Constitution and By Laws of the Beneficial Hebrew of the city of Philadelphia

[Page 1]




חסד ואמת


[Page 3]





Beneficial Hebrew Society,

חרבח חסד ואמת



Instituted on the 11th of October, 1843—Corresponding

with 5604,




South East corner of South and Second streets.


[Page 4]


AS the hand of Providence is held over our
Nation, as Fathers, and Brothers, we are prompt-
ed by a sense of duty and brotherly love to each
other, as well to ourselves and families, to
promote our interest and mutual assistance for
the welfare and happiness of each other,—and
as the wise and Republican laws of these United
, founded on equality and toleration, give
to every man, either citizen or sojourner, the
right to associate together for lawful and good

Whereas we, the undersigned citizens and
others, do associate ourselves together as a duty
to provide in time of health, for each other in
time of need and sickness, to which the human
frame is liable, and to pay the last duty and ho-
mage, in that which all living must fall; and
being anxious while we can to do good, and to
assist our brother and fellow creature while life
shall be granted to us, we have formed ourselves
into a body by the name of “Mercy and Truth,”
and do ordain the following as a Constitution and
By-Laws for our good government, and may the
Great Omnipotent guard us in our undertaking,
in the name of Mercy and Truth.

[Page 5]


The name of this Society shall for ever be

חברה חסד ואמת

Hebrew Beneficial Society, for visiting its
sick, and burying its deceased members.


On election of officers.

The officers of this Society shall consist of
a President, a Treasurer, a Secretary, and
Four Committee, or “Kabronim,” who shall
form a Board of Managers to regulate and
administer the affairs of the Society. They
shall be elected annually on the first Sunday
after סכות by a majority of the votes of the
members present.


Meetings to be held.

There shall be held four stated quarterly
meetings of the Society, one every three
months, commencing the first Sunday after
סכות and if such meeting should fall on any
holiday or festival, it shall be lawful to hold
such meeting the following Sunday. There
shall also be held four stated Board meetings

[Page 6]


fourteen days prior to the stated meetings of
the Society.


On convening meetings.

The President shall have the power to con-
vene a meeting of the Society or the Board,
whenever occasion may require, and at the
request of two of the Committee, or Kabrons;
he shall likewise convene a Board meeting,
and at the request of five members who are
entitled to the rights and privileges of this
Society, provided such requisition shall be
made in writing, stating the object of such
meeting. The President shall within ten
days from the receipt of such notice convene
a meeting of the Society.


On Presiding.

The President, or in his absence the Senior
Committee, or Kabron, shall preside at all
meetings of the Society and at the Board,
and in the absence of all the officers, a Chair-
man shall be appointed by the meeting.

[Page 7]



On vacancy of office.

In the event of vacancy by resignation,
death, or otherwise, of any officer, the Board
shall fill such vacancy until the next general
meeting of the Society.



The Treasurer shall take charge of all mo-
neys and securities belonging to the Society;
keep a correct account of all moneys received
and disbursed by him. He shall also on en-
tering office give a bond for the faithful per-
formance of his duties in such sum as the
Board may direct. He shall make payments
in accordance with the by-laws, and shall if
called upon by the Board of managers, exhi-
bit his books and accounts, and give a detail-
ed statement of the funds of the Society. He
shall at each stated meeting of the Society,
present a statement of all moneys received,
expenditures, debts, &c.



It shall be the duty of the Secretary to keep
records of the proceedings of the Society, and

[Page 8]


of the Board; do all other writings not con-
nected with the office of Treasurer; prepare
all notices, and deliver the same to the Mes-



There shall be elected annually at the meet-
ing held the first Sunday after סכות a Phy-
sician whose salary shall be determined by
the Society, who must possess a regular me-
dical diploma. All candidates for this office
must send their application to the Board of
managers at least thirty days prior to the an-
nual meeting.



There shall be elected annually by the So-
ciety at the yearly meeting, a Messenger,
whose salary shall be determined by the So-
ciety. He shall on being elected give a bond
for the faithful performance of his duties (as
defined in the By-Laws) in such sum as the
Board may direct.


On Membership.

Candidates for membership shall be men of
good moral character, free from all bodily

[Page 9]


infirmities that might render them burden-
some to the Society; must be twenty-one and
not over forty-five years of age. If married,
it must be in accordance with the rites and
customs of “Judaism,” so well as regards the
circumcision of their male children. Further-
more, should any person after being admitted
a member of this Society, marry contrary to
the rites and customs of Judaism, or does not
cause his children to be circumcised, then in
such case, it shall be the duty of the Board
of Committee to give the said person notice
of the violation of these laws, requiring him
within twenty days of the date of such notice,
to comply with such law or laws; and failing
to fulfil (sic) these duties or any of them, they
shall deprive him of all rights and privileges
as a member of this Society; and the Presi-
dent shall instruct the Secretary to strike
from the enrolled list of members, the name
of such person.


Application for Membership.

Any person desirous of becoming a member
of this Society, shall make application in wri-
ting to the President, prior to a stated meet-
ing of the Society. The applicant must be


[Page 10]


recommended by two members who are enti-
tled to the rights and privileges of the Socie-
ty, and must also state his age, occupation,
and place of residence, and state how long he
has resided in the city of Philadelphia. On
the President receiving such application, he
shall appoint a committee of three to inquire
if the applicant is admissible in accordance
with the Constitution and By-Laws. The
committee shall make their report in writing
to the first Board meeting, when, should the
applicant be admissible, the President shall
authorize the Secretary to insert the name of
such applicant in the notice of the first stated
meeting of the Society, to be balloted for;
and should he receive a majority of the votes
of the members present at such meeting, he
shall be deemed duly elected; Provided, he
pays to the Treasurer $3 00 as entrance fee,
and signs within fourteen days from the day
of his election, the Constitution and By-Laws.


On Contributions.

Every member shall contribute the annual
sum of four dollars, payable quarterly or
monthly, and on the death of a free member,
fifty cents, and on the death of a free mem-

[Page 11]


ber's wife, twenty-five cents, for every shivo
twelve and a half cents, and for a grave-stone
twenty-five cents.


On Debates.

That the debates and books of the proceed.
ings (sic) of this Society shall always be in the
English language, except to explain.


On Imposition.

In the event of any member in any way
imposing on the Society, it shall be the duty
of the Board of managers to cite such person
by written notice to appear before them with-
in ten days from the date of such notice, when,
should such charges be proved, the offender
shall be expelled or fined, as the Society may


Entitled to Benefits.

Every member entitled from sickness to
the benefits of this Society, shall procure from
the Society's Physician a certificate, setting
forth his inability to attend to his business or
daily occupation, such certificate to be renew-

[Page 12]


ed weekly, during the application of any
member for the benefits. The directions
which may be given by the Physician must
be strictly followed, to entitle members to
benefits,; nor shall any member be entitled
to the benefits allowed during a Shivo, unless
he observes the same strictly, according to
the Jewish customs. Nor shall any member
be entitled to any benefits for sickness while
he sits Shivo.


On Arrears.

Any member being in arrears two dollars
or upwards for contributions or fines incur-
red, shall not be entitled to any benefits, nor
shall the widow or orphans, or nominees of
any deceased member in arrears as aforesaid,
be entitled to the pecuniary benefits. No
member shall be entitled to the pecuniary be-
nefits who has not been a member for the full
term of twelve months, nor shall any member
be entitled to the benefits during sickness,
should such sickness be caused by his mis-
conduct or indiscretion, Minyon or Physician
excepted; and any member who shall be in
arrears two dollars or over, and paying up
the same, will not be considered entitled to

[Page 13]


the benefits of this Society, until the expira-
tion of two full weeks from the date of his


On Erasement.

Any member in arrears two dollars or
over, shall not be permitted to vote at any
election whatever, nor shall he be eligible to
hold any office, or recommend any person for
a member; and if indebted two dollars or
over, it shall be the duty of the Board of Com-
mittee to give him thirty days written notice
thereof, at the expiration of which term,
should he fail to liquidate his debt, the Board
of Committee shall instruct the Secretary to
erase his name from the list of members.


Use of Funds.

The funds of this Society shall not be used
or applied to any other than the following pur-
poses: viz.

To grant relief to its members in sickness.

For burying deceased members.

For a legacy to a deceased member's wife,
orphans, or nominee.

If a Jew or Jewess residing in the United

[Page 14]


For Shivo, or keeping seven days mourning.

To pay Doctor, Apothecary, and Messen-
ger's salary.

To pay for a grave stone and watching the


On Weekly Allowance.

A member in sickness shall receive three
dollars per week for six weeks, and if he con-
tinues sick he shall receive a further relief of
one dollar and fifty cents for another term of
six weeks; and if he still continues sick, it
shall then be represented to the Board, and
they shall decide what further relief such
member shall receive.



Shivo in all cases, except where news of a
death from abroad, and over thirty days, five
dollars; and in the event of the death of a free
member's wife, he shall be entitled to ten
dollars in addition to his shivo.


To use the Funds.

When the funds of this Society shall ex-

[Page 15]


ceed one hundred and fifty dollars, the Board
of Committee shall invest at interest one hun-
dred in the name of the President and the
Board for the time being.


Leaving the City.

Any member leaving the city or limits of this
Society for one year, and not paying or caus-
ing to be paid his yearly dues or fines incur-
red, shall no longer be considered a member;
but on his paying the same at any time, he
becomes a member without being balloted for.


On Resigning.

Any member wishing to resign shall notify
his intention thereof in writing to the Board
of Committee; and the same must be accom-
panied by a receipt in full from the Treasur-
er, without which no resignation shall be ac-


Making By-Laws.

The Society may from time to time form
such By-Laws and rules as may be necessary
for their government, provided the same be

[Page 16]


not repugnant to the spirit and meaning
of this Constitution.


On Dissolution.

This Society shall never be dissolved so
long as there are four members residing with-
in the city and county of Philadelphia.


Amending the Constitution.

No alteration, amendment, or addition shall
be made to this Constitution, without the con-
sent of two thirds of all the members. Pro-
vided they shall have been proposed in writing
at any meeting of the Society, and concurred
in at a subsequent stated meeting.

[Page 17]



On Business.

1. Thirty minutes after the time specified
in the notice for meeting, the President or
presiding officer shall take the chair.

2. The roll shall be called and the absen-
tees marked.

3. The minutes of the preceding meeting
shall be read and submitted for approval.

4. Reports and communications from the
Board of Committee.

5. Report of Treasurer.

6. Report of committees.

7. In elections, those for Honorary officers
shall in all cases take precedence.

8. Balloting for members.

9. All unfinished business of former meet-
ings, and such other business as may be
brought forward.


On Resolutions.

All motions or resolutions must be written,
and duly seconded. They must be stated from
the chair, before debate can be had thereon;
and until such shall be decided, no other mo-


[Page 18]


tion shall be received, excepting to amend or
postpone the original motion, or for adjourn-
ment, which shall at all times be in order,
and decided without debate. No member
shall speak more than twice on any subject
without permission of the chair. No motion
shall be withdrawn without consent of the
mover and seconder, and at the call of any
two members the yeas and nays shall be en-
tered on the minutes, which call must be prior
to a division; and no motion to reconsider
shall be received unless moved and seconded
by two members who voted in the affirmative
on the original question.


On Communications.

All reports and communications shall be
made in writing, and all votes shall be given
“viva voce,” excepting where the Constitu-
tion directs otherwise. And no member shall
depart from any meeting without permission
from the chair, until the rough minutes shall
have been read and corrected, under a fine,
(see fines,) and which minutes shall be read
after the adjournment of every meeting.

[Page 19]



Fining Members.

The President or Chairman shall have the
power to fine any member who shall behave
unbecomingly at any meeting in a sum of not
less than twenty-five cents, nor above three
dollars. An appeal may in such cases be
made to the meeting, whose decision by a ma-
jority shall be final.


Notice of Meetings.

Seven days notice shall be given to every
member of the stated meetings, and three days
notice of special meetings. The notices for
all meetings at which elections are to take
place, shall state what officers are to be elect-
ed, the names of applicants for membership
to be balloted for, and the names of candidates
for salary officers to be elected.


Chairman's Voting.

The President or Chairman may vote on
the following questions, to wit: upon any
amendments of the Constitution or By-Laws,
expulsion of a member, and in case of equal-
ity of votes on any contested matter he shall
decide the same by the casting vote.

[Page 20]



Signing Orders for Benefits.

The President shall sign all orders on the
Treasurer for benefits due to members, as also
the orders for allowances due to widows, or-
phans or nominees, and for the funeral ex-
penses; and in case the President should be
from home (out of the city) the senior com-
mittee man shall draw and sign for all such requisites on the treasurer.


On Auditors.

At each and every stated meeting held of
the society, the President or presiding officer
shall appoint two auditors, whose duty it shall
be to examine all accounts, receipts and vou-
chers. He may, if necessary, demand an
explanation of items prior to the same being
passed. On the whole being found accurate,
the auditors shall attach their signatures in
approbation of the same, and deliver in their
report at the succeeding stated meeting, on
neglecting the same they shall be fined, (see


On Election for Physician and Messenger.

That an election will be held on the first

[Page 21]


Sunday after סכות for a Physician, and the
Board shall make strict inquiries into the
character and capabilities of the candidates,
see if they possess a regular medical diploma,
and shall cause the names of all eligible can-
didates to be inserted on the notice of meeting
as candidates. And likewise that an election
for Messenger do take place as afore stated;
and all persons wishing to become candidates
for the office of messenger, must send in their
application to the President and Board of
committee on or before such time as shall be
determined by the committee, and the mes-
senger must be a member of the Society.


To Draw a List of Members.

At the yearly meeting held on the first Sun-
after סכות the names of the members
shall be placed in a box, from which they
shall be drawn and recorded in succession,
which list shall be given to the Secretary.


Secretary's Duty.

The Secretary shall from the list afore
named, at the request of any one of the Com-
mittee, or Kabronims, notify two members

[Page 22]


to attend at the house of a member in case of
sickness. If such sickness is not contagious,
or for the purpose of watching, in the case of
a member being on the point of death; also
to notify any members to assist in matawing.
He shall cause all the members to be served
with notice to attend the funeral of a deceased
member, and shall draw in rotation from the
list thirteen members to attend Minyon at the
residence of such deceased member. And
any member who shall keep the Shivo for pa-
rents, wife, child, brother or sister, it shall
be the Secretary's duty to draw as aforesta-
ted to attend the house of a member night and
morning for minyon under a fine of twenty-
five cents each time.


Treasurer's Duty.

The Treasurer shall make up all bills of
the members seven days previous to the quar-
terly meetings, and deliver the same to the
messenger; he shall pay all orders for mo-
neys that may be signed by the President or
otherwise provided by the Constitution, and
he shall within fifteen days after the election
of his successor in office, deliver to him all
moneys, deeds, books, securities, papers and

[Page 23]


?ts belonging to the Society; in case of
?ect shall be fined. (See fines.)


Duty of Committee, or Kabronim.

?he Committee shall attend all meetings of
? Society and the Board convened by the
?ident, or be fined. (See fines.) They or
?r of them shall on receiving from a sick
?ber his application for relief, visit such
?ber within six hours of the receipt of his
?cation. If entitled to benefits, he or
? shall procure from the President an or-
?n the Treasurer for the sum due in con-
?ty to the Constitution. It shall be the
? of the Committee or Kabronim to vist
? sick member at least once a day, and
? require the Secretary to notify in rota-
?wo members to visit each sick member;
?n case of a member lying “GOUSES,”
? shall notify two members in rotation to
? and attend by day and night. They
? see that the Physician's instructions are
?rly observed, and in case of the death
? member, they shall have the superin-
?nce of the funeral arrangements, and see
?very thing requisite is done.

[Page 24]


Duty of Messenger.

It shall be the duty of the Messenger and
Collector to deliver all notice for meetings,
collect all moneys, and make payment of the
same monthly; attend the funerals of mem-
bers, as well as to minyon; attend to a sick
member, and if required, shall take the doc-
tor's certificate for his weekly money, and
carry to the President for his signature on
the Treasurer, and return with the said week-
ly money to such sick member; and he shall
perform all other duties to the Society which
may be required of him by the Board.


Duty of Members.

It shall be the duty of members to attend
the matawing funeral and minyon when sum-
moned to the residence of any member under
a fine, (see fines.) and any member changing
his place of residence, shall make the same
known in writing to the Messenger, and in
default thereof, he shall be charged with the
amount of his contributions, fines, or expenses
incurred, and for the non-serving of notices
to such member will be at his own risk for
such neglect. And furthermore; any person

[Page 25]


? may be a member of this Society, and
? business and calling shall be that
? calls him from the city for three months
? wards, shall pay an additional yearly
?ent, payable quarterly or monthly of
? ollar, which is to relieve him of fines for
?tendance of matawing funeral, and min-
? (This part of the By-Laws only refers
? sons whose business and calling are ac-
? out of the city) And should such mem-
?hen in the country be confined by sick-
?r ill health, he shall be entitled to the
? and privileges of this society. That
?ay, The regular weekly provision pro-
? for in the Constitution, if such sick
?er notifies the President of the same,
? is application be accompanied with a
?cate of the doctor attending him, and
?rsigned by a magistrated of the place
? he lies sick, and if in a Jewish congre-
?, the doctor's certificate countersigned
? Parnass of such congregation. And
?ick person may give an order to pay his
? child, or nominee residing in the city of
?elphia, as all letters and communica-
?to the President must be post paid at
?ember's expense: and any member re-
? in the city of Philadelphia who shall


[Page 26]

wish minyon for the year, or commemora-
tion of his parents death, shall notify the
president at least three days of the same,
when it shall be the duty of the president to
give such notice to the Secretary, who shall
draw from his list thirteen persons; with at
least two days notice.


Declining of Office.

Any member elected to fill any office, and
declining to serve the same, or accepting any
office and resigning the same prior to the ex-
piration of term for which he may have been
elected, shall be fined (see fines). Members
over sixty years shall be exempted from fines,
except for improper conduct or resignation
of any office accepted by such member, and
any member having served the office of pre-
sident or treasurer, shall be exempt from
serving the said office for the term of two
years, but members who may have served the
office of secretary or committee for the term
of two years, may be exempt from serving
the same offices again, but may be elected to
fill the office of president or treasurer.


On a Member's Death.

On the death of a member entitled to rights

[Page 27]


? privileges of this society, there may be
?o his wife, child, or nominee, the sum of
? dollars, as a legacy and funeral expen-
? such deceased member: and if a mem-
?ntitled as aforesaid, should bury his wife
?all be entitled to ten dollars; and the
? member if he does not attend to his bu-
? or calling, and keeps his Shivo ac-
?ng to the Jewish rites, he shall receive
?ollars on all such occasions.


On the President Leaving the City.

? the President shall have cause to leave
? city for more than three days at any
? he shall notify the Secretary of the


On Questions.

? presiding officer shall make any motion
?d any debate without leaving the chair,
?other member being placed in the chair
?uch question is decided.


On Leaving the City.

? member leaving the city for a length
?e, may, on his return, be re-admitted
?ember on payment of his arrears due
? society, from and after his leaving the

[Page 28]


city without being balloted for, provided
such member be not afflicted with any bodily
infirmities, and such member's wife, children
or family, is in good health, and he still re-
tains a good moral character.


Payment for a Book of Laws.

Every member shall pay twelve and a half
cents for a printed copy of the Constitution
and By-Laws.


Form of Application for Membership.

To the President and Members of the

חברת חסד ואמת

MERCY and TRUTH, of the City of Phi-


I am desirous that you will submit my
name to the society to become a member of
your honourable body.

I am

Yours respectfully,

Recommended by J____ C____.


On Members Attending Funerals.

Any member attending the funeral of a fel-
low member shall not leave the burial ground
before the ceremony is over.

[Page 29]



? Speaking and on leaving the room.

? member shall speak more than fifteen
?es on the same question. unless granted
? chair. And no person can leave a
?g before the rough minutes have been
? without permission, under a fine for
?f the above articles of twenty-five cts.



? limits or distance of this society is
?niles from the city state house.


Doctor's Certificate.

? President of the Hebrew Society of

חברת חסד ואמת

? I have attended Mr. —-, a mem-
? our society, who is sick and unable to
? to his business or daily occupation,
?ch sickness is not caused by his own
?etion. Signed,

Physician to the Society.


?ber's Residence.

[Page 30]

? and that his disorder is such as to
keep him confined from business or occupa-
tion, and not caused by his own indiscretion.



Countersigned by

Alderman or Magistrate of

City, Place or County.



The following fines shall be imposed by the
Society on its members, from which an ap-
peal may be made to the Board of Commit-
tee, who may remit the same on plausible

1st. For disorderly conduct at meetings,
25 cents to $3.

2d. A member not attending a meeting to
alter the Constitution, 50 cents.

3d. The committee neglecting to attend

[Page 31]


? member within six hours after being
?ed, $1.

? The committee neglecting to attend a
?ng of the Board or other duties provid-
? cents.

? A member leaving a meeting without
?ssion of the chairman, 50 cents.

? A member appointed on a committee
?nsenting to serve and neglects his du-
? cents.

? A member neglecting to attend a s ck (sic)
?r when notified, 50 cents.

? A member neglecting to attend a fu-
? of a member, or any of his family, 50

? A member do. do. do. Minyon,

? A do. do. do. do. Matawing,

? Refusing to serve as president when
?, or resigning before time is expired,

? Refusing do. Treasurer, do. do.

? Refusing do. On Committee, do.

? Auditors not making a report in
?nce with articles provided by the By-
? 1 dollar.

[Page 32]


JOSEPH LEVI, President.

H. VAN BEIL, Treasurer.


Committee or Kabronim.

D. A. Davis,E. Pike,
Jacob Hunt,L. A. Phillips.


David Marks,Michael Asher,
Lewis B. Levy,Philip Hunt,
Samuel Hunt,Eleazar Isaacs,
Louis D. Hamm,Solomon Isaacs,
Emanuel Isaacs,David Van Loan,
Henry Marcus,Elias S. Linse,
Abraham Israel,E. J. Greentree,
Bernard Moyer,Julius Davidson,
J. D. Jackson,G. J. Myers,
Morris De Young,A. M. Castilar.