Handwritten report from the Female Hebrew Benevolent Society, established in 1819 by Rebecca Gratz. The Female Hebrew Benevolent Society of Philadelphia remains the oldest Jewish charitable organization in continuous existence in the United States. Part 1 of 3.
The report reads as follows:
The season has again arrived when we are amenable to renew our efforts for the relief of those who need aid from their fellow sojourners in this world of many wants and many sufferings - and while we feebly put forth a diminished strength to relieve the cravings of nature we would suggest the wish that our abilities might be directed to a more pressing need - the mental impoverishment of those who are rising to take their place among the thousands of Israel scattered throughout the facilities of the earth. In a little while the remnant of those who first plead for the female poor of this congregation will have passed away and perhaps the sweetened memorial raised to their names will be recorded that they laid the course stone to this just tuition. Is it not too much to hope - too much to expect from the daughters of a noble race that they will be foremost in the work of charity - provided their young hearts are impressed with its sacred duties. Let us then plead ---- for the means to of "training them in the way they should go" - we have ---- a teacher desirous of opening his store of useful knowledge for the improvement of the rising generation - his opp---- of study in the original language of the scriptures gives him advantages few here ------- and then unto many of the difficulties complained of among us may be attributed.
The want of education shuts the door of advancement into private or public nations - which an Israelite might obtain in this country - and the consummation of our highest ambition may even be the wiping off of that stigma which rebellion and disobedience have ---- upon the nation - may be accomplished, when enlightened Jews mingle with the inhabitants of the land respecting their own laws and practicing the [Continued on 2 of 3]