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Philadelphia, Ab, 5601, July 1841.

To the President and Members of the Congregation at
the Israelites of Philadelphia, send greeting:


May long life and spiritual and temporal prosperity be your portion from our Father
in heaven, and may He, the Most High, move your hearts to piety to himself, and good
will towards all Israel your brethren. Amen.

In the full confidence that you will favourably entertain our plan for a general union,
we on the part of the Israelites of this vicinity, affectionately invite you to deliberate well on
the proposition and regulations which accompany this, and to elect without delay suitable
persons for delegates, to meet us in general convention, on the first Sunday in November,
being the 7th of that month, corresponding with the 23d day of Marcheshvan, 5602,
at Philadelphia.

We deem it scarcely requisite to admonish you to select men who have the fear of God
before their eyes, whose interest in the welfare of the House of Jacob is of an abiding
nature, whose moral character is unblemished, and who are of sufficient intelligence to judge
with impartiality and reasonable conviction, and of such men there are doubtless many
among your number; and have the goodness to instruct them, without exacting pledges,
with regard to the measures you wish proposed, and what persons elected for the high
stations embraced in our plan, that they who are chosen may step abroad with the seal of
public approbation stamped upon them and their characters.

Although we can scarcely believe that any congregation, who are duly impressed with
the paramount obligation to uphold our blessed faith, can refuse uniting with us in a mea=
sure which evidently promises so much general good: we would, nevertheless, thank you to
let us hear from you with the least possible delay, if you decline the union we herewith
offer to you.

In the full confidence of a favourable issue, and a fervent hope that you will be found
united with us in a common effort to spread the kingdom of Heaven, we remain;

Beloved brethren, your friends and servants in the Lord.

J. L. Hackenburg

Lewis Allen

Simon ? Committee.

Jacob Ulman

Isaac Leeser.

Henry? Cohen

Mayer Arnold

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A meeting of Israelites of all the different congregations
in the City and County of Philadelphia, was held pursuant to
public notice, on Sunday the 27th day of June, 1841, correspond-
ing with the 8th day of Tamuz, 5601, at the Synagogue Beth Israel, to take into consideration the plan for establishing a
religious union among the Israelites of America, proposed by
the Rev. Louis Salomon, minister of the congregation Rodef
Shalom, and Isaac Leeser of the congregation Mikveh Israel
in Philadelphia.

Lewis Allen, Esq., President of the congregation of Mikveh
Israel, was called to the chair, and Mr. Henry Cohen, Trea-
surer of the congregation Beth Israel, was appointed Secre-

Mr. Leeser then addressed the meeting on the utility of such
union, and offered a resolution that a committee be appointed to
take the plan into consideration and report to a future meeting.

The resolution having been amended on motion of Joseph S.
Cohen, Esq.
, as follows:

Resolved, That a committee be appointed to consider the
propriety of endeavouring to establish a plan of religious union
of the different congregations of America, 2nd that they report
a plan for obtaining the views of the several congregations as
to such union, and such other matters as may be thought neces-
sary to carry the union into effect, and that the plan submitted
by the Rev. Messrs. Salomon and Leeser, be referred to that
committee,” was carried; and it having been further resolved,
that the committee should consist of seven, exclusive of Messrs.
and Leeser; the chair appointed Messrs. A. Hart, J.
L. Hackenburg
, Lewis Bomeisler, Frederic Samuel, Hyman
, Zadok A. Davis, and Hyman Polock, on said committee.

The committee met, pursuant to notice of A. Hart, Esq.,
Chairman, at the house of Mr. Allen, on Thursday evening,
the 1st of July
, and appointed a sub-committee, consisting
of Messrs. Hackenburg, Davis and Leeser, with directions to
report on Thursday evening following.

The committee met that evening, absent Messrs. Samuel
and Gratz, when the sub-committee laid their draft on the table,
which was examined by sections, altered and amended that
same evening, Sunday morning and Monday evening, absent
the above together with Mr. Polock, when the whole having
been gone through, it was ordered to be transcribed to be
reported on the following Sunday, to the adjourned general

At an adjourned meeting of Israelites, held on Sunday the
18th of July
, at the Masonic Hall, L. Allen, Esq. in the chair,
Mr. H. Cohen, Secretary, the committee made the following
report, accompanied with the plan they had agreed upon.

To the Israelites of the City and County of Philadelphia.

The Committee appointed at a general meeting, held on the
27th of June, have taken the plan proposed by Messrs. Salomon
and Leeser, into consideration and offer the accompanying
rules and regulations, together with the preamble, to your
favourable notice and adoption; the whole of which is

Respectfully submitted,









Chairman of the Meeting.

Philadelphia, 12th July, 5601.


The Israelites of Philadelphia, in common with their
brethren in other places of America, have long since been
alive to the many evils under which they labour in the
great downfall of religious observance, and the want of pro-
per religious education among them. But deeming it their
duty to leave no means untried to counteract the deplorable
state of want of proper observance, and to promote a due
knowledge of the blessed religion they have received from
their fathers: they have resolved to propose a union of all
Israelites residing in America, to effect by a common and
united effort, that which would evidently be beyond the
power of accomplishing by any one of the small congrega-
tions in which the Israelites of this country are divided;
they therefore offer the following suggestions, which they
hope will forward greatly the desired result; in first esta-
blishing a competent ecclesiastical authority, agreeably to
the injunction of the law in Deuteronomy xvi. 18: “Judges
and officers shall thou appoint for thyself in all they gates,
which the Lord thy God giveth thee throughout thy
tribes;” secondly, by establishing schools for general and
religious education under Jewish Superintendence, as com-
manded in Deut. vi. 7: “And thou shalt teach them dili-
gently to they children;” and thirdly, by promoting har-
mony and a concert of action among all their brethren
scattered over the Western Hemisphere, in accordance with
the lofty aspiration of the Psalmist who says, (cxxxiii. 1,)
“Behold how good and how pleasant it is, for brethren to
dwell together in unity.” With these views the committee
recommend the adoption of the following rules and regula-
tions for the government and action of the Israelites in



The Ecclesiastical Authority.

Section 1. The delegates of the different congregations, as
hereinafter described, or of as many as may come into the
measure, shall elect at their first meeting, or as soon after as
practicable, three gentlemen of undoubted moral and reli-
gious character, who are duly learned in the written and oral
law, who shall have the authority conferred upon them, by
their election, to act in, and to decide on all cases of reli-
gious inquiry, and to determine all questions laid before
them, according to the law, and the approved rabbinical
authorities: the members of this Central Religious Council
not to be at any time subject to any authority abroad, nor
under the control of any congregation, except in cases of
misdemeanour, and wilful (sic) false decisions, in which cases,
one or all of such offending parties, are to be removed by
the delegates of the Union as above; and a majority of the
delegates present shall be required for a vote of suspension
for a period of from three to twelve months, and a majority
of two-thirds for a suspension for a longer period, or ex-
pulsion from office.

Sect. 2. Whenever any case for adjudication comes
before any one of the Board hereby constituted, he may
decide for himself only, if the emergency will not permit
him to consult his colleagues; but if otherwise he is bound
to consult them, either in person or in writing, before he
gives any answer; in order to insure that the laws of God
be properly expounded, and strictly obeyed, as far as lies
in the power of the Board herewith proposed.

Sect. 3. In case a decision is made by one member in
the absence of his colleagues in any emergency, the said decision must be transmitted without delay to the President
of this Union, for the approbation of the other members of
the Central Religious Council, and a copy of all decisions
is to be forwarded to the recording secretary, as hereinafter

Sect. 4. The Hazanim of all the congregations of this
Union, are to be ex officio associates the Board, provided
always, that nothing is to prevent the delegates from elect-
ing a Hazan to be a member of the Central Religious
Council, if he duly qualified for the office in character and

Sect. 5. In a place where no one of the members of the
Central Religious Council resides, the Hazan, or Hazanim,
or other persons, in whom the community have confidence,
may decide in any emergency, but the decision must also
at once be transmitted to the Central Religious Council for
their approbation.

Sect. 6. Any party deeming himself aggrieved by the
decision of any one member of the Board, or any other
person acting under an emergency, may appeal to the whole
Central Religious Council, whose decision by a majority
shall be final.

Sect. 7. The associates as above provided, shall merely
have power to speak at a meeting of the members of the
Central Religious Council, but not to vote.

Sect. 8. One of the three members as above shall be the
President of the Board, whenever he may deem the public
good requires it, and have a general supervision of strictly
ecclesiastical matters in this Union.

Sec. 9. As the authority herewith delegated is merely
advisory, the Central Religious Council shall never exercise
the power of excommunicating any one, for any offence (sic)
whatever; nor to possess the right of summoning any indi-
vidual who, in their opinion, might be guilty of any trans-
gression of the Mosaic Law; but shall merely designate
the offences (sic) which of right deprive any offender from the
usual Jewish rights and privileges.

Sect. 10. The privilege of performing the marriage
ceremony being the right of each congregation, the cus-
tomary authority heretofore exercised by the Hazanim
remains inviolate; nevertheless the party to be married has
the option of selecting the Hazan or any member of the
Central Religious Council to perform said ceremony.

Sect. 11. The Congregations belonging to this Union
shall not elect any Shochet, who has not been examined as
to qualifications by one or more members of the Central
Religious Council; and it shall be the duty of the respective
Shochetim belonging to this Union, to be examined once at
least in three years by one or more of the Central Religious
Council, for which examination no fee whatever is to be

Sect. 12. No Shochet is to be suspended for frivolous
reasons; and if any member of the Central Religious Council
should find it his duty to exercise this prerogative, he must
state the reason for so doing in writing to the person so

Sect. 13. It is expected that the Central Religious
Council will watch over the state of religion, and use every
proper occasion to exhort the people in sermons or lectures;
and whenever any member of the Central Religious Coun-

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cil wishes to address any congregation, he shall have the
privilege so to do, upon giving notice to the Parnass of
said congregation.

Sect. 14. Whenever a new Hazan is to be elected, he
must be examined as to his qualifications by one or more
members of the Central Religious Council, so as to prevent
any incompetent person being forced upon the respective
congregations; and if any congregation should elect a hazan
who has not obtained a certificate of the Board, or who has
been rejected by them, such Hazan shall not be admitted an
associate of the Central Religious Council.

Sect. 15. The superintendence of the schools is herewith
vested in the Central Religious Council and the above
associates, and it is made their duty to report any delin-
quency in the teachers to the Board of Control, as herein-
after mentioned.


The Schools.

Section 1. As soon as practicable, schools for both sexes
are to be established in every town where Israelites reside,
and the teachers are to be paid out of a common local
fund, and on no account to receive any pay or fee whatever
from the parents.

Sect. 2. Whatever rates for education it may be necces-
sary to charge, are to be paid to the local treasurer of this
Union, who is to pay the amount of salary which may be
agreed upon, to the teachers, upon warrant of the local pre-

Sect. 3. The system of education is to be strictly Jew-
ish, and is to embrace, a. Hebrew reading, grammar,
translation, catechism, Biblical commentaries, and at least
an introduction to the Jewish Oral Law, and if possible, an
elementary knowledge of the Talmud.

b. English, Grammar, composition, elocution, arithmetic,
writing, singing, geography, universal history, history of
the Jews, history of England, and history of the United

c. For the higher classes, in addition to the above,
Hebrew composition, Talmud, general Jewish literature,
Latin, Greek, French, German, Spanish, mathematics,
natural history, natural philosophy, moral philosophy, poli-
tical economy, and chemistry.

d. Any other useful matters to be added, as occasion may

Sect. 4. The government of the schools is to be moral
throughout, and on no account can any cruel punishment be

Sect. 5. A High School for education in the higher
branches, is to be established in some central point when-
ever practicable, in which the branches enumerated under
c are to be taught; and where young men are to be educated
in such a manner, that they may be fit for the office of
Hazan, lecturer, and teacher; and young women be edu-
cated for the high calling of female instructors; and all
persons educated in our schools, are to have the pre-
ference if any vacancy occurs, for any office in the gift of
this Union.

Sect. 6. No teacher to be appointed, whether Jew or
gentile, who has not been examined, by one or more mem-
bers of the Central Religious Council in the first instance,
and afterwards by the local President, Treasurer, Secretary,
and Hazan, as to capacity and moral worth: Provided, That
the distance from one of the members of the Central Religious
Council be not above 300 miles, in which latter case, the
local authorities may temporarily appoint a teacher or
teachers, till one of the members of the Central Religious
Council visits the place, when the teacher or teachers
must be examined by him; and if an Israelite, he is to be
examined also as regards religious knowledge and con-

Sect. 7. Though it may be found requisite to charge for
education to those able to pay—yet no person, who brings
evidence of his inability to pay, shall have his children or
wards refused admission into our schools, provided he or
she sign a pledge to send them regularly to school at least
three months in the spring, and four months in the winter.

Sect. 8. Whatever regards books to be used and other
regulations, is to be left to the Central Religious Council
and to the Central Board of Control for their action and


The Union.

Section 1. It is recommended that all regularly organized
congregations in America do elect delegates to meet at
Philadelphia on the 7th day of November, 1841, for the
purpose of carrying the above recommendations into effect.

Sect. 2. The ratio of representation to be as follows:
Every congregation numbering fifty male seat-holders or
under, to send one delegate; from 50 to 150, two delegates;
from 150 to 300, three delegates; and one additional for
every 200 additional seat holders.

Sect. 3. All votes of delegates shall be decided by the
majority, under the usual parliamentary restrictions and

Sect. 4. The delegates shall be empowered to elect, in
the first instance, the members of the Central Religious
Council, and to fill all vacancies therein from time to time,
provided always, that the persons to be elected be duly

Sect. 5. They shall assemble, after the first organization,
every two years, on the 4th Sunday after the first day of
the Passover
, and remain in session, by daily adjournments,
till all the business before them be duly transacted, or post-
poned to another meeting.

Sect. 6. An extra meeting may be called whenever the
majority of delegates, or a sufficient number of congrega-
tions entitled to send a majority of all the delegates, shall
require it; in which case they are to notify the President of
the Central Board of Control, who is then to issue general
notices, and summon the delegation, by giving them at least
sixty days notice.

Sect. 7. The delegates shall be appointed by the respect-
ive congregations in the manner they may themselves

Sect. 8. The delegates shall elect a President to preside
over them, and a Secretary to keep the minutes, whose offices
are to continue till the next general meeting.

Sect. 9. In addition to the above two officers, they shall
elect, at every biennial meeting,

One Vice-President,

One Corresponding Secretary,

One Treasurer,

Four Councillors (sic),

Who, together with the President and Recording Secre-
tary, shall continue a Board of Control to direct the
affairs of the Union in the vacation of the assembly.

Sect. 10. In addition to the above Central Board, each
town shall elect a President, Treasurer, and Secretary, to
take charge of all matters and moneys for local school
purposes, but it shall be their duty to report every six
months in full to the Central Board of Control.

Sect. 11. The biennial meetings shall be held alternately,
unless otherwise ordered; first at Philadelphia, next at New
, and lastly at Baltimore.

Sect. 12. The Central Board shall sit in Philadelphia
unless otherwise ordered; and if the President of the dele-
gation should not be a resident of the place where the
Central Board meets, then the Vice-President shall act for
him, unless the President happen to be present, when he
has the precedence as a matter of course; the same rule
applies to the Recording Secretary, whose place, in his ab-
sence for the above or any other reason, shall be supplied
by one of the Councillors (sic).

Sect. 13. The records shall always be open to every
Israelite belonging to this Union who desires to inspect
them, but they are never to be taken out of the possession
of the Recording Secretary or his substitute; and any Is-
raelite, as aforesaid, is to be at liberty to procure a copy of
any of the records.

Sect. 14. The delegates in general assembly shall have
power to deliberate on all subjects, which may tend to
the general welfare of the Israelites, with the exception of
matters properly belonging to legal points of the Mosaic
law, which shall be left, as is reasonable, with the Central
Religious Council.

Sect. 15. They shall devise ways and means to defray
the expenses attending the execution of this plan, and to fix
salaries and other outlays properly coming under the ob-
ject of the Union.

Sect. 16. They shall not interfere directly or indirectly
in the internal affairs of the congregations, except to offer
their advice when any thing should be undertaken in oppo-
sition to the law and the commandments, and to judge be-
tween contending parties, if such would unfortunately arise
in our congregations.

The report having been read, Mr. Lazarus Arnold moved
that the same be adopted, which, after some debate, was carried
by a large majority.

Mr. Jacob Ulman then moved that the report and plan be
printed, which was unanimously adopted.

On motion of Mr. A. Hart, it was resolved that 750 copies in
English, and 500 in German, be printed for general distribution.

On motion of Mr. Z. A. Davis, a committee of correspon-
dence of five members, with power to fill vacancies, was order-
ed to be appointed by the chair; and the President and Secre-
tary were, on motion, added to the above five. Whereupon
the chair appointed Messrs. J. L. Hackenburg, Isaac Leeser,
Joseph M. Asch, Simon Elfelt, and Myer Arnold.

On motion of Mr. Leeser, Mr. A. Hart was unanimously
elected Local Treasurer, in accordance with the above plan,
and Mr. Allen was also elected Local President, and Mr. H.
, Local Secretary pro tem.

It was further resolved, that the Israelites of Philadelphia,
be requested to meet in general meeting, on the 5th of Septem-
, the second Sunday before the New Year, to elect local
officers; and that no one who is not attached to one of the Con-
gregations of Philadelphia, either as Member or Seatholder,
shall be allowed to vote.

LEWIS ALLEN, Chairman.

H. COHEN, Secretary.

Hand symbol Have the goodness to give this plan an extensive circu-
lation among your friends, and use your personal influence to
promote its being carried into effect.