ABOUT $1,000,000 A YEAR IS
EXPENDED BY PHILANTHROPY TO PREVENT
AID THOUSANDS OF POOR
JEWISH HOSPITALS AND SOCIETIES WHICH CARE FOR THE NEEDY OF ALL RACES.
Statistics compiled by Dr. Frankel, of the United Charities, show the following arrivals at the port of New York from Rumania:
From October 1, 1897 to
October 1, 1898.......... 775
Of these immigrants, many were aided by the Industrial Removal Office and by the Jewish Agricultural and Industrial Aid Society, both supported by the Baron de Hirsch fund. Employment and homes were obtained and the poor people were placed in the right direction toward useful citizenship. Despite their ignorance and degradation, the Rumanians in this city have never been a charge on the community, but have been taken care of by their more prosperous coreligionists. It has been a heavy burden, which was lightened to some extent by the Baron de Hirsch fund, but, even without that, the poor Rumanians would have been cared for, as all other poor Jewish immigrants have been, by philanthropic citizens and by societies organized for that purpose. The plea of the poor man is never disregarded by the Jews of this city, and, although the demands are constantly increasing, the activity on the part of the men who are at the head of the various institutions increases in proportion, new members are added to the large lists on the rolls of the institutions, and the work of undoing in a free country the ill that has been wrought by despotisms goes on uninterruptedly.
In its annual report the Executive Committee of the United Hebrew Charities says:
We find, as an important factor in our work, the continued immigration of persecuted coreligionists from Russia and Rumania. It is scarcely necessary to do more than read the following statistics of immigration for the eleven months ending September 1, 1901, and 1902, respectively:
Jewish immigrants landed
at this port...32,915 (1901) and 46,712 (1902)
The makers of the report, who have the best means for ascertaining the Jewish population of this city, say that there are about 600,000 Jews in New York. It is certainly the largest Jewish community in the world.
Aside from the burden which is imposed on the Jews of New York by the great influx of poor immigrants from Russia, Austria and Rumania, they bear also the expense of maintaining about two thousand organizations of various kinds and descriptions. This includes the religious and fraternal institutions and "benefit societies," but it embraces also a number of great institutions which are not only a benefit to the community, but are architectural ornaments to the city.
The most notable of the great Jewish charities are the four large hospitals: Mount Sinai, Beth Israel, Lebanon and the Montefiore Home for the chronic invalids. The largest and oldest of these is Mount Sinai, which was founded in 1852 as "The Jews' Hospital in New York."
In 1866 the name of the hospital was changed to Mount Sinai to emphasize the fact that it was a non-sectarian organization, and that its doors are open to Gentiles as well as to Jews. The buildings which are now occupied by the hospital in Lexington Avenue, were dedicated in 1870, but the space has long since been inadequate. The hospital was compelled to seek new and larger quarters, and with that end in view the entire block bounded by 100th and 101st Sts. and Madison and Fifth Aves. were acquired, and on this the new building was erected, which will soon be ready for occupancy. When completed it will be one of the largest and most modernly appointed hospitals in the world.
The hospital has 3,528 members, 852 patrons and 178 donors. the membership dues for the last fiscal year amounted to $67,260. In this hospital, as in all the Jewish organizations of that kind, the clergy plays no part. The directors, trustees or managers are chosen by the members and are usually selected because of their usefulness.
The second Jewish hospital organized in New York was the Montefiore Home, which was called into existence at a meeting held at the Synagogue Sheareth Israel to consider a suitable way to commemorate the 100th birthday of Sir Moses Montefiore. A plan suggested by A. S. Solomons to found a home for chronic invalids was adopted, and at the meeting which took place later to perfect the organization, Jacob H. Schiff was elected president. When the home was opened in October, 1884, on Avenue A and 84th St., it had seven patients. The present home on Broadway, 138th and 139th Sts., will accommodate about three hundred patients. In his latest report the president, Mr. Schiff, whose princely contributions have materially aided the institution, says:
It is seventeen years since the Montefiore Home opened its doors as an asylum for the unfortunates whom the hospitals of the city are unable to receive, and for whom it is as necessary to provide proper treatment as for any of those whose ailments are looked after by the any hospitals existing in this city. The Borough of Manhattan contains a very large number of hospitals for the treatment of incurable diseases, while Montefiore Home remains the only free hospital for the care and treatment of the chronic invalid. Is it, then, surprising that the applications for admission exceed so largely the number of beds which the institution contains, and that those to whom admission has been granted have, as a rule, to wait for a considerable time before they can be taken in?
The Country Sanatorium, at Bedford Station, Westchester County, was opened on May 30 last, with proper ceremonies and under most encouraging auspices.
The membership list is
over five thousand. These members pay from $10 to $100 a year. Besides
this income the home has an assured revenue of about $70,000.
In connection with the hospital there are a ladies' auxiliary society and a young people's society. Mrs. Nathan Marcus and Israel S. Pearlstein are the heads, respectively, of these organizations which have done much toward making the hospital's work possible.
The youngest of the Jewish hospitals was opened in 1893 in Westchester Ave. and 150th St. This is the Lebanon Hospital, which occupies the site formerly the property of the Ursuline Convent.
The contributions toward the support of these four institutions alone
amount to more than $400,000 a year. The membership lists aggregate
about twelve thousand. More than six thousand patients were treated in
these hospitals last year, and the accommodations have been considerably
Mr. Stern succeeded Emanuel Lehman, who held the office of president seven years. In the reception hall of the asylum a beautiful memorial has been erected to Jesse Seligman, who was one of the institution's most devoted friends, and for many years its president.
The Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Society has its orphan asylum on Broadway, 150th and 151st Sts. It was founded twenty-three years ago by some women under the leadership of Mrs. P. J. Joachimsen. The asylum had for its object the care of small children who could not be accommodated in the larger institution. Its first home, on 57th St. and 1st Ave., soon became too small, and the present building was erected and has ben taxed to its full capacity. More than forty-four hundred children have been cared for since the asylum was founded.
The third children's institution
established by the Jews of this city stands on Eagle Ave., 161st St. to
163rs St. It is the Hebrew Infant Asylum, established in 1895,
and its fine four story building it has accommodations for 150 children
from "one day up to five years old." The institution does much good in
the way of caring for children whose mothers have been deserted and for
others whose mothers work in factories and in other places, and are
unable to give the little ones proper attention.
One of the institutions of which the Jews of this city are proud is the "Gemilath Chasodim Association," a free loan association.
In 1901 the association loaned $230,646 to 10,883 families. From this sum the association received in weekly installments $212,291.75, leaving upward of $18,000 in the hands of the borrowers. The loss for a whole year was only about $800, and the total loss in its ten years of existence has been only about two-thirds of one per cent. A list has been kept of the occupations of the applicants for loans and this shows that the greatest number of them were pushcart men. Second in point of numbers came the tailors, and then people of other occupations in the following order: Bakers, painters, plumbers, dry-goods peddlers, butcher helpers, bookbinders, cloakmakers, cigarmakers, dressmakers, neckwear makers, agents, coal and wood dealers, shoemakers, barbers, carpenters, etc. The list includes drug store keepers, teachers, policemen, letter carriers, dentists, bookkeepers and jewelers, and shows that men of all classes of the East Side Jewish community make use of the benefits extended by the loan association.
The liberal bequests of the Baron de Hirsch have been used toward founding and maintaining several important institutions, besides furnishing means for the support of immigrants at settlements and their transportation to distant points from the port where they landed. The Clara de Hirsch Home for Working Girls, No. 225 East 63rd St., is doing much for the education of girls who wish to become wage earners. In the last year fifty-three girls completed the course of training in hand sewing, machine operating, millinery and upholstery work. All these girls have obtained places where they are earning from $4 to $9 a week. Of those who were members of the cooking class, thirty-three have obtained good places in families. There are at present fifty-seven boarders in the home and twenty-nine day students in the place. Mrs. Oscar Straus is the president and Mrs. Lionel Sutro is the secretary of the board, and Miss Rose Sommerfield is superintendent.
In 64th St. near 3rd Ave. is the Baron de Hirsch Trade School, where young men are instructed by competent teachers and are graduated as masters of useful trades. It has been in existence about twelve years, and has helped many young men to become useful members of the community. The branches taught include plumbing, gasfitting, carpentry, house and sign painting, electrical work and general machinery. There are also classes in English, arithmetic and mechanical drawing.
The Hebrew Technical School, No. 34 Stuyvesant St., and a similar institution for girls at No. 267 Henry St.; the Society for Burial of Poor Jews, the Sanitary Aid Society Model Lodging House, No. 94 Division St., the Jewish Working Girls' Vacation Society, the Brightside Day Nursery and Kindergarten, No. 89 Cannon St.; the Society for the Aid of Jewish Prisoners, No. 10 East 129th St.; the Refuge for Immigrants, No. 210 Madison St., the Hebrew Benevolent Fuel Association, and the Sanatorium for Hebrew Children, Rockaway, Long Island, are other well known charities supported exclusively by the Jews of this city. All the fraternities, of which there are five large and many smaller ones, have benefit departments, through which many thousands of dollars are distributed every year among deserving poor.
The Educational Alliance, on East Broadway and Jefferson St., has been in existence about ten years, and has been a potent factor in the educational work among the dwellers in the tenement house district. In the last annual report it is shown that the attendance at concerts, entertainments, meetings, etc., in the rooms of the alliance amounted to 758,494. the library was used by 10,039 people, and 414,146 made use of the reading rooms. The classes and clubs were attended by 639,996 persons, and the grand total shows that 2,054,422 persons were benefited by the various departments of the institution. Dr. David Blaustein is the superintendent of the alliance and has a large staff of assistants.
The sisterhoods connected with the houses of worship also do much charitable work. The first one of these to be organized was the Emanuel Sisterhood of Personal Service, which was formed about fifteen years ago, and although there are now seventeen similar institutions, it remains at the head for usefulness. It has recently taken possession of a new home, Nos. 318 and 320 East 82nd St. In her last annual report Mrs. William Einstein, the president of the sisterhood, said:
"We hope that the new home may soon be looked upon as a settlement house, and thus bring about, through social intercourse, a mutual understanding with those whom we are striving to benefit by real knowledge of each by the other."
The Rev. Dr. Gustav Gottheil is the honorary president. The sisterhoods in the other congregations are all fashioned after this one.
In speaking of the work done by the Baron de Hirsch Fund, A. S. Solomons, the general agent, said:
"It is entirely in the interest of Russian, Rumanian and Galician Jewish emigrants.
We begin first with the children, whom we teach English in our day and evening classes at the Educational Alliance building, corner of East Broadway and Jefferson St., the young children being prepared for entrance into the public schools of our city, while the adults are also taught English in our evening classes.
We also have a trade school, located at No. 222 East 64th St., where we graduate two classes annually in the aggregate of between 150 and 200 boys, who are taught useful trades. We have also an agricultural school, located at Woodbine, N. J., where we have upward of one hundred pupils, who are taught scientific and practical farming in all its various branches, and the thoroughness of our course of instruction is so widely recognized that at each yearly graduation we are able to place all of our pupils on farms and in dairies, and in horticulture and fruit farms.
Through the agency of our fund we are enabled to remove from the congested centres of our cities a large number into the rural and manufacturing districts throughout the country, where they find occupations upon farms and in factories, and this also applies to recently arrived immigrants.
Woodbine is our agricultural
settlement, and is composed of nearly 2,000 people, who are either
working their own farms or employed in one of the factories located
there, which consist of a clothing factory, a knit goods factory,
shirtwaist factory and a machine shop. Most of the residents are the
owners of the houses they occupy. There are three schoolhouses and two
places of worship, one a synagogue and the other a church."