The Chicago Foreign Language Press Survey was published in 1942 by the Chicago Public Library Omnibus Project of the Works Progress Administration of Illinois. The purpose of the project was to translate and classify selected news articles that appeared in the foreign language press from 1855 to 1938. The project consists of 120,000 typewritten pages translated from newspapers of 22 different foreign language communities of Chicago.

Read more about this historic project.

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  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- December 25, 1871
    [Relief and Aid of the Jewish Victims of the Fire]

    Thirty or forty Jewish families are announced among the 18,478 who are being assisted by the Relief and Aid Society. These are mostly Slavic Jews, because German Jews consider themselves usually as Germans and have become more or less accustomed to regard their religion as a personal household affair and not a national barrier. Jews who have immigrated to Chicago from Germany also consider themselves Germans. The Polish, Hungarian and Bohemian Jews, on the other hand, will surrender themselves to Germanism only if the German-Americans can exert sufficient attraction on this peculiarly tenacious race. It will certainly be more advantageous for the Germans to strengthen their power through such recruiting than to lose, in this country, what they had already gained in Central Europe. It is precisely the wholesale trade which in Chicago is by far too little in German hands, and, if the Jews here feel themselves rebuffed by the Germans, they will educate their children to be Anglo-Americans; the result will be a de facto loss for the German cause.

    2

    (This little piece might owe its existence to some polite protest by Dr. Chvonik against the long article on the matter of the forty-three Jewish families on December 23. The emphasis is slightly shifted from the underscoring of differences, to the desire for assimilation. The last sentence seems to plead for inter-marriage, with an argument that Bismarck occasionally used: "Race mixture is not only biologically highly desirable, but, in the case of the daughters of the very rich Jews, financially even more so."

    Thirty or forty Jewish families are announced among the 18,478 who are being assisted by the Relief and Aid Society. These are mostly Slavic Jews, because German Jews consider themselves ...

    Jewish
    I C, III A, III A, II D 10, II D 10, I C, I C
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- April 15, 1872
    The Chicago Jews

    The Jews here numbered 15,000 souls at the last census and are probably constantly increasing.

    The now existing Jewish communities contain only a small part of the American residents. The Kehiloth Anshe Maariv, (community of men of the West), founded its synagogue in 1851; the Kehiloth Benai Scholem, (of peace), in 1854. The Sinai community was organized on June 20, 1861; the Zion community, September 20, 1864; the North Side community in 1867, and in the last three years, three orthodox communities with Polish rites have been formed, on Clark Street between Harrison and Polk streets, (the former hall of the Union Turn Association), on Pacific Avenue near Harrison Street and since a few months, on Milwaukee Avenue.

    2

    Jewish aid societies exist in sufficient numbers and are strongly supported in their activities by the United Jewish Aid Association. All through the United States is spread a kind of Jewish national association for charity, education and entertainment, which is known under the name of "Benai Berith," (Sons of the Covenant). It counts here five lodges, namely: Ramah, (since June, 1857); Hillel, since June, 1865; Moviz Meyer, since 1867; Sovereignty, since 1869; and Jonathan, since 1870.

    Among the associations aiming exclusively at entertainment the Standard Club and the Phoenix Club on the South Side, and Harmonia on the West Side, may be mentioned.

    The five have paralized the life of clubs and associations on the North Side for an indefinite time.

    3

    Up to 1850, there were in Chicago almost none but German Jews. Since then, however, a strong influx from Polish districts has taken place, so that the number on both sides may be about equal. This is worth mentioning in so far as the German Jews adhere to the reformed; the Polish Jews to the orthodox rite. For the last ten years the "reform" has unceasingly professed so that finally all German communities and even the biggest Polish community have been reformed by the abolition of most of the antiquated customs and religious practices. The most thorough changes were made by Dr. Chronik in the Sinai Community.

    The Chicago Jews have found their place everywhere in business. However, in social life, they have remained almost completely separated from Germans and Americans and live completely among their own kind.

    The Jews here numbered 15,000 souls at the last census and are probably constantly increasing. The now existing Jewish communities contain only a small part of the American residents. The ...

    Jewish
    I C, III A
  • [Association documents] -- June 29, 1873
    Sinai Congregation, Board of Directors Minutes

    To the President and the Trustees of the Sinai Congregation.

    Chicago, Illinois

    June 8, 1873

    Gentlemen!

    I have carefully read the Cincinnati Call for a Congregational Conference for the purpose of establishing a Jewish Theological Institute, and respectfully present to you my humble opinion upon the subject, according to my best judgement and conviction.

    That we need an institution that teaches and authoritatively represents Judaism before the country at large, that promotes Jewish lore and learning, and educates our future rabbis and teachers, surely none doubts or denies, who has the interests of our religion and our people at heart. But about the necessary 2conditions and modes of establishing such an institution, certain differences must naturally prevail, emanating from the different views and conceptions of Judaism held by the various congregations and their leaders.

    Take for instance the orthodox standpoint and you need not set up grand institutes on so large a scale. Provide for the studying youth a learned Talmudist, able to translate the Bible with its Hebrew commentaries, Talmud and Shulchan Aruch, in the English language. Let them be instructed by some professor of English literature and rhetoric, in or outside of the college. Let them graduate as doctors in some college, and have them acquire from any well known rabbi, their diploma as ordained rabbis. What need they more? Why should these candidates not be qualified to teach and to preach Judaism just as well as any Talmud student with his "Morcun" in the old country, where there were no Jewish Academies until recently?

    But things have quite another aspect from the view of Progressive or the so called Reform Judaism. It is certainly not enough for the Reform Rabbi to have 3read the Bible in the original and to have traversed the vast ocean of Talmudical lore. You want him to know the history of the Bible through the various ages, climes and states of culture, the history of Judaism through all its phases and forms. You want him to have clear ideas of the growth and development of religion at large, and of the progressive stages of Judaism especially. You cannot be satisfied in having appointed as an expounder of Reform Judaism a man, who professes the twenty-four Books of the Bible to be the only true revelation of God and "the Talmud to be the only legal and obligatory interpretation of the law," except you belie and betray yourselves and the holy mission of Israel at the present age.

    You will not promote the spiritual welfare of your children, by trusting them to a teacher, who, well versed as he may be in the Hebrew and the Catechism, is wanting in sound principles of treating the miracles, traditions and national laws of the Bible, in accordance with our mature knowledge of the laws of nature and the human mind. Nor will those rabbis truly preserve the Jewish identity, 4who, being the leaders of Reform Congregations, still clinging to the letter of the Bible, forbid to eat unclean meat, or command to believe that God commenced his creations on Sunday, formed sun, moon, and stars on Wednesday, and rested on Saturday. Wherefore alone that day, whether really observed or violated by all, must be kept as the Jewish day of the Lord?

    Judaism is larger than that. It comprehends the Levitical law as well as the religion of humanity taught by the Prophets, the philosophical doctrines of Philo the Greek, of Maimonides and Ben Cabiral and the mystical lore of Isaac Luria, the narrow minded letter worship of Joseph Caro and the critical views of Ibu Ezra. Judaism is an historically progressive religion and must be conceived and taught as such. But the history of Judaism is not written yet. Jewish science is but of yesterday. The man, who created the Jewish Science, is yet among the living. Jewish Theology exists but in hidden sources and in fragmentary outlines. There is no way cleared up, no guide given to aid the traveler through the sandy desert of the Talmud. A few historical and 5biographical books and sketches, written in the German language, are all the help in store for the student. Neither is the Bible literature cultivated yet by Jewish scholars of modern time, as to proffer its ripe fruits to the hungry searcher after truth. You must apply to the works of Christian professors, written in German, for any thorough instruction in the Bible. So is the whole Jewish science, comprehended by very few but a crude, chaotic mass, still awaiting conception and creative minds, capable of moulding and systematizing it. It is therefore not so easy a task, as people commonly think, to train and raise our future rabbis. It requires an immense store of learning to enable a man for this high task. Such men are not at all in abundance in Germany, far less in this country. Indeed the establishment of a Theological Institute would lay claim upon all the rabbis of German university education to cooperate, that a true success might be secured.

    It would certainly require the great metropolitan city as its seat, on account of the best and the most complete colleges and libraries, which needs must be at the students hand.

    6

    Sinai Congregation, Board of Directors, Minutes, June 29, 1873.

    Now considering all this, I personally do not think the time has come already for the erection of such a great edifice. Where is our youth desirous to devote their lives to the holy vocation of Jewish ministry? Our children lack as yet, that holy zeal and enthusiasm, that fervent pride of professing and preclaiming Judaism. Old Judaism they never learned to revere, and modern, enlightened Judaism has not yet taken deep roots in the Jewish hearts and homes. Neither is the Religious school, in its present state the right nursery for our future rabbis. Besides, we want English books, good and appropiate Bible versions, in short, a Jewish American Literature, for the spiritual nourishment of the studying youth. Not even the first foundation can be laid yet for the great educational institution in question. If I were to tell my private opinion. I would say, "Get, for the present, your rabbis an teachers from abroad. Import them from Germany until they are familiarized, more and more, with American language and customs, until they have harmoniously blended and moulded the free inquiring German mind with the practical and easy American form. Concerning the puplis, who desire to follow the vocation of Ministry, send them, whenever you have any, to Germany." They cannot do without a 7thorough knowledge of German. They can never become accomplished scholars, without being able to study the German writings at their disposal. Still, notwithstanding this, I would at any time, gladly welcome the organization of a Theological Institute, if I should anticipate a real success. No doubt, a Jewish College, well managed by competent and trustworthy spiritual leaders would reflect much credit and esteem upon our people, neither would it fail to have the most elevating and ennobling influence upon our internal affairs.

    But to come to the point - is the college, taken in view by the Gincinnati Call, such as to arouse well founded hopes and expectations of such nature? No, Gentlemen. 1. There you see a boundary line drawn between the Western congregations of American Reform Judaism. 2. There you see united five Cincinnati Congregations of very different opinions and shades, making effort to centralize Judaism of the West for some told and untold purposes, of which the foundations of a college is to form but a part. Mark well, the word Reform 8or Progress is not even mentioned in the paper! 3. There you find the whole management of such a great educational institution, laid entirely in the hands of laymen, noblehearted gentlemen indeed, but unlearned and not capable of selecting the right men for such high and important positions as professors and directors of a Jewish College, without the guidance of their spiritual leaders, while even these, whose influence upon them in this project is otherwise sufficiently known, are for some reason passed by in silence.

    Regarding all this I respectfully recommend to you, gentlemen of the board, to decline to take active part in said conference, giving the following reasons: 1. We heartily acknowledge your undertaking to establish a Jewish Theological Institute to be a very noble and praise-worthy one, deserving for itself every credit and support; but we feel surprised to see you call for a conference for the purpose tendered to the congregations of the West and the South and not extended to the East. Such a geographical separation we can by no means approve 9of, nor do we apprehend any benificial result for the cause of Progressive Judaism to derive from it, whereas we willingly offer our best help and effort to cooperate with all the Reform Congregations of the country in establishing a college, whenever time and circumstances seem to be proper and favorable. 2. We are not in favor of placing the organization and administration of an institution of so eminently scientific nature, in the hands of laymen, who, in all their actions, depend upon their spiritual guides, which we expect to see, the name of those respective spiritual leaders put at the head of the undertaking and the extent of their influence made very conspicuous and distinct. 3. We reject the formation of a union of congregations for the purpose of preserving the Jewish identity, or some other purpose of impalpable character, because we cannot help fore-seeing danger and obstacles in the way of Progressive Judaism from such organizations. We most fervently pray for union and concord among all the congregations of the East and the West, yet more we yearn and strive for true enlightenment and progress. The God of Israel is our uniting banner, and the true salvation of the human family - our scope.

    Dr. K. Kohler.

    To the President and the Trustees of the Sinai Congregation. Chicago, Illinois June 8, 1873 Gentlemen! I have carefully read the Cincinnati Call for a Congregational Conference for the purpose ...

    Jewish
    I C, III A, I A 2 a, I A 1 a
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- August 07, 1876
    A Jewish Seminary

    Although I am not a church pillar, I was glad to read the announcement, that the "Jewish Haute Volee" from Chicago intends to build a Jewish Seminary. This is most praise worthy, as it is important that Hebrew should not be forgotten entirely. We can learn from our non-Jewish brethren and see what care they take of their denominational schools. It cannot be denied that most of our young people cannot read one word of Hebrew, cannot even distinguish Alew from Bet; that they do not know how to say their names in the Hebrew language, do not know the names of the holy days nor their meaning. Provided the children know what is needed for business, the rest is unimportant as long as they are able to walk the streets with newspapers or are able to sell matches and shoe polish. It was time that the gentlemen made this important decision. It is to be hoped that the fate of this seminary will not be similar to the school founded a few years ago by Mr. L. Silverman, which lasted only for a short while.

    Although I am not a church pillar, I was glad to read the announcement, that the "Jewish Haute Volee" from Chicago intends to build a Jewish Seminary. This is most ...

    Jewish
    II B 2 f, III A
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- March 22, 1877
    Jewish Nationality

    To the Publisher of the Illinois Staats-Zeitung:

    The 19th century's blissful cultural progress of greet inventions and discoveries, had a special influence upon the Jewish people. The results of this powerful change are of such significance that the history of nations and states can not disregard it. The common ties which unified the Jewish people ever since their first national suffering up to and including this century, are being loosened through progress and the spirit of humanity.

    The Jew has a keen instinct to take care of his own benefits and a great ability in shaking off the demon as soon as there is no opposition to this tendency. How much of a success there was, is shown plainly in the assimilation of the Jews and various religious sects. The statement of the Chicago Tribune, that the American Jew as well as the Jews of other countries, do not profess any patriotism for their adopted country, is greatly incorrect.

    2

    Both, the Chicago Tribune and the London Saturday Review, point out that the Jew is especially gifted in some of the arts and sciences, but this does not mean that capability can be considered as a characteristic inclination of the race, but is a natural outcome of conditions. It is not surprising that, for instance, the cleverest physicians can be found among the Jews, because students of the Mosaic confession previous to the year of 1848, were not allowed to enter into the pedagogical or legal profession.

    The Jewish student could choose only between the doctor or rabbi. No Jew was a farmer until recently, for they were considered people without a country and for the most part, were regarded and suffered as people with a right for settlement, but forbidden to call mother earth their own.

    The absolute equality of the Jew with believers of other faiths will tend to lessen the apparent differences and then the time may come when the old Jewish prophecy will be fulfilled! "Bajomim hahen jihehe Addanai echot," meaning, (Some day all of us will have one cloak and one God.)

    A.C.Lebell

    3

    (Here are two of the many comments, which could be made:)

    1. Disinclination of the Jew for agriculture, even in the countries where they enjoy over a long period of time, all the privileges of the rightful citizen.

    2. The Jews of only six countries regard themselves as nationally attached, this is the case in Germany, France, England, Italy, Denmark, The United States, and possibly in Portugal.

    In East-Europe, Asia and Africa, they consider themselves as a special nation. Their complaint of being regarded a special race is groundless as long as they are proud of the purity of the race. Such distinctions can be wiped out by centuries only, and then not through laws, but through intermarriage. Into this race question, the Jewish religion has mistakingly been drawn, but has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

    To the Publisher of the Illinois Staats-Zeitung: The 19th century's blissful cultural progress of greet inventions and discoveries, had a special influence upon the Jewish people. The results of this ...

    Jewish
    I C, III A
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- March 24, 1877
    Jewish Nationality

    Chicago, Illinois

    March 22, 1877.

    To the Publisher of the Illinois Staats-Zeitung:

    In a postscript to a letter directed to your newspaper and published March 22, you truthfully stated that the Jews are not only religiously united, but are a nation or a race, which fact can not be disputed by anybody.

    On account of so many muddled opinions, I take the liberty to clarify a few points. The Jews do not consider themselves as a religious communion, but a nation, (not politically.) We sometimes hear people say that there are no sects in Judaism in which instance the word sect is incorrectly used. Notwithstanding assertions to the contrary, there are Jewish sects to be found in Western Europe as well as in America, which differ as much as does Catholicism from Protestantism.

    Of course, they all believe in one Supreme Being, but the orthodox and the reformed Jew, differ greatly in their prayers and ritual life.

    Chicago, Illinois March 22, 1877. To the Publisher of the Illinois Staats-Zeitung: In a postscript to a letter directed to your newspaper and published March 22, you truthfully stated that ...

    Jewish
    I C, III A
  • Chicago Tribune -- September 23, 1878
    Organization of a New Congregation

    "Chebra Anshe Emes" (Society of the Men of Truth) is the title of a new Hebrew congregation on the North Side, which dedicated its new Synagogue yesterday. This place of worship is on the third floor of a new unpretentious brick building, 262 Division Street. The hall is plainly but neatly and comfortably furnished. This is the second Hebrew congregation on the North Side. Its character is semi-orthodox, about the same as that of Dr. Norton's congregation, which worships in the New England Church.

    The new congregation has now thirty-three members, with the immediate prospect of a large increase, as a large number of Israelites reside in that portion of the city. The officers are as follows: K. D. Davidson, President, etc., etc.

    The dedicating service came off at 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon in the presence of a crowded house. They were conducted by the Rev. Dr. Adler and the Rev. Dr. H. Bien.

    "Chebra Anshe Emes" (Society of the Men of Truth) is the title of a new Hebrew congregation on the North Side, which dedicated its new Synagogue yesterday. This place of ...

    Jewish
    III C, III A
  • Jewish Advance -- November 08, 1878
    Chicago Sketches by - Ben Golan

    The Jews of Chicago - Population.

    It is very difficult to ascertain the exact number of Israelites living in this great City. There are no means to obtain a strict census, for a very great number of our co-religionists have severed all connection with their brethren, and are either ashamed to be known as Jews, or have grown lamentably indifferent to Judaism, and do not frequent its institutions.

    Judging from the many Jewish countenances which are met daily in the throngs on the public thoroughfares there must be a considerable number of Israelites, perhaps over 15,000, in this City. There is, perhaps, not much of importance in the history of the feast worth mentioning now, except the facts that differentiate congregations, as well as many individuals. Israelites have suffered severely by the tremendous conflagrations which have visited this City repeatedly in but very short succession. Only the destroyed Jewish Hospital did not rise after it had fallen, and the pride of the Israelites of Chicago is still a mass of ruins, waiting for the generous philanthropist 2who will provide for it the means of a renewed existence. In consequence of said conflagration, the Israelites were scattered to the different ends of this eminent city, which has done great harm to the progress of our institutions, increasing the obstacles in the way of concentration.

    Congregations and Ministers:

    We have here at present twelve Jewish congregations, with a total membership of from five to six hundred. The majority of these congregations have their own synagogues and temples located in the different parts of the city, from the hyper-orthodox Beth-Hamedrash standing in one of the most filthy, dark and disreputable streets, to the stately and costly, radiant reform temple, situated on one of the aristocratic avenues, where it was in massive grandeur with the elegant and substantial structures of the fashionable churches. Only few of these congregations have their rabbis and preachers. Rev. Leibman Adler of the Anshe Yaariv; Dr. B. Felsenthal, of the Zion; Dr. K. Kohler of the Sinai, and Rev. A. Norden, of the North Side H.C. Drs. Felber and Felsenthal are the two 3oldest rabbis in our midst. Dr. Felsenthal had, about twelve years ago, established the Sinai Congregation, where the Rabbis now fill the pulpit.

    Rev. A. Norden is a self-made man of talent. He is an excellent choice.

    The Jews of Chicago - Population. It is very difficult to ascertain the exact number of Israelites living in this great City. There are no means to obtain a strict ...

    Jewish
    III A, I C, III C
  • The Occident -- June 13, 1879
    (No headline)

    We are informed that over 2,000 Jewish families live on the Northwest side of Chicago, of whom but the very smallest portion belong to a congregation and these mostly visiting the place of worship twice a year.

    There are over 3,000 Jewish children in Chicago who receive no religious instruction whatever.

    We are informed that over 2,000 Jewish families live on the Northwest side of Chicago, of whom but the very smallest portion belong to a congregation and these mostly visiting ...

    Jewish
    I B 4, III A
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- October 18, 1880
    Jewish and Yiddish Contribution

    In Monday's edition of the Illinois Staats-Zeitung, appeared an editorial on the above subject. You deserve, and are assured of thanks as well as recognition from all Jews for your honest, correct and courageous conception regarding the difference of these two words.

    You hit the nail on the head. This race of Walachia (also spelled Wallachia) and Russia, whose cultural standard is still more than half Asiatic; these people cannot rid themselves and have no intention of ridding themselves of the dirt that has surrounded them since remote antiquity; they find it impossible to comprehend the spirit of the time, to understand progress, religion and civil liberty.

    Their education is limited to the Talmud and superstitions; they are mendicants in Europe and peddlers throughout America. They are the type, which our Christian co-citizens designate as Yiddish, and the term is justified. In Prague, and other old Jewish cities, we still find, even today, Jewish districts (Jewish quarters) whose inhabitants form a state within a state, 2just as we have here in our great and lovely Garden City, a similar section at Canal Street near 12th street. There the people's trade, barter, language and morals, are still a relic of past ages, the "second-hand Egypt". In one word they are Yiddish, but not the intelligent Jew, whose homes bid a welcome to all cultured people, regardless of their religious beliefs - where one meets ambitious men; their capable wives and the young generation. Continue in the same spirit, Mr. Editor, the time is near when Schiller's words will bear fruit: "Let us be a united people, brothers all", only with this distinction, - the sisters are included.

    A Jew.

    In Monday's edition of the Illinois Staats-Zeitung, appeared an editorial on the above subject. You deserve, and are assured of thanks as well as recognition from all Jews for your ...

    Jewish
    I C, III G, III A