Jerusalem Consul Wallace and Chief Rabbi Salant Solicit American Funds for the City's Institutions

c. 1894

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Jerusalem Consul Wallace and Chief Rabbi Salant Solicit American Funds for the City's Institutions
Document Signed
8 pages | SMC 836

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      Background

      Appealing to “Our saviors in America!” the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, endorsed by the American Consul to the Holy Land, Edwin S. Wallace, asks the brethren in “the spirit of our tradition: ‘Give, yea give’ meaning ‘give and give again’” to “summon the strength needed to continue your efforts on our behalf, in order to strengthen and preserve and save our institutions from financial ruin and liquidation.” The situation of two of Jerusalem’s loftiest institutions, the Talmud Torah House and the General Hospital, are in dire straights, Rabbi Salant and Consul Wallace attest: this, the unhappy result of the “terrible loss of employment and income of our brothers in Russia who have heretofore been great supporters” - though “even in America, financial vicissitudes have turned former donors from those who give to those in need.” But however terrible it is to see benefactors suffer, still charitable deeds may be effected, and to this end, the “brothers in America, who live in the United States but whose souls are bound to our Holy Land” are encouraged to assist in every possible manner, the Talmud Torah House and General Hospital of Jerusalem, described at some length, thusly…

      The Talmud Torah House provides spiritual nourishment for four hundred children, the dear children of Zion, orphans and children of the needy, and raises them, within its walls, to [a life of] Torah and awe of God, morality and respectfulness. Thirty-five educators teach them the ways of God, from the alphabet through the Talmud and its commentaries. Two special scholars teach them writing, language and arithmetic. The most destitute among them also receive shoes and clothing. As for those children who show no signs of blessing in their studies, the House fund assists them in learning trades that can support their masters. And in addition to the children who are sheltered in this House, they [the benefactors] provide aid for the tuition fees of many youths who, due to weaknesses in recruitment or the distance of their homes, are unable to be cared for in the House.

      And the general hospital! ... stands high on the foundations of Mount Zion! Its rooms are spacious, its windows clear [and open to] a place of fresh air; it looks out upon the Jordan. It offers fifty beds to welcome our people's sick with compassion and heartfelt mercy. Two expert and famed physicians supervise the work, to swiftly bring these patients salvation and cure, with the help of God. All the servants scurry to sustain them in their sickbeds, with salutary foods, milk, meat, perfumed wines, and all the balms of Gilead and fragrances of Sheba. There is no stinting concerning provisions for the sick; whatever the physicians prescribe is supplied. Four times a week, the hospital's physicians sit in the consultation room, to cure any sick person ambulating with a cane outside, who may come and ask for their advice. These patients receive counsel completely gratis, and the healing potions are almost free of charge. Similarly, help and support is brought to the sick in their homes, when all fifty beds are insufficient to take them in, and [assistance is given] to the miserable who must travel to great physicians abroad and to medicinal spas.

      Talmud Torah Schools were created in the Jewish world, as a form of public primary school for boys of modest backgrounds, there to be given an elementary education in Hebrew, the Scriptures, and the Talmud – that they might continue on to study at a Yeshiva. The first appeared in Jerusalem during the time of Ezra (c. 460 BCE). When the first hospital was established in Jerusalem is not a fact at hand, but in 1895, the City boasted seventeen. 

      That Consul Wallace would be actively promoting both the Talmud Torah School, and the free Jerusalem hospital is typical of his affinity for the Jewish people in Palestine. In his book, Jerusalem the Holy, he wrote of his belief that the time was not distant when Palestine would be in “the hands of a people who will restore it to its former condition of productiveness.” The Jews, he was sure, were that people, and their hour was nigh. “The subject of Israel’s restoration,” he wrote, “is not a popular one now; but the unpopular of today is the universally accepted of tomorrow.”


      Document Signed, highly decorative, in Hebrew and in English, 8 pages, quarto, Jerusalem, co-signed by Rabbi Shmuel Salant. Being a “prospectus” to raise funds in America for the Talmud Torah House and General Hospital in Jerusalem. Bearing various official stamps.

      Note: the page numbered 7 is missing from original document.
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      [Translated from Hebrew]

      1

      With God's Grace


      Open the gates, that the meritorious nation, keeper of the faith, may enter!
      This is the gate of God, the meritorious may enter within.

      The Saints' Book

      Each of the contributors' names will be inscribed, donors who  pressed forward, for the sake of the two lofty enterprises

      a) Talmud Torah and The Great Yeshiva Etz haHaim 
           in the courtyard of our Rabbi Yehuda HeHasid of blessed memory

      b) The Great Hospital "Bikur Holim Hospital"

      These stone plaques are holy and were preserved in a well-guarded place that they might last for many years, as a memorial of merit and good works before God on the sacred mountain 

      in Jerusalem

      "Dedicated in Righteousness" 

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      2

      With God's Grace

      The Holy City Jerusalem, may it be rebuilt and established, in the month of Sivan 5655,

      From the heights of Zion's mountains and from the sacred hills, we send blessings and peace unto our dear friends who pray for the peace of Jerusalem, who ache over its desolation and concern themselves with establishing its settlement, the great rabbis and exalted lords and all the holy, upright and pure-hearted members of the House of Israel, who reside in the States of America, May God be with them!

      Dear Brothers!

      The man who brings you this missive, is a scholar and genius, a rabbi replete with Torah and its treasure, the awe of God, a great Rabbi, of priestly descent, the eminent scholar Rabbi Dov Ber Shapira, son of the saintly renowned Rabbi Nissan, of blessed memory.

      He is the faithful emissary that we have chosen to travel through the cities of America, to awaken and arouse our people's philanthropists, to lend a helping hand to two great Jewish Houses, the central pillars upon which rests the honor of our Holy City. These-themselves are the grand and lofty Houses whose nature is renowned and whose repute is celebrated the world over, because of their necessity and efficacy; these-themselves are the Houses which enclose all the goodness of the people dwelling in Zion; these-themselves are the Houses which, should they quake, will cause the entire holy settlement to quake with them, God forbid. These-themselves are the Houses:

      a) The general building of the Talmud Torah, and Yeshivat Etz Chaim, in the courtyard of our Rabbi Yehuda HaChasid of blessed memory,

      b) The general hospital, known as "Bikur Cholim Hospital"

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      3

      the Talmud Torah House provides spiritual nourishment for four hundred children, the dear children of Zion, orphans and children of the needy, and raises them, within its walls, to [a life of] Torah and awe of God, morality and respectfulness. Thirty-five educators teach them the ways of God, from the alphabet through the Talmud and its commentaries,  two special scholars teach them writing, language and arithmetic. The most destitute among them also receive shoes and clothing. As for those children who show no signs of blessing in their studies, the House fund assists them in learning trades that can support their masters. And in addition to the children who are sheltered in this House, they [the benefactors] provide aid for the tuition fees of many youths who, due to weaknesses in recruitment or the distance of their homes, are unable to be cared for in the House. The House's pinnacle, our proud banner, is the Great Yeshiva Etz haChaim 

      About 100 avreichim  [married young men] replete with Torah are edified by a great rabbi, head of the Yeshiva sh' . Throughout their days and nights as well, they immerse themselves in God's Torah, and every month receives decent financial support from the House's fund.

      And the general hospital! A great and lofty edifice, very extensive, stands high on the foundations of Mount Zion! Its rooms are spacious, its windows clear [and open to] a place of fresh air; it looks out upon the Jordan. It offers fifty beds to welcome our people's sick with compassion and heartfelt mercy.

      Two expert and famed physicians supervise the work, to swiftly bring these patients salvation and cure, with the help of God. All the servants scurry to sustain them in their sickbeds, with salutary foods, milk, meat, perfumed wines, and all the balms of Gilead and fragrances of Sheba. There is no stinting concerning provisions for the sick; whatever the physicians prescribe is supplied.

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      4

      And the fundraisers return frequently and supervise all arrangements, the cleanliness and purity.

      And there is a charming accompaniment to this establishment! This is the statute that, four times a week, the hospital's physicians sit in the consultation room, to cure any sick person ambulating with a cane outside, who may come and ask for their advice. These patients receive counsel completely gratis, and the healing potions are almost free of charge. Similarly, help and support is brought to the sick in their homes, when all fifty beds are insufficient to take them in, and [assistance is given] to the miserable who must travel to great physicians abroad and to medicinal spas.

      Now, dear brothers! Our saviors in America!

      Since you have begun sustaining these lofty institutions with your generous support, we appeal to you in the spirit of our tradition: "Give, yea give"  meaning "give and give again". The verse continues: "as much as he lacks". Our dire straits may be attributed to the terrible loss of employment and income of our brothers in Russia who have heretofore been great supporters. Even in America, financial vicissitudes have turned former donors from those who give to those in need. How terrible it is to see our benefactors suffer, yet charitable deeds may be difficult in some places and more promising in others.

      Therefore, our leaders have seen fit to tell you of our difficulties, so that you might be able to summon the strength needed to continue your efforts on our behalf, in order to strengthen and preserve and save our institutions from financial ruin and liquidation. Doors which have closed may not easily be reopened. The consequences would be devastating. Where would our children go? What would they do? Shall they be left, God forbid, to wander the streets of Jerusalem, lacking in direction and spiritual guidance, without Torah, wisdom, profession and means of earning a livelihood? 

      As for the hundreds and thousands of ill: what shall be their lot? No one will be able to offer them care – except the missionaries who brazenly hunt our souls. 

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      Wallowing in shame, how can we show our faces to God? Our hearts cringe at this terrible possibility!

      Awaken, dear brothers! Please understand the urgency of our situation. May all those who appreciate our desperation rally to the cause of our organization "Help to our Brothers", in order to aid these institutions, each in his own way: parlor meetings, charity boxes, benevolent funds, wealth, strength, power and influence, approaching and convincing potential donors and benefactors.

      Their names and deeds will be inscribed in stone, as witnesses of their dedication and devotion. The supporters of these institutions, located in God's Holy City, will forever be commemorated, and blessed by He who has chosen Jerusalem to be His sanctuary, to rejoice in the building of our Holy City. Amen!

      Your brothers, guardians, governors and directors of: "The Talmud Torah and Etz Chaim Yeshiva" in the courtyard of our Rabbi Yehuda HeChasid,  and the "Bikur Cholim Hospital" serving the Ashkenazi communities of Jerusalem.

      [Signatures]


      I, too, send my greetings to all our dear friends who love Jerusalem and Israel and its leaders and seek their welfare and peace. May you have pity on these great institutions, "Talmud Torah and the Etz Chaim Yeshiva" and the "Bikur Cholim Hospital" of the Ashkenazi communities of our Holy City, the pillars of God's holy sanctuary in Zion. 

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      6

      I appeal to all to take to heart the words of the above esteemed rabbis, honoring their mission to intensify the efforts on behalf of these institutions.
      May God grant great happiness and good to all those who contribute to this goal, and may they witness the rebuilding of our Holy City in good time.

      SHMUEL SALANT
      Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem.

      The above signature of Rabbi Samuel Salant is hereby authenticated and legalized.

      EDWIN S. WALLACE
      U.S. Consul

      Recently (the 2nd of May of this year),  Mr. Eliyahu Sheid, the distinguished representative of the famous patron Sir Edmond Rothschild, visited the "Bikur Cholim Hospital" and he kindly wrote in the visitors' book as follows:

      "It has been seven years since I last expressed my admiration for this hospital. Words cannot describe my pleasure at visiting the Bikur Cholim Hospital. My wonder increases as I hope and pray that the officers and governors of this great institution, who devote their lives to it, may always succeed in their efforts in its behalf. I therefore redouble my praise and express my wonder at these men of loving-kindness in their commitment to find the ways and means to sustain this great and benevolent institution, which must rely on contributions."

      Jerusalem, May 2

      Eliyahu Sheid,
      (translated from French)

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      8

      Translation

      To our respected brethren in the United States of American whom the presents may concern
      Peace and happiness.

      Respected Brethren!

      The bearer of this, a well-learned gentleman, Rabbi Dob-Ber Schapira, is commissioned by us, as a trustworthy messenger for the purpose of enlisting the sympathies of our esteemed brethren in the U. S. of America in favor of the two most important Jewish institutions in the holy city Jerusalem namely:--
      1, The general Talmud Torah School of Etz Haim College 
      2, The Public Infirmary called Bicur [sic] Holim Hospital.

      The Talmud Torah School supplies spiritual nourishment to four hundred children of the poor. Religious and social training is imparted to the pupils by 35 teachers ranging from the Alfabeth to reading the Talmud and commentaries and two special teachers for writing and arithmetic. The poorer among the pupils are also provided with food and clothing.[...] of the pupils as are not gifted with the talents required for good students are apprenticed to such trades as will enable them earning their own livelihood. Other poor children as are either too weak or live at a too great distance to visit the schools are assisted monetarily toward obtaining private lessons. 

      Connected with the School is also the great College Etz Haim in which about a hundred young men are taking course [sic] in the higher ranges of Talmud lore and who are likewise supported materially

       

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      9

      With God's Grace

      When the committee was formed to support the two important institutions that are the pillars of our community, the Etz Chaim Yeshiva and the Bikur Cholim Hospital, they appointed an emissary to oversee the charity drive: the great and learned, God-fearing Rabbi Dubber (Dov Ber), Shapira, son of the great and pious Rabbi Nissan Shapira of Volkowitz. The head of the committee is Chief Rabbi Shmuel Salant. When Rabbi Shapira approached me for a letter of recommendation, to vouch for him and support his mission, I felt honored to do so.

      Therefore, my brothers in America, who live in the United States but whose souls are bound to our Holy Land, I encourage you to assist in every possible manner. And may you, who serve Him who has chosen Jerusalem, merit witnessing the comfort of Zion and Jerusalem. 

      As witnessed by my signature


      ________________________


      Psalms 118:10