Reform Advocate -- April 24, 1891[Growth of Jewish Charities]
The Jewish charities of our city have undoubtedly during the past decade grown in a most gratifying manner. Our population has increased, our means for doing good have become larger, and the number of our charitable institutions has more than doubled in the last ten years. In 1880, we had the Hebrew Relief Society, with its auxiliaries, the sewing societies and the Jochanna Lodge and Deborah Verein. The treasury of the main society was then, as it is still now, never overflowing with surplus funds. The Jewish hospital had fallen a prey to our great fire.
The prospects in 1880 for rebuilding and re-organizing the Hospital were flattering; late in the fall of that year the corner stone was laid. We had then, as now, our Orphan asylum in Cleveland, and institution which deserves to be classed among our own local charities, as it takes care of our orphans.2
The Congregations were by no means large or well supported. With the exception of the Sinai Congregation, none had a house of worship of any pretentions whatever. The Sinai Congregation with its seventy members staggered under a heavy indebtedness.
Things have changed during these ten years. The United Hebrew Charities, the successor of the Old Relief, is better supported, although in consideration of the needs, the sums collected are by no means as large as the work requires. The Young Men's Hebrew Charity Society, organized in '83, and now one of the most active channels through which collections for charitable purposes are made, supports in connection with the Charities, a labor bureau. The Hospital was dedicated in 1891, and during the ten years since elapsed, has worked itself into the admiring affection of Jew and non-Jew alike in our city. Today there is a unanimity of opinion that the Michael Reese Hospital is a model of its kind. The building has been repeatedly altered and enlarged. A children's ward was opened two years ago, and a school for nurse's training was added 3recently to the other departments. The operating room is perhaps the finest in the whole West, and its outfit the most complete.
Who dreamed ten years ago of a Manual Training School? People had heard of a workingmen's school in New York, but even in their fondest anticipations would have refused to credit that it would be out-stripped sometime by a school founded by the Jews of Chicago, and for the Jews of Chicago, both in the point of number and the scope of its cirriculum.
Under the able supervision of Prof. Bamberger and his corps of competent and devoted assistants, the school has grown to its present size of nine hundred pupils in day school, and large evening classes (supported by the B. B. Lodges and the Johanna Lodge) for the instruction of men and women.
Now, scarcely half a year after the opening of the training school, we also have our Old People's Home. The generosity of outsiders has incited to action the benevolence of our own citizens, and we now find the original 4gift more than duplicated.
Besides these donations and endowments for new charities, the orphan asylum has made its annual collection, and has received more than thirty thousand dollars as a contribution from Chicago for the erection of a new building.
But there is one feature lacking in our charities, and it should be filled speedily. We have provided for the poor, for the sick, for the able-bodied in the search of work; we have made provisions for the orphans, not merely in Cleveland, but also in a smaller way, through the Frank fund, gift of Mrs. E. Frank. We look after the educational wants of our Russian newcomers; we soon will be able to care for our old people. What is wanting? We have made no provision for such as are temporarily embarrassed, who for the loan of a few hundreds of dollars might succeed in gaining, once and for all, an honorable independence.5
These are not to be confounded with the ordinary applicants for aid in our relief offices. Here is a field of new benevolence. It is not a charity in the ordinary sense of the word. Nor need it be unprofitable. A society to make loans of this kind is a necessity in our Jewish community, and would repay on the investment a yearly return from two to three percent. The loans are collected in small instalments, but with unfailing regularity, and without concessions. The interest is paid willingly by the recipients of the loans, for that relieves them of all imputation of having received charity. The experiment has been tried in London and has proved successful. That we should attempt something similar in our community, none is more competent to testify than those who almost daily are asked to give help in the direction outlined.
We hope that a loan society will be organized on the basis proposed. None would lose, but many would gain by this new institution, which, while truly benevolent, would not be charitable in the common meaning of the term.
II D 1, I A 3, II D 3, II D 8
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