beacon 
of pure light scattering the darkness like the rays of the 

248 JBWISH Women's Congrkss. 

morning sun, sending its messengers of life-giving 
warmth and brightness, of hope, and love, and beauty 
into every tiniest hidden nook and cranny of the earth." 

It was determined that the Congress should not be a 
mere ephemeral success, but that its memory should live 
in a lasting monument — a National Jewish Woman's 
Organization; an organization which shall unite in true 
fellowship and noblest endeavor all thinking Jewish 
women, which shall be a means and medium of inter- 
change of ideas and thoughts, and projects and services; 
which shall encourage jousts and tournaments of mind 
on ground where she o'erthrown shall rise like Antseus, 
with strength renewed from touch of mother earth; 
which through knowledge and experience shall beget 
wisdom, and from whose head shall spring Minerva-like 
a free and fiery spirit, animating, actuating, directing to 
all things good and true and beautiful. 

We need a wider organization. We have some organ- 
izations 'tis true, but you have seen that they are all con- 
fined to charity, they do for others — we need to be taught 
our duty to ourselves; they go and give — we need to be 
taught that to go and get is of equal importance, we 
need to be taught the value of the word mutual. The 
extremes of society receive more than their share of the 
world's attention. For the poor in pocket, in mind, in 
spirit, much is done; the rich in purse and intellect do 
much for themselves; the average woman is neglected. 
Her we desire and aim to reach. It is the average 
woman whose time is occupied in household duties, who 
needs an outside force to pull her out of her rut on the 
broader way of life. She has never done anything out- 
side of her home, not because she did not want to do 
anything; but because she had not time to do much, she 
has done nothing. Prove to her the possibilities for hap- 
piness to herself and others of her wasted half hours, 

Organization — American. 249 

and one round has been climbed on Jacob's ladder. Show 
to the individual the resources within himself. Wake 
what lies dormant. Rouse the desire to do. Provide an 
outlet for the new-born energy. Then through the indi- 
vidual, you have leavened the mass. 

It is not easy to overcome the obstacles which custom 
puts in the way of any new movement; it is well to parry 
her weapons in advance. Therefore, it is well to answer 
in advance some questions of protest: (i) Is organization 
necessary at all ? (2) Cannot, are not individuals doing 
as well ? It is a narrow and uninformed mind that asks 
these questions. I have tried to prove that it is more than 
justified; that it is demanded for man's prorgess. Indi- 
viduals, individual societies are doing good work, a larger 
organization can do more work, better work, quicker 

Again, we are in a time of transition and turmoil, new 
forces have been awakened, and are boiling beneath the 
surface. Among these is Woman. And the question 
arises: Will wider organization not take her away from 
Tier place in the home ? Is not the separation of women 
from men in work a disorganizing tendency? Is it not 
a step on the return to chaos and night, instead of toward 
harmony and light? Should not this great danger be 
stamped out in its incipiency ? Is it not separation instead 
of union? Are not men's interests and women's alike? 
Are not the interests of Jewish men and women alike, 
and the same as those of other men and women ? Why, 
then, if they organize at all, should they organize sepa- 
rately ? 

Certainly their interests are alike. No Jewish woman 
has any interest apart from any Jewish man, no man from 
any woman, no human being from any other human 
being. But the recognition and understanding of these 
interests are not always equally clear to both; sometimes 

250 Jewish Women's Congress. 

it is the man who sees the way more clearly, sometimes 
it is the woman whose spiritual eye discerns through the 
mist and cloud the steep and narrow path which must 
be followed. Whichever thus discerns and acts is doing 
the right; thought and discernment alone never accom- 
plished much in this world, but thought and action 
together, whether combined in one or many. I repeat, 
whichever discerns and acts, takes the first step, is justi- 
fied by the purpose in the step — nay more — should and 
must take that step, and go on until the correctness of 
vision is proved or disproved. 

It will not take her away from the home. That place 
will and must remain first and most sacred to her. 
When, in the economy of the globe, an allwise Creator 
made male and female, and assigned them varied func- 
tions and duties, this variety of function and duty 
became a law of being, and no advance of civilization 
can change these functions nor abrogate these duties. 
The lines of their duties may, nay, do run parallel, but 
can never converge. No two beings are constituted 
exactly alike, their tendencies are different; similarly, 
men and women differ, only in greater degree. This 
fact must never be lost from sight. Circumstances may 
so modify these tendencies and aptitudes, heredity, 
training, and what not, may so modify them, that the 
work produced by individual men and women may be 
the same, but for the majority, the fields of labor will 
always be separated. Open wide as you will the door 
into these fields, the law of nature will keep each in his 
just and proper sphere, and will no more allow men and 
women to rush into them equally, than it will ever allow 
individuals or men and women to become mere inter- 
changeable units in the mass of humankind. Granting, 
then, that their lines of work and duty run parallel, the 
goal they are trying to reach is not a point, but a broad. 

Organization — American. 251 

high plane. The lines run so close together that they 
influence each other's motion, sometimes faster, some- 
times slower, each responds to each. What does it 
matter which changes place or direction so long as it 
leads to the goal, and the movement of one means the 
speedy answering movement of the other — means soon 
a joint movement of both ? It is diflFerentiation for the 
sake of a higher union. Therefore are women justified 
in organizing separately. They act with men where 
men's insight and justice allow them so to act. But 
where they are excluded from regions whither the law 
of their nature sends them, they are banding together 
in solid phalanx to conquer what is refused their neces- 
sity; they are but hastening the time when men and 
women will know that before they are men and women 
they are human beings, and as such, each will follow 
the special law of his being first — then speak and act 
and work together where they may. But are Jews justi- 
fied in acting separately ? 

Jews are justified in organizing because environment, 
heredity, social conditions and prejudice within as much 
as without their ranks sweep before their doors an accu- 
mulation of material, through which it is their duty to 
cut a way to the great green common and the invigorat- 
ing air of the eternal heights of true freedom; free and 
healthy development and intercourse of head, hand and 
heart, of mind and soul. 

As men and women we should and must and do take 
interest and action in all that concerns men and women; 
but as Jews, holding fast to one great faith, certain prob- 
lems are forced upon us to be solved which present 
themselves to no one else — certain circumstances and 
conditions, certain privileges and duties, certain aptitudes 
and powers are ours, and therefore certain work lies 
before us, peculiarly our own, demanding our first 

252 Jewish Women's Congress. 

attention. Do you still ask, Are Jewish women justi- 
fied in acting separately ? Does it need additional proof? 
We all grant that there is work to do. Do Jewish men 
see it and refuse or neglect to act, or do they not see the 
great needs of the times ? Do women see them ? Then 
let them act at once. The men will soon follow and 
join us. 

Do some claim that organization will separate us more 
from the world ? I answer, It will not. We must look 
facts in the face. We are separated from the rest of 
mankind by barriers which must be broken down, broken 
by forces from within and forces from without. An 
organization can and will but hasten and help to raze 
this wall about us. It will separate us no more than 
heart and hand are separated because they are not doing 
the same thing. We are all members of that great 
organization of which the all-pervading Spirit of the 
universe is head, which works for truth and justice and 
righteousness. And we, by working under its guidance, 
not for the Jews alone, but for the elevation and progress 
of mankind, will join hands with those outside the wall, 
whose end and aim are one with ours, and through our 
combined efforts the wall will be undermined, and must 

It is maintained that an organization must have a 
definite purpose. I can see looming up in the distance 
purposes in plenty, beckoning with fingers of golden 

First and foremost, let one purpose be, to study the 
causes and conditions of this so-called separation; let us 
learn to know ourselves; then to knowledge let us add 
discernment and disinterestedness that we may find the 
best and quickest way to obliterate dividing lines. Let 
us study our history and our literature, and their bearing 
on our character and position. Religion, true religion, 

Organization — American. 253 

witli which every thought and action are connected, is 
in woman's hand, because the inward life, the home, is 
what she makes it; therefore, it is eminently fit that from 
her should come the impulse to study more closely the 
underlying principles of her religion. I^et us look into 
their very heart in order that we may know exactly 
where we stand, that we may know them in every phase 
of their development. I^et each and every one among 
us know that they make us one with all the world, that 
they hold the springs of all moral life, the living germ 
of all morality. Let us learn, that all may judge intelli- 
gently, that we may cling to the old faith, not because 
we were born into it, but because we are convinced that 
for us it is the only possible belief or act. L,et us encour- 
age a deeper study of that book, our book, which has 
been the bread of life to half the civilized world, because 
it contained the story of the eternal springs of action of 
men, the records of nobility of soul and character, of 
faith and patience, integrity and bravery and high truth, 
those things which command men's admiration and emu- 
lation through all time. 

The Jew of the Ghetto was cut off from almost every- 
thing but his religion; he made of that, almost exclu- 
sively, his study, his inspiration, his joy. The high 
walls of the Ghetto thrown down, the burst of sunlight 
proved too much for his unaccustomed eyes. His sight 
was dazzled, blurred. In the endeavor to reach the 
many enticing objects disclosed to his view, he lost his 
hold on the old joys; they looked different to him now 
from what they had looked in the dim Ghetto light. His 
well-known love of learning caused him to rush to the 
new founts to drink and to neglect the old springs of 
inspiration. Two things have resulted — the one a party 
clinging to the old forms, many now grown meaningless, 
lest in losing the form, the spirit too should escape; the 

254 Jewish Women's Congress. 

other sinking slowly but surely from indiflference through 
apathy into a heavy sleep, akin to death. L,et us blow 
the trumpet whose magnetic tones shall waken to new 
life and joy and gladness the beautifrtl, slumbering spirit 
of Judaism. I<et us prove that ours is a progressive 
religion, whose liquid character molds itself to every 
form that time or change can produce. Jews associated 
• in bondage have carried their principle high and unsul- 
lied through Cimmerian gloom; now let us show what 
Jews associated in freedom will do. 

Having studied our history, our literature, our re- 
ligion, let us apply our knowledge for the progress of 
the world. Our Sabbath Schools need attention. I^et 
us make of them not mere religious schools for children, 
but schools for the study of religion in its broadest 
sense. Let the magic armor of knowledge there gained 
shield our faith against the sword strokes of secular 

A second purpose shall be the study of our social 
conditions and relations, to study our own needs and the 
needs of those less fortunate than ourselves; and having 
studied, to supply them. L,et us grind the ax which 
shall free those bound by the shackles of ignorance and 

A wide territory lies before us in the immigrants 
whom Russian persecution is forcing to our shores. So 
accustomed are we to our freedom that we scarcely 
realize the shock, which contact with our own free air 
must be to them. It dazes or intoxicates them. These 
people brought up where every man's hand is against 
them, and therefore theirs against every man, need our 
help to keep them sane. We and we alone can raise 
them, because experience has taught them to distrust all 
who do not hold to their faith, causes them often to 
refuse aid proffered with the noblest intention, because 

Organization — American. 255 

they fear the iron hand in the velvet glove. To bend 
every effort to lift them out of their slough of suspicion 
and prejudice and meanness should be our desire, is our 
duty. Freedom, possession, carries with it obligations; 
if we do not fulfil these obligations, the penalty will 
come upon us none the less because our sins are sins 
of omission, not of commission. In order to fulfil our 
duty to these unfortunates who suffer torture, exile/ 
death for their convictions, we must understand them. 
Their standards are not our standards, their ways are 
not our ways, and only by close contact, study and 
attention, can we get that insight into the " not our own," 
which is the condition of useful and effectual work. 

If our watchword be not charity, which has come to 
be almost synonymous with alms, and leaves a sting 
behind, but Philanthropy — love of our fellows, the 
sympathy which holds healing balm for all our wounds, 
and in whose wake follows a doubled happiness, numer- 
ous luminous ways to do our duty will open to us. 

It shall be our purpose, not to increase the number of 
existing institutions to their detriment, drawing nour- 
ishment from. the old and worthy to the new, thus crip- 
pling both, but to concentrate, organize and aid those 
deserving with our might, to plant new ideas in them, 
and to start new institutions where there is a crying 
need for them. In doing this, it shall be our business 
to further and emphasize so-called preventive work, it 
shall be ours to proclaim to all, the truth which the 
popular mind has crystallized into the homely proverb, 
" An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." 

Do we need a Jewish organization for this ? No; and 
yes. No, for there are chances plenty for us to study 
this fine ship moving in the social horizon. Yes, because 
we and we alone can show it to many whose line of 
vision is too short or too narrow to behold it. 

256 Jewish Women's Congress. 

It shall be our purpose and our pleasure to preach the 
gospel of recreation — re-creation to all who need to hear; 
to the unenlightened of every age and condition, that 
they may know that all work and no play makes Jack a 
dull boy, but worse, that all play and no work makes 
Jack an evil boy; that each may know the meaning of 
rest — not sleep, which induces heaviness and dullness, 
but change of occupation, which brings into play the 
faculties that have lain idle, which induces rounded 
growth, adds skill and quickness to mind and hand, 
raises the tide of life, keeps the spirits high, brings 
brightness to the eye, smiles to the face and lightness to 
the soul. 

" Man cannot live by bread alone." The toiler needs 
to be led to the enjoyment of his mental faculties; he 
whose life is spent amid the practical, the material, the 
sordid, must have his thoughts turned to the ideal — 
music, reading, pleasant converse should be brought to 
the doors of all workers. But quite as needful is it for 
the idler to know that only by contact with the worker, 
for the dreamer to know that only by grasping the real, 
can full happiness or rounded character be attained. 

We cannot too much or too deeply contemplate the 
ideal, for only the marriage of the ideal with the prac- 
tical, produces the wealth of the world and adds to it. 
From the perfect blending of the two, results the noblest 
character; while according as one or the other prevails, 
it is great or little. To begin to satisfy ideal wants 
tends to their realization; for it is a law of nature that 
they propagate themselves; they hold within themselves 
an inexhaustible fount of reproduction, while sensual 
wants cloy with satisfaction, and feed on their own 
energy to annihilation. 

It shall be our purpose to do the work of education in 
its broadest sense — to lead forth to the day and to 

Organization — American. 257 

activity whatever of ability we in our search can find; 
to make it like the wind carrying the germs of growth 
and beautiful blossoming where'er it touches; to teach 
the obligation of possession, the duty and value of per- 
sonal service. Bring forth those who have energy or 
talent or enthusiasm or power of expression to move 
men's souls, and a new force which will eternally per- 
sist for good has been quickened into life. 

It shall be first and above all our purpose to create an 
exchange, where all thinking women in Israel, standing 
on the common ground of their religious convictions, 
shall meet and enjoy each other's uncommon ideas and 
aims and plans, whence such ideas and plans and pro- 
jects may be sent on a journey of success, impelled by 
the unfailing force of thinking, active women banded 
together to forward the cause of progress and social re- 
form. Its meetings shall give free scope to the power 
that lies in the human voice and countenance, to the free 
and full personal contact which generates the electric 
spark of interest, of enthusiasm, of accomplishment; 
shall make place for and give free play to the exercise 
of that potent quality which we call personal magnet- 
ism, which draws adherents for a cause as the magnet 
does iron; shall encourage and sow the seed of that 
noble friendship and fellowship which will be a potent 
factor to obliterate all trace of the ignoble prejudice of 
class and caste which, we must sadly admit, exists even 
among ourselves. Such meetings can accomplish more 
in one day than can be done in months of work apart; 
can make of an idea a propaganda, which any amount 
of writing or reading might be powerless to do. 

Friends, a great opportunity is ours. Let us under- 
stand it. I,et us live up to it. Others have died for 
Judaism; let us live for it — a harder task. There is 
indifference in our ranks, there is narrowness, there is 

258 jBwisH Women's Congress. 

ignorance within and without them. I^et us apply the 
torch of knowledge and enthusiasm to them. We may 
encounter opposition, tradition will plant itself in our 
path, apathy will drag our feet. I/et them be burned 
away by our ardor. On the wings of a mighty purpose 
let us soar above and beyond them all and every obstacle. 
This Congress has given us pleasure, has given us mental 
and spiritual profit, has cemented friendships, has opened 
our hearts to new joys — let them live again and yet 
again, gathering beauty as they grow, leaving beauty and 
perfume and efflorescence in their path. The Congress 
has clarified for us things that were dull or blurred. L^et 
it not be like a meteor in the sky, leaving no trace be- 
hind. We are in the labyrinth of a transition period. 
I/Ct the Congress be the thread to lead us out of it. We 
are in the throes of doubt. L,et us prove they are not 
the precursors of disintegration but of re-adaptation, of 
a new birth. On the bridge of the Congress, let us walk 
from the dead level of growing apathy to the beautiful 
rising slope, to sunlit heights of fire and activity. The 
time no longer shouts in the ear of the Jew, "Thou 
shalt not ! " but " Thou shalt ! " Let us be the first to 
obe3' its thundering summons. Let us be the first to do 
and to dare. Let us understand and fulfil our duty, our 
responsibility. By organized work alone can we do 
this. Our individual efforts are but as tiny rivulets 
making oases in the desert, then losing themselves in 
the sand; they can be, if we will, a mighty river, to make 
the desert rejoice and blossom as the rose, transforming 
the wilderness into a garden of delight. Not again may 
we have together so many women from all parts of our 
country, drawn hither for the purpose of representing 
Judaism at its best. Let us strike while the iron is hot. 
Let us form an organization whose object shall be the 
spreading the understanding of and devotion to the 

Organization — American. 259 

highest type of Judaism, in whose service shall be put 
every faculty of our being. I^et us prove that it is 
synonymous with the highest type of man; that in serv- 
ing Judaism, we are but doing our part with system, 
sense and insight toward bringing about that religion 
which shall be neither Jewish nor Christian, but human, 
humane, divine, which shall be known by no name but 
that of the Religion of Humanity, God's own religion. 
It behooves us above all others to teach the beautiful 
and eternal truth of interdependence and unity, to teach 
that not the smallest act or thought of one of us, a drop 
in the ocean of humanity, but the waves carry to every 
other drop, to every grain of sand that touches on its 
shores. Let our actions cover its surface with a glow- 
ing phosphorescence surrounding the ship of life. 

Our heritage is a vineyard, a royal vintage lies buried 
there. With the spade of organization let us stir the 
earth, and put new mould to the roots, that it may bring 
forth an hundredfold. 

We need united effort, mutual approach, extension of 
intercourse — ^let us form an organization which shall 
make this possible; an organization whose platform 
shall be so broad, that all, of whatever age or condition, 
of whatever shade of belief, or opinion, can walk thereon 
in noble fellowship; whose purpose shall be a stimulus 
and stimulant, a constant source of heat and motion and 
activity; whose meetings shall give full and free expres- 
sion to the thoughts, desires, needs and plans of our 
age; its bond of union shall annihilate space and time, 
shall create a sentiment to be contented only by the best 
there is, a sentiment which will bring in its train demand 
and satisfaction. It shall concentrate our energies, make 
our strength as the strength of the oak to stand and the 
willow to bend before the storm; it shall make way for 
hidden talents, and apply them, shall insure full and 

26o Jewish Women's Congress. 

rounded growth, shall turn the light of truth into the dark- 
ness, and prove that we are one with the aims and ideals 
of the world, that the exceptional among us is but the 
stronger expression of the average. Let us be pioneers^ 
working with hand and heart and head and voice and 
purse, unfurling to the wind the banner on which is 
graven: " Know thyself — learn and propagate the best 
there is." But let there be no misunderstanding. It is 
not learning we must seek for its own sake, erudition 
in and for itself we are not seeking, but knowledge 
which shall enable us to satisfy those higher needs^ 
which transform life from mere existence ' to joy and 
gladness and beauty. It is not our intention to rush 
into wild projects of reform. No Utopian schemes of 
immediate regeneration are seething in our brains. But 
only to do what we feel our force, our capacit)', our 
principles make possible for us to do; only to place 
within the grasp of those who may be tied to the tread- 
mill of daily work those highest ideals toward which,, 
from the best that is in us, there is a constant stream. 

But it is the nature of ideals never to be reached. 
They are the stars in the nightly firmament. Yet, 
" Hitch your wagon to a star;" not that you may lie 
down in listless inactivity — if you do, the star will take 
you to the zenith, 'tis true, but only to plunge you on its 
downward course into darkness and night. No; hitch 
your wagon to a star that your eyes and hands and mind 
may be left free to gather energy in your flight through 
time, that when you reach the zenith you may have 
force to leave the star behind, and continue on your 
upward journey to heights no star can reach, which can 
be attained only by the human soul striving for the 

Then let us marry the practical with the ideal, that 
it may produce wealth, mental, moral, spiritual. Let 

Organization — American. 261 

our ambition be unlimited, our enthusiasm infinite; 
wben it comes to practical work, let no prospect of 
trouble or sacrifice make our .hands fall in despair, but 
let us remember that in union is strength to do and to 
bear. , I/Ct us not dissipate our forces by overtaxing 
individual effort, but shoulder to shoulder let us climb 
one step at a time, slowly and surely. The time is ripe; 
isolated movements show it; but it is not isolated acts, 
it is their combined and blended effect which tells for 

Therefore, oh, friends, let not this plea be in vain. 
Ivct none think himself small or insignificant. Let none 
wait, but each help to give momentum to this impetus 
of the Congress. IvCt none forget that we may be a power 
for good, and we will. There is ignorance, there is 
prejudice outside our ranks — no words can conquer 
them. We must conquer them by our deeds. To you 
who are apathetic I say, "Awake from your lethargy." 
To you who are interested, enthusiastic, I say, " There 
is work to do; there are others whom you must interest." 
Remember, " There never was a great or commanding 
movement in the annals of the world but is the triumph 
of enthusiasm." Let us realize the vision of past and 
future. The Congress has launched this ship of organi- 
zation; it is yours to propel her on the river of life. 
Equip her with enthusiasm, like the grand ship of the 
Republic in the MacMonnies fountain at our great 
World's Fair. Let zeal, earnestness, courage and perse- 
verance, knowledge, work, faith and love be the rowers 
to send her on her way — ^high to the fore seat the radi- 
ant young form of your purpose, with her straight, strong 
back of an iron determination, her head proudly erect, 
in her hand the staff of dignity and power. Place the 
past at the rudder; from the prow let the spirit of the 
future trumpet forth the glad tidings of the coming of 

262 Jewish Women's Congress. 

this new splendid beauty into tlie world. High above 
all let shine the sun of your union. Individual efforts are 
like the elemental colors of the dawn, serving to make 
the darkness visible. Let your organization be the prism 
to convert them into that pure, brilliant, piercing white 
light whose shafts alone can penetrate and divide the 
gloom of ignorance and apathy and hostility, like the 
staff of Moses at the Red Sea, an undying light and 
glory, which shall persist for truth and beauty and good- 
ness even through all time. 


After the reading of the paper on Organization by 
Miss Sadie American, the chairman called a business 
meeting to consider the advisability of forming a per- 
manent organization, and to transact such other business 
as might be necessary. 

The following resolutions were presented by Miss 
Julia Richman, of New York, and were unanimously 
adopted. To wit: 

Whereas^ The officers and members of the general com- 
mittee of the Jewish Women's Religious Congress have, 
by their earnest and untiring efforts, made this conven- 
tion so brilliantly successful, and 

Whereas, These same officers and members have so 
generously extended the hand of friendship as well as 
that of courteous hospitality to the visiting essayists and 
delegates, and 

Whereas, These visiting essayists and delegates recog- 
nize, and thoroughly and gratefully appreciate the hearti- 
ness of their welcome and entertainment, therefore be it 

Resolved, That the visiting essayists and delegates offer 
a cordial vote of thanks to the chairman and the mem- 
bers of the general committee for their zeal and labor in 
organizing the Congress, and for the wami-hearted recep- 
tion tendered to those invited to participate in the Con- 
gress; and be it furthermore 

Resolved, That, in recognition of this and other obliga- 
tions, the visiting essayists and delegates pledge them- 
selves to the support of any permanent organization, 
which shall be the outgrowth of this Congress. 


264 Jewish Women's Congress. 

Upon motion it was unanimously decided to publish 
the entire proceedings of the Congress. 

The chairman appointed as the committee on publica- 

Miss Richman, of New York, chairman. 

Mrs. H. Frank, of Chicago. 

Mrs. C. S. Benjamin, of Denver 

Miss Cohen, of Philadelphia. 

Miss Szold, of Baltimore. 

Miss Richman then oflFered the following resolution, 
which was seconded: 

Whereas, It is desirable that the zeal, energy, and 
loyalty to the cause of Judaism which have been evinced 
by the Jewish women of America in the preparations for 
and the discharge of the duties connected with this Con- 
gress be turned to permanent good; and 

Whereas, This is an opportune time to establish closer 
bonds to draw together the Jewish women of America; 
therefore be it 

Resolved, That this Congress resolve itself into a per- 
manent organization to be known as the Jewish Women's 
Union, for the purpose of teaching all Jewish women 
their obligations to the Jewish religion. 

Mrs. Rosenberg, of Allegheny, oflfered an amendment 
changing the name to " Columbian Union." Seconded; 

The original resolution was then presented, and after 
the expression of opinion that the platform outlined 
therein was too narrow, it was lost. 

Miss American, of Chicago, then presented the follow- 
ing resolution: 

Resolved, That we, Jewish women, sincerely believing 
that a closer fellowship will be encouraged, a closer 
unity of thought and sympathy and purpose, and a 
nobler accomplishment will result from a widespread 

Report of the Business Meeting. 265 

organization, do therefore band ourselves together in a 
union of workers to further the best and highest interests 
of Judaism and humanity, and do call ourselves the 
" National Council of Jewish Women." 

Seconded and adopted. 

It was then moved and seconded that the chairman 
appoint a committee to draw up resolutions defining the 
objects of the new organization. Carried. 

The chairman thereupon appointed: 

Mrs. Minnie D. Louis, of New York; 

Mrs. Henrietta G. Frank, of Chicago; 

Miss Witkowsky, of Chicago; 

Miss American, of Chicago. 

The committee retired to deliberate, and during its 
absence letters of encouragement were read from Dr. S. 
Morals, of Philadelphia; Mrs. Nina Morals Cohen, of 
Minneapolis; Mrs. J. Steinem, of Toledo, Ohio, and the 
following from Mrs. Palmer: 

My Dear Madam: — I beg to express to the Jewish 
Women's Congress my sincere appreciation of their great 
kindness in presenting me with the beautiful souvenir, 
recently received through your committee. 

I also desire to extend my cordial thanks for their 
words of appreciation and interest in our work, and to 
assure you that it is very pleasing to receive this evi- 
dence of approval from the women of our country. 

I beg you will express to your committee and to the 
women of your Congress my renewed thanks for their 
kindness, and with best wishes for the success of your 
Congress and kind regards to yourself, I am. 
Very sincerely yours, 

Bertha Honore; Palmer, 

Pres't., E. I,. M. 

Mrs. Henry SoIvOmon, 

Chairman Committee of Jewish Women's Congress. 

266 Jewish Women's Congress. 

Dr. E. G. Hirsh spoke urging the women on to 
active work. 

Mrs. Harris moved a unanimous vote of thanks to 
the ladies of tlie Jewish Women's Committee. Seconded 
and carried. 

It was moved and seconded that the full proceed- 
ings of this Congress be published in pamphlet form. 

Mrs. Moyer, of BufiFalo, moved that a committee be 
appointed to draft resolutions of gratitude and appre- 
ciation to be presented to Mrs. H. Solomon, Chairman 
of the Committee. 

(Mrs. Fanny Adler was called to the chair during the 
consideration of this motion.) The motion was sec- 
onded and carried, and the following committee ap- 

Mrs. Moyer, Buffalo. 

Mrs. Barbe, Chicago. 

Mrs. Wolf, Chicago. 

Mrs. Solomon thanked the women of Chicago for 
their hearty co-operation in making the Jewish Women's 
Congress a success. 

Mrs. Seelig expressed gratitude to the essayists for 
their work, and moved a vote of thanks to them. Sec- 
onded and carried. 

It was moved and seconded that a vote of thanks be 
tendered Mrs. Chas. Henrotin, Vice-President of the 
Auxiliary, for the interest shown in the work. Carried. 

The committee appointed to draft resohitions setting 
forth the objects of the National Council of Jewish 
Women, then reported, through its chairman, Mrs. 

The following resolution was presented and adopted: 

Resolved^ That the National Council of Jewish 
Women shall (i) seek to unite in closer relation women 

Report of thb Business Meeting. 267 

interested in the work of Religion, Philanthropy and 
Education and shall consider practical means of solving 
problems in these fields; shall (2) organize and encourage 
the study of the underlying principles of Judaism; the his- 
tory, literature and customs of the Jews, and their bear- 
ing on their own and the world's history; shall (3) apply 
knowledge gained in this study to the improvement of 
the Sabbath Schools, and in the work of social reform; 
shall (4) secure the interest and aid of influential persons 
in arousing the general sentiment against religious per- 
secutions, wherever, whenever, and against whomever 
shown, and in finding means to prevent such persecutions. 

A motion was then made, seconded and carried, that 
the meeting proceed to the election of officers. 

Mrs. H. Solomon was nominated for President, and 
elected by acclamation in a rising vote. 

It was moved and seconded that there be one Vice- 
President for each State in the Union. Carried. 

The following ladies were then nominated and elected: 

Mrs. Babette Mandel for Illinois. 

Mrs. Julia K. Simpson for New York. 

Mrs. Carrie S. Benjamin for Colorado. 

Miss Goldie Bamber for Massachusetts. 

Mrs. Pauline H. Rosenberg for Pennsylvania, 

It was moved and seconded that the President be 
empowered to appoint the other Vice-Presidents. 

Miss Sadie American was nominated as Corresponding 
Secretary, and elected by acclamation. 

Mrs. Sadie Leopold, Miss Felsenthal, and Mrs. I/. J. 
Wolf were nominated for Recording Secretary. Mrs. 
Leopold and Miss Felsenthal withdrew in favor of Mrs. 
Wolf, who was then elected unanimously. 

Mrs. J. Harry Seelig was nominated and elected as 

268 Jewish Women's Congress. 

It was moved and seconded that a Board of Directors 
be appointed by the President. Carried. 

It was moved and seconded that, as soon as may be, 
a Constitution be drafted, and that a copy, with a circu- 
lar setting forth the desirability of organizing, be sent 
through the land. Carried. 

It was moved and seconded that the proceedings of 
Wednesday evening be printed, and sent to Secretary 
of State Gresham. Carried. 

Miss Ray Frank, of Oakland, then offered a prayer, 
after which the Chairman declared the Congress 



Introduction by the Chairman. Hannah G. Solomon 3 

Programme of the Congress 6 

Prayer. Ray Frank 8 

Address. Ellen M. Henrotin 9 

Address by the Chairman. Hannah G. Solomon 10 

■White Day of Peace. Miriam del Banco 13 

Jewish Women of Biblical and of Mediaaval Times. Louise 

Mannheimer 15 

Jewish Women of Modem Days. Helen Kahn Weil 26 

Discussion by Henrietta G. Frank 43 

Woman in the Synagogue. Ray Frank 52 

Influence of the Discovery of America on the Jews. Pauline 

H. Rosenberg 66 

Discussion by Esther Witkowsky 74 

by Mary Newbury Adams 77 

Women Wage-Workers: with Reference to Directing Immi- 
grants. Julia Richm,an 91 

Discussion by Sadie G. Leopold 108 

The Influence of the Jewish Religion on the Home. Mary M. 

Cohen 115 

Discussion by Julia I. Felsenthal 122 

Israel to the World in Greeting. Cora Wilbum 129 

Charity as Taught by the Mosaic Law. Eva L. Stem 133 

Woman's Place in Charitable Work: What it is and what it 

should be. Carrie Shevelson 145 

Discussion by Goldie Bamber 157 

by R. W. Navra 163 



Address by the Chairman. Hannah G. Solomon i65 

Presentation of Hymn Book. E. Frank i68 

Mission Work among the Unenlightened Jews. Minnie D. 

Louis 170 

Discussion by Rebekah Kohut 187 

How can Nations be Influenced to Protest or Interfere in Cases 

of Persecution ? Laura Davis Jacobson 196 

Discussion by Lillie Hirshfield 210 

Letter by George Kennan 216 

Organization. Sadie American 218 

Report of the Business Meeting 263 


of the 

Jewish Publication Society of America. 

Outlines of Jewish History. From the Return from Babylon to the 
Present Time. By Lady Magnus. (Revised by M. Friedlander.) 

Think and Thank. By Samuel W. Cooper. 

Rabbi and Priest. By Milton Goldsmith. 

The Persecution of the Jews in Russia. Voegele's Marriage 
and other Tales. By Louis Schnabel. 

Children of the Ghetto: Being Pictures of a Peculiar People. 

By I. Zangwill. 
Some Jewish Women. By Henry Zimdorf. 
Sabbath Hours — Thoughts. By Liebman Adler. 
History of the Jews. By Professor H. Graetz. 
Vol. I. From the Earliest Period to the Death of Simon the Maccabee 

(135 B. C. E). 
Vol. II. From the Reign of Ilyrcanus to the Completion of the Babylonian 

Tahnud (500 C. E.). 
Vol. III. From the Completion of the Babylonian Talmud to the Banish- 
ment of the Jews from England (1290 C. E.). 


All Publications for Sale by the Trade and at the 
Society's OfSce. 

Special Terms to Schools and Libraries. 

The Jewish Publication Society of America, 


p. o. BOX ite4. Philadelphia. Pa. 


From the Return from Babylon to the Present 
Time, 1890. 

with Three Maps, a Frontispiece and ChronoloKlcai Tables. 




The entire work is one of great interest ; it is written with moderation^ and yet with a 
fine enthusiasm for the great race which is set before the reader's mind.— Atlantic Monthly. 

We doubt whether there is in the English language a better sketch of Jewish history. 
The Jewish Publication Society is to be congratulated on the successful opening of iis 
career. Such a movement, so auspiciously begun, deserves the hearty support of the public. 
•■^Nation (New York), 

Of universal historical interest. — Philadelphia Ledger ^■' 

Compresses much in simple language. — Baltimore Sun. 

Though full of sympathy for her own people, it is not without a singular value for 
readers whose religious belief differs from that of the author. — New York, 

One of the clearest and most compact works of its class produced in modem times.— 
New York Sun. 

The Jewish Publication Society of America has not only conferred a favor upon all 
young Hebrews, but also upon all Gentiles who desire to see the Jew as he appears to 
himself. — Boston Herald, 

We know of no single-volume history which gives a better idea of the remarkable part 
played by the Jews in ancient and modern history. — San Francitco Chronicle, 

A succinct, well-written history of a wonderful race. — Buffalo Courier. 

The best hand-book of Jewish history that readers of any class can find. — New York 

A convenient and attractive hand-book of Jewish history. — Cleveland Plain Dealer. 

The work is an admirable one, and as a manual of Jewish history it may be commended 
to persons of every race and ox^^d,— Philadelphia Times. 

Altogether it would be difficult to find another book on this subject containing so much 
information. — American (Philadelphia). 

Lady Magnus' book is a valuable addition to the store-house of literature that we 
already have about the Jews. — Charleston (5, C.) News. 

We should like to see this volume in the library of every school in the Stxtc.^Aliany 

A succinct, helpful portrayal of Jewish history. — Boston Post. 

Bound in Cloth. Price, postpaid, $1.25. 



A Tale for the Voung, Narrating in Romantic Form the 
Boyhood of Sir Moses Montefiore. 




A graphic and interesting story^ full of incident and adventure, with an admirable spirit 
attending it consonant with the kindly and sweet, though courageous and energetic temper 
of the distinguished philanthropist. — American (Philadelphia), 

THINK AND THANK is a most useful corrective to race prejudice. It is also 
deeply interesting as a biographical sketch of a distinguished 'EngVi&luaaii.— Philadelphia 

A fine book for boys of any class to read. — Public Opinion (Washington). 

It will have especial interest for the boys of his race> but all school boys can well afford 
to read it and profit by \\..^Alhany Evening Journal. 

Told simply and well. — New York Sun. 

An excellent story for children. — Indianapolis Journal. 

The old as well as the young may learn a lesson from it —Jewish Exponent. 

It is a thrilling story exceedingly well told. — American Israelite. 

The book is written in a plain, simple style, and is well adapted for Sunday-school 
libraries.— yew mA Spectator. 

It is one of the very few books in the English language which can be placed in the 
hands of a Jewish boy with the assurance of arousing and maintaining his interest. — 
Hebrew Journal. 

Intended for the young, but may well be read by their elders,— ZJ^/rozV Free Press. 

Bright and attractive reading. — Philadelphia Press. 

THINK AND THANK will please boys, and it will be found popular in Sunday- 
school libraries.— iWw York Herald. 

The story is a beautiful one, and gives a clear insight into the circumstances, the 
training and the motives that gave impulse and enei^y to the life-work of the great philan- 
thropist. — Kansas City Times. 

We should be glad to know that this little book has a large circulation among Gentiles 
as well as among the " chosen people." It has no trace of religious bigotry about it, and 
its perusal cannot but serve to make Christian and Jew better known to each other. — 
Philadelphia Telegraph. 

Bound in Cloth. Price, postpaid, 75c. 




The author has attempted to depict faithfully the customs and practices 
of the Russian people and government in connection with the Jewish popula- 
lation of that country. The book is a strong and well written story. We 
read and suffer with the sufferers. — Public Opinion (Washington, D. C). 

Although addressed to Jews, with an appeal to them to seek freedom 
and peace in America, it ought to be read by humane people of all races and 
religions. Mr. Goldsmith is a master of English, and his pure style is one of 
the real pleasures of the story. — Philadelphia Bulletin. 

The book has the merit of being well written, is highly entertaining, and 
it cannot fail to prove of interest to all who may want to acquaint themselves 
in the matter of the condition of affairs that has recently been attracting uni- 
versal attention. — San Francisco Call. 

Rabbi and Priest has genuine worth, and is entitled to a rank among the 
foremost of its class. — Minneapolis Tribune. 

The writer tells his story from the Jewish standpoint, and tells it well. — 
St. Louis Republic. 

The descriptions of life in Russia are vivid and add greatly to the charm 
of the book. — Buffalo Courier. 

A very thrilling story. — Charleston (S. C.) News. 

Very like the horrid tales that come from unhappy Russia. — New Orleam 

The situations are dramatic ; the dialogue is spnitd..— Jewish Messenger 
(New York). 

A history of passing events in an interesting form. — Jewish Tidings 

Rabbi and Priest will appeal to the sympathy of every reader in its 
touching simplicity and truthfulness. — Jewish Spectator (Memphis), 

Bound In Cloth. Price, postpaid, $1.00. 



Also, an Appendix, giving an Abridged Summary of Laws, Special 

and Restrictive, relating to the Jews in Russia, 

brought down to the year iSgo. 


The pamphlet is full of facts, and will inform people very fully in regard 
to the basis of the complaints made by Jews against Russia. We hope it will 
be very widely circulated. — Public Opinion (Washington, D. C). 

The laws and regulations governing Jews in Russia, subjecting them to 
severe oppression, grievous restrictions and systematic persecution, are stated 
in condensed form with precise references, bespeaking exactness in compila- 
tion and in presenting the case of these unfortunate people. — Galveston News. 

This pamphlet supplies information that is much in demand, and which 
ought to be generally known in enlightened countries. — Cincinnati Com- 
mercial Gazette. 

Considering the present agitation upon the subject it is a very timely 
publication. — New Orleans Picayune. 

It is undoubtedly the most compact and thorough presentation of the 
Russo-Jewish question. — American Israelite (Cincinnati). 

Better adapted to the purpose of affording an adequate knowledge of the 
issues involved in, and the consequences of, the present great crisis in the afifairs 
of the Jews of Russia, than reams of rhetoric. — Hebrew Journal (New York). 

Paper. Price, postpaid, 25c. 

Voegele's JIapriage and Other Tales. 



A series of nine ■well--written short stories, based upon love and 
religion, which make quite interesting reading. — Burlington Hawk- 

A pamphlet containing several sketches full of high moral 
principle, and of quite interesting developments of simple human 
emergencies. — Public Opinion (Washington, D. C). 

Interesting alike to Hebrew and Gentile. — Minneapolis Tribune. 

In addition to being interesting, is written with a purpose, and 
carries with it a wholesome lesson. — San Francisco Call. 

This a collection of brief stories of Jewish life, some of which 
are of great interest, while all are well written. — Charleston {S. C.) 
News and Courier. 

This little volume as a whole is curious and interesting, aside 
from its claims to artistic vxmX..— American Bookseller (New York). 

Short tales of Jewish life under the oppressive laws of Eastern 
Europe, full of minute detail.— ^oo^ News (Philadelphia). 

Written in delightful style, somewhat in the manner of Kompert 
and Bernstein. ... To many the booklet will be a welcome 
visitor and be greatly relished.— i!f^«oraA Monthly (New York). 

These stories are permeated with the Jewish spirit which is charac- 
teristic of all Mr. Schnabel's •motks.— American Hebrew (New York). 

Paper. Price, postpaid, 250. 



Pictures of a Peculiar People. 


Th« art of a Hogarth or a Cruikshank could not have made types of character stand 
out with greater force or in bolder relief than has the pen of this author. — Philadelphia 

It is one of the best pictures of Jewish life and thought that we have seen since 
the publication of " Daniel Deronda." — London Pall Mall Gazette. 

This book is not a mere mechanical photographic reproduction of the people it describes^ 
but a glowing, vivid portrayal of them, with all the pulsating sympathy of one who under- 
stands them, their thoughts and feelings, with all the picturesque fidelity of the artist who 
appreciates the spiritual significance of tliat which he seeks to d^MTMZX&.^Hebrew Journal. 

Its sketches of character have the highest value. . . . Not often do we note a book 
BO fresh, true and in every way helpful.— Philadelphia Evening Telegraph. 

A strong and remarkable book. It is not easy to find a parallel to it. We do not know 
of any other novel which deals so fully and so authoritatively with Judsa in modem 
London. — Speaker (London). 

Among the notable productions of the time. . . . AH that is here protrayed is 
unquestionable truth.— y^zt/z^A Exponent (Philadelphia). 

Many of the pictures will be recognized at once by those who have visited I^ondon or 
are at all familiar with the life of that city. — Detroit Free Press. 

It is a succession of sharply-penned realistic portrayals.— ^a//iMi7r^ Afnerican, 

The study of this romance might teach many what is the Jew in the humbler sphere of 
life — how human he is, and how much he resembles his Christian brother. — New York 

A marvelous picture, ... so real that we feel and touch and ihrink from its 
wretchedness, its squalor, its cruel bigotry — and yet, the while acknowledging and bowing 
to its sublime endurance, its splendid arrogance of creed. — Hartford Courani. 

The pathetic descriptions and witty dialogue so skillfully intermingled clearly provfi the 
author's strength as a reader of human character. — Public C>/«ic« (Washington, D. C.). 

Mr. Zangwill, in these two volumes, carries the reader through a panorama which 
gradually broadens and gives a very clear and instructive insight into this remarkable 
people.— 5i(. Louis Republic. 

The book is without doubt one of the most notable works of fiction of the past year, 
and entitles its author to a high place among novelists.— AVzw Orleans Times Democrat. 

A cyclopedia of London Jewry, cast in the form of a oarrative. — Literary World 
(Boston). J J' J' 

Bound in Cloth. Price, postpaid, $2.50. 





Moral purity, nobility of soul, self-sacrifice, deep affection and devotion, 
sorrow and happiness all enter into these biographies, and the interest felt in 
their perusal is added to by the warmth and sympathy which the author 
displays and by his cultured and vigorous style of writing. — Philadelphia 

His methods are at once a simplification and expansion of Josephus and 
the Talmud, stories simply told, faithful presentation of the virtues, and not 
infrequently the vices, of characters sometimes legendary, generally real. — 

New York World. 

The lives here given are interesting in all cases, and are thrilling in some 
cases. — Public Opinion (Washington, D. C). 

The volume is one of universal historic interest, and is a portrayal of the 
early trials of Jewish women. — Boston Herald. 

Though the chapters are brief, they are clearly the result of deep and 
thorough research that gives the modest volume an historical and critical 
value — Philadelphia Times. 

It is an altogether creditable undertaking that the present author has brought 
to so gratifying a close — the silhouette drawing of Biblical female character 
against the background of those ancient historic times. — Minneapolis Tribune. 

Henry Zirndorf ranks high as a student, thinker and writer, and this little 
book will go far to encourage the study of Hellrew literature. — Denver 

The book is gracefully written, and has many strong touches of char- 
acterizations. — I'oledo Blade. 

The sketches are based upon available history and are written in clear 
narrative style. — Galveston News. 

Henry Zimdrrf has done a piece of work of much literary excellence 
in "Some Jewish Women." — St. Louis Post- Dispatch. 

It is an attractive book in appearance and full of curious biographical 
research. — Baltimore Sun. 

The writer shows careful research and conscientiousness in making his 
narratives historically correct and in giving to each heroine her just due. — 
American Israelite (Cincinnati). 

Bound in Cloth, Ornamental, Gilt Top. Price, postpaid, $1.25. 



Vol. I. From the Earliest Period to the Death of Simon the 
Maccabee (135 B. C. B.). 

Vol. II. From the Reign of Hyrcanus to the Completion of the 
Babylonian Talmud (500 C. E.). 

Vol. III. From the Completion of the Babylonian Talmud to the 
Banishment of the Jews from England (1290 C. B.). 


Frofe.ssor Graetz's History is universally accepted as a conscientious and 
reliable contribution to religious literature. — Philadelphia Telegraph, 

Aside from his value as a historian, he makes his pages charming by all 
the little side-lights and illustrations which only come at the beck of genius. — 
Chicago Inter- Ocean. 

The writer, who is considered by far the greatest of Jewish historians, is 
the pioneer in his field of work — history without theology or polemics . . . 
His monumental work promises to be the standard by which all other Jewish 
histories are to be measured by Jews for many years to come. — Baltimore 

Whenever the subject constrains the author to discuss the Christian 
religion, he is animated by a spirit not unworthy of the philosophic and high- 
minded hero of Lessing's "Nathan the Wise." — New York Sun. 

It is an exhaustive and scholarly work, for which the student of history has 
reason to be devoutly thankful. ... It will be welcomed also for the 
writer's excellent style and for the almost gossipy way in which he turns aside 
from the serious narrative to illumine his p^es with illustrative descriptions of 
life and scenery. — Detroit Free Press. 

One of the striking features of the compilation is its succinctness and 
rapidity of narrative, while at the same time necessary detail is not 
sacrificed. — Minneapolis Tribune. 

Whatever controversies the work may awaken, of its noble scholarship 
there can be no question. — Richmond Dispatch. 

If one desires to study the history of the Jewish people under the direc- 
tion of a scholar and pleasant writer who is in sympathy with his subject 
because he is himself a Jew, he should resort to the volumes of Graetz. — 
Review of Reviews (New York). 

Bound in Cloth. Price, postpaid, $3 per volume. 



By Liebman Adier. 


Rabbi AdIer was a man of strong and fertile mind, and his sermons are eminently 
readable. — Sunday School Tunes. 

As one turns from sermon to sermon, he gathers a wealth of precept, which, if he 
would practice, he would make both himself and others happier. We might quote from 
every page some noble utterance or sweet thought well worthy of the cherishing by either 
Jew or CYin%\\3Ji..~Rich9nond Dispatch. 

The topics discussed are in the most instances practical in their natiire. All are 
instructive, and passages of rare eloquence are of frequent occurrence.^5«» Francisco Call. 

The sermons are simple and careful studies, sometimes of doctrine, but more often of 
teaching and precept. — Chicago Times. 

He combined scholarly attainment with practical experience, and these sermons cover 
a wide range of subject. Some of them are singularly modern in toac.—Indianapoiis 

They are modern sermons, dealing with the problems of the day, and convey the inter- 
pretation which these problems should receive in the light of the Old Testament history. 
—Boston Herald. 

While this book is not without interest in those communities where there is no scarcity 
of religious teaching and influence, it cannot fail to be particularly so in those communities 
where there is but little Jewish teaching. — Baltitnore American. 

The sermons are thoughtful and earnest in tone and draw many forcible and pertinent 
lessons firom the Old Testament records. — Syracuse Herald, 

They are saturated with Bible lore, but every incident taken from the Old Testament is 
made to illustrate some truth in modem life. — San Francisco Chronicle^ 

They are calm and conservative, . . . applicable in their essential meaning to the 
modem religious needs of Gentile as well as Jew. In style they are eminently clear bnd 
direct. — Review of Reviews (New York). 

Able, forcible, helpful thoughts upon themes most essential to the prosperity of the 
family, society and the state.— ^Pw^/iV Opinion {Washington, D. C). 

They form a volume of rare value, and embody lessons of signal worth. They appeal 
to earnest and intelligent Jewish homes, both in spirit and ^xm-.—Jetuish Messenger (New 

Bound In Cloth. Price, postpaid, $1.25. 


JAN 1 5 flgg