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THE PROBLEM OF THE JEW.*
BY THE EDITOR.
NE of the most striking things
in the history of the United States is its ability to con
vert into patriotic Americans its ten million immigrants from the Old World with more than ten million more of their descendants. In addition to the many social and economic problems before that country is that of assimilating the Jewish elements in its population. In the narrow limits of Manhattan Island are now assembled ten times as many Jews as in the whole of Palestine, more than in all Roumania, and far more than in the most populous Jewish city in the world. Every fourth man one meets in Manhattan borough is a Jew. The uptown Jews are mostly of German origin, many of whom have won great wealth. It is said that of twelve hundred merchants in Broadway a thousand are Jews. A glance at the signs bearing such names as Cohen, Rosenbaum, Goldschmidt and other Hebrew patronymics illustrates this fact.
But the recent invasion of over half a million Jews driven out of Russia, Roumania, and south-eastern Europe by the fierce hand of persecution presents the Jewish problem in an acute form. Most of these exiles are chudren of poverty. They overcrowd the already crowded east-side tenement houses and make that region the most densely peopled on the face of the earth. A similar condition confronts also the city of London.
We are intensely interested in the Jewish problem. We have visited the oldest and most famous ghettos and synagogues of Rome, Vienna, Prague and other Jewish centres of Europe, but we never saw such magnificence
of marble and mosaic, of bronze and gold as in the Fifth Avenue Synagogue in New York.
The service at the synagogue was exceedingly impressive, the prayers, the readings, the responses, in both Hebrew and English, the music which is said to come down from the times of King Solomon, were noble and dignified. The sermon on the fatherhood of God was able and eloquent. It affirmed that this great doctrine was a message not merely to the Jew, the Christian or the Moslem, but to all mankind. But there was a certain aloofness, as if God were afar off and not nigh at hand, and we felt, as never before, how in the incarnation of our Lord the Word was made flesh and dwelt among men.
By contrast, the hundreds of synagogues in the down-town Jewish quarter are pitiful in the extreme. Nowhere have we seen more characteristic Jewish types, the comely Rachels and Rebeccas, the venerable Isaacs and Jacobs of the Hebrew race, than in the ghetto of New York.
The Funk & Wagnalls' Jewish Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive presentation of all Jewish questions ever published. We have already reviewed it in these pages.
*“Dreamers of the Ghetto." By I. Zangwill. New York: Harper & Bros. Toronto: William Briggs. Price, $1.50.
"The Spirit of the Ghetto.” Studies of the Jewish Quarter in New York. By Hutchins Hapgood. With drawings from life by Jacob Epstein. New York and London: Funk & Wagnalls Co. Toronto : William Briggs. Pp. 312. Price, $1.35 net.
"In the Gates of Israel.” Stories of the Jews. By Herman Bernstein. New York: J. F. Taylor & Co. Toronto: William Briggs. Pp. 316. Price, $1.50.
Mr. Hapgood's “Spirit of the Ghetto" gives a very vivid impression of conditions of Jewish life in New York. These people are intensely religious. The older of them at least keep up the traditions which for ages have made them a peculiar people. They still celebrate the day of Passover and day of Atonement, the feasts of the Tabernacle and of Purim. They bind on their phylacteries, don the
" Americans in Process.” A Settlement Study by Resident Associates of the South End House. Edited by Robert A. Woods, Head of the House, North and West Ends, Boston. Boston and New York : Houghton, Mifflin & Co. Toronto: William Briggs. Pp. ix-389. Price, $1.50 net.
“ The Jewish Encyclopædia.” Large 8vo. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, Vols. I. and II. $6.00 per vol.
“Justice to the Jew." By the Rev. Madison C. Peters. New York': Tennyson Neely. Toronto : William Briggs.
prayer shawl, and teach the children the meaning of their ancient ceremonies. They observe the minutiæ of the ritual as to what they eat and drink. They are often fanatical and bigoted. But the younger generation seem in danger of drifting away from the religion and, in consequence, from the morality of their fathers; rejecting both Judaism and Christianity, they are in danger of becoming infidels and anarchists.
The public schools are substituting for the narrow training in the traditions of the elders the broad outlook of science and literature and are reconstructing Jewish society. We recently visited one of these great institutions in the heart of the ghetto. The swarms of black-eyed little Jewish lads and lasses were alert to their finger-tips and mobile as mercury. They leave far behind boys and girls of other faiths and races, and many work their way through the high schools, colleges and universities. There are hundreds of lawyers, doctors, dentists, journalists, both men and women, among the Jews of New York.
Mr. Hapgood describes with a sympathetic pen the prophets without honour, the learned rabbis who are left adrift in their archaic lore by the ebb of the tide; the remarkable developments of Jewish literature; its Yiddish papers, some of them socialistic and anarchic in character; its poets and novelists, its artists and actors; its faultsand its failings, its merits and promise. There are in the Bowery three Jewish theatres where the sacred Hebrew characters set forth on the bill-boards the Biblical plays or the humours of the day. The cost of the maintenance of one of these is over $70,000 a year. One of the Yiddish dramatists has written a hundred and sixty-seven plays, some of them adaptations from English or German, but all in the Yiddish jargon which, with the growth of education, is destined to disappear. The numerous drawings from life by Jacob Epstein, a young Jewish artist, catch the very spirit of the ghetto, of its cafes and sweatshops, its synagogues and homes.
On my right side is Michael, on my left is Gabriel, before me Uriel, behind me Raphael, and over my head the eye of God." Almost mechanically, too, do they repeat the formula: “ For Thy help do I hope, O Lord! I hope, O Lord, for Thy help! O Lord, for Thy help do I hope!”
Nothing excites such horror in an old Jewish cantor, or leader of the synagogue devotions, as the news that his son has become a Christian, and worst of all, a missionary to the Jews. “ Creator of the Universe!” muttered Moses, closing his eyes. “What have I done to bring down upon us Thy wrath without end?" It was worse a thousand times than the most dreadful form of death. Their fanatical ritualism is thus illustrated: A renegade son had lit a candle and thus virtually kindled a fire on the Sabbath. The Jewish community was scandalized.
“'A candle on the Sabbath!-fireon the Sabbath!' went about in the crowd.
“'He deserves to be stoned—the heathen!' another suggested with a fiery look.
"A sudden death upon him for breaking the Sabbath!'
“The community was outraged. The mother wept, the father looked stern, unmoved, the children cried aloud. It was worse than a funeral -it was like burying one's child alive."
Yet the orthodox Jew often makes great sacrifice in order to keep the Sabbath. Many of them close their shops on both Saturday and Sunday. We knew a poor Jew in Hamilton, living in a van, who every Saturday displayed a notice: “ The Lord our God hath commanded us to keep holy the Sabbath day," and he lost two days' work in every week. His little boy of eight was religiously trained in the Bible, which he could read fluently in English, German, and Hebrew.
Mr. Herman Bernstein in his Jewish stories makes the Jews speak for themselves. Their intensely religious character is set forth with a strange blending of piety and superstition. The following evening prayer, which is thrice repeated, illustrates this: “In the name of the Lord of Israel!
An important section in Mr. Woods' “ Americans in Process” describes the problem of foreign population and its moulding into American citizenship in Boston. The South End and West End, once the aristocratic quarter, the home of the early Puritans, has become a congested region in which are twenty-five different nationalities. Of these the Jews and Italians are most numerous. As elsewhere, the Jewish children are the brightest in the schools, the men the most aggressive in business, most amenable to law, furnishing almost no paupers or crim
inals. Not one of them conducts a saloon and very few ever visit one. Their thrift, however, sometimes degenerates into miserliness, their industry into sweat-shops, their merchandise ranges from junk and rubbish to jewellery and diamonds. Their fondness for precious goods is a tradi. tion of the times when, to avoid spoliation, they had to flee by night and conceal their goods about their persons.
Its negro population is another aspect of the problem of great cities. Herded in squalid slums, where they mix only with the worst whites, many of them are vicious and vile. But, on the other hand, says Mr. Woods, "the story of the ascent of the black man is unparalleled in rapidity with that of the more favoured race." The benefit of mission work among these foreign populations is in this book strikingly set forth. An Italian Methodist Church in North End, Boston, has an enrollment of over five hundred. The Epworth League settlement in Little Italy has accomplished great good. It has a medical mission, by means of which two doctors and two nurses are kept busy visiting the sick poor.
In North End Boston ninety per cent. of the school population are Hebrew and Italian. School-houses are made social centres, centres of evening instruction and a means of uplift to the people. In some schools baths are furnished and the experi
ment has been tried with success of having trained nurses to give treatment at the school or in the home to children who would otherwise be kept out of the school through sickness.
The Irish emigrants take with avidity to American politics, become “heelers " and ward bosses, perhaps aldermen, and not seldom threaten the interests of the residential districts or down-town business that leaves municipal politics to the foreigner. The saloons are chiefly run and largely maintained by this somewhat turbulent element. Mr. Woods appeals to the comfortable congregations“ for a large, free, adventurous movement which in the name of the one God and a common humanity shall address itself to the greatest of all, the city's spiritual needs."
This book was written by ladies and gentlemen of the settlement houses among the poor who have a perfect knowledge of the important social problems which they discuss. Numerous coloured maps showing the nationalities, style of building, industrial grades, charitable institutions and the like of these congested centres are given.
While mission work among the Jews is particularly difficult it has nevertheless had great success. Over 250,000 have been won to Christianity, and over five hundred sons of Israel are preaching the religion of Jesus, whom they once despised.
THE JEWS OF BUCHAREST.
BY EDWARD SYDNEY TYLEE. * Take heed! the stairs are worn and damp!" Again her busy highways wake My soft-tongned Southern guardian said,
To the old persecuting cry And held more low his twinkling lamp
Of men who for their Master's sake
His chosen kindred crucify.
There oft the midnight hours are loud
With echoes of pursuing feet; Our fathers fashioned for the Jew.
As fired with bright zeal the crowd
Goes raving down the Ghetto's street: Yet, painted on the aching gloom,
The broken shutter s rending crash I saw a hundred dreadful eyes,
That lets the sudden riot in, As out of their forgotten tomb
And shows, by those red torches' flash,
The shrinking fugitives within.
But here are tales of deeper shame!
Of law insulted and defied,
While Force, usurping Justice' name, The soundless granite walls had hid.
Takes boldly the oppressor's side, I saw their arsenal of crime:
The bread whose bitterness so long The rack, the scourge, the gradual fire,
These sons of hated race have known; Where priestly hangmen of old time
Familiar, oft-repeated wrong Watched their long-tortured prey expire.
That turns the living heart to stone. Then by dim warders darkling led
Still Zion City lies forlorn: Through many a rocky corridor,
And still the Stranger in our gates. Like one that rises from the dead,
A servant to the younger born, I pass into the light once more.
For his long-promised kingdom waits. And does a careless brother say
O Brethren of the outer court, We stir this ancient dust in vain,
Entreat him well and speak him fair ; When palaced Bucharest to-day
The form that makes your thoughtless sport Sees the same devil loose again ;
Our coming Lord hath deigned to wear.
- The Spectator.
DEWET ON THE WAR.*
M T O book from the Boer point of
view has been awaited with such interest as that of its
most notable general, Christiaan Rudolf De Wet. It is published simultaneously in eight or nine different countries. Dr. Briggs has shown his characteristic enterprise and energy in securing for our connexional house the Canadian issue of this important work. General De Wet dedicates his book to his “ fellow-subjects of the British Empire." To the Boers he addresses one last word: “ Be loyal to the new Government! Loyalty pays best in the end. Loyalty alone is worthy of a Nation which has shed its blood for Freedom!"
His book is one of fascinating interest. It is written with extreme frankness and gives an inside view of the councils of the Boers. We want no better vindication than this book offers of the justice of Britain's contention in this unhappy war and her clemency in its conduct.
In September, 1899, says DeWet, the burghers of the Free State were noti. fied to be in readiness for active service, with horses, arms, ammunition and provender. On October 2nd they were ordered out. This was nine days before the expiration of Kruger's ultimatum to Great Britain. DeWet took part in the siege of Ladysmith, of which he has little to say. Indeed the sieges of Mafeking, Kimberley and Ladysmith are among the most inglorious episodes in the war. The employment of two thousand Kaffirs to dam the Klip River and drive out the fever and famine-smitten women and children, stormed at with shot and shell, from their burrows in the earth, is no credit to the valour or chivalry of the Boers. He has little to say of the fight at Paardeberg which the Canadian troops so bravely won, save to blame Cronje for not adopting the policy of flight which De Wet so conspicuously displayed during the war. At Poplar Grove a panic seized his own men and a wild flight ensued. He modestly claims that the Boers taught the English how to fight, but it took con
siderable instruction to make the Boers leave their cumbrous waggon trains and adopt the mobile methods of swift dashes and retreats of mounted sharpshooters. “We had," he says, “to be quick at fighting, quick at reconnoitring, quick (if it became necessary) at flying !” Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener come in for a good deal of criticism.
De Wet was very eager to have the Cape Colonists fight against England, but it “ vexed him greatly" that any of these should fight against the Boers. He has the grace to say that “ many a time when flying he felt so degraded that he could scarcely look a child in the face." He defends the “ uitschudden ”—the stripping of the enemy by the Boers, the robbing of the prisoners, the wounded, the dying and the dead, and clothing themselves in the khaki uniform, because England had put a stop to their imports and cut off their supplies. “ Although there was nothing," he says, “I relished less than to roba prisoner of war."
He exults in the fact that at Roodewal he captured and destroyed the British stores to the value of three and a half million dollars. He was asked to allow the letters to be forwarded. He refused, but allowed the burghers to pillage the post-bags. “ The burghers were busily engaged in looting," he says. “It was winter, and we managed to burn their (the enemy's) warm clothing. The English would certainly feel the want of it."
He devoted himself specially to destroying the railways and blowing up the trains, and well-nigh captured, he says, Lord Kitchener in one such attempt. He invented a device which could be hidden under a sleeper so that the passing train would be blown up. “ It was terrible,” he says, “to take human lives. Still, however fearful, it was not contrary to the rules of civilized warfare," that is, as De Wet interpreted them. “ It was painful," he adds, “to see the railway line and not be able to do any damage to it. I had made it a rule never to be in the neighbourhood of a railway without interrupting the enemy's means of communication."
He raised a great outcry against the “devastation” of the country by the British, but he set the example himself. The winter grass
* “ Three Years' War.” (October, 1899— June, 1902). By Christiaan Rudolf De Wet. With portrait and maps. Westminster : Archibald Constable & Co. Ltd. Toronto : William Briggs. Pp. 520. Price, $1.50 net, postage extra.
on the veldt was dry and very inflam. railway trains were dynamited every mable. “I decided," he says, " to set day for months, but afterwards no fire to it in order that the English such destruction occurred. might find it impossible to find pasture Again in the vein of " Captain Bobafor their oxen and cattle. Very soon dil” he writes a chapter: “I cut my the country was black.” Some time way through sixty thousand troops." after this, he writes, “ We found good Sixty thousand troops converging on horse provender and plenty of it. It an area of twenty miles in diameter, was not yet the habit of the English in a country as large as the whole of to burn everything they come across.” France, would furnish one thousand
After the surrender of Bloemfontein per mile, or one every two paces. Lord Roberts let thousands of the Against this thin line at its thinnest Boers return to their farms on sur part in a black and stormy night he rendering their weapons. But his threw his whole force of several hunlordship trusted their honour too im dred men with six hundred cattle, cut plicitly. Many of them concealed their the wires and crept through in the Mausers and gave up old flintlocks. dark. “When shall we come to the Many others having sworn neutrality blockhouses?' asked a burgher. 'Oh, again took up arms for the burghers. we are through long ago,' I answered." Indeed De Wet says, “Lord Roberts was And this was how he “cut his way my best recruiting officer.” De Wet through sixty thousand troops.” states that at one time two hundred General De Wet has certainly broken Mausers were rescued from the ash the record in skill in running away. heap and repaired for burgher use. He seldom, he says, if ever, slept in Nearly three thousand burghers, he a house, and was continually on the says, took arms and broke the oath of move. The country was filled with his neutrality. This he defends, because spies, who kept him posted as to the Lord Roberts required that the neu- movements of the British. He adtrals should report to the British mitted that he sometimes used the should Boer commandoes cross their sjambok on his burghers to force them farms and fined them for destroying to fight. the railway or telegraph lines. For The most interesting section of this similar offences the Germans in the book is that describing the peace Franco-Prussian war hung up the
negotiations and the end of the war.
negotiations ana the “ franc-tireurs" to the nearest tele These are given in detail in an appengraph pole and burned their houses, dix of over a hundred pages. At the and General Sheridan laid waste the end of the war, he says, they had richest regions of Georgia.
twenty thousand burghers in the field. The General, we think, magnifies Forty thousand had been made some of the perils through which he prisoners, and many thousand killed passed. At Springhaansnek a burgher or disabled. Yet he declares they bearmy of eight thousand men ran the gan the war with only forty-five gauntlet between two forts one thou thousand. Notwithstanding the “desand to twelve hundred paces distant, vastation” of the British, General over a plain on which “there was Beighers declared there was grain absolutely no cover, while a storm of enough for the whole of the Transbullets was poured in from both sides; vaal and the Orange Free State. Genyet no single man was killed and only eral Badenhurst said there were cattle one wounded." This is a little too enough to last his commandoes for much in the vein of “Captain Boba years, even if they had no other food dil."
at all. General Smoots declared that He arranged a plan to effectually there were twenty-six hundred Boers settle " the English, which, however, under arms in Cape Colony and that he failed to carry out. Again and the Cape rebels had kept fifty thouagain he endeavoured to invade Cape sand British troops occupied. Other Colony and raise the Boer rebels, but generals gave a less favourable report. after being harried like a fox in the They were bitterly disappointed in the jungle he was glad to skulk back. lack of intervention. They got “symAs they crossed the broad, black river pathy" from the nations of Europe the burghers cried, “Never will we re- and nothing more. turn; no more of the colony for us.” The Boers haggled and higgled over
He scoffs at the blockhouse policy, the peace terms and endeavoured to which might well have been called, drive a hard bargain with Lords he says, “ the policy of the blockhead." Kitchener and Milner. They offered Yet before this policy was adopted the to surrender parts of their country,