The Committee for the Poor of the German Israelite Congregation: “To the honorable Supervisory Committee of the German Israelite Congregation” (15.4.1863), Hamburg, pp. 1-11

Source Description

This open letter, printed as a brochure, must be seen in conjunction with the recent achievement of civil equality for Jews in Hamburg in 1860. It documents a related problem, namely the question of whether, in spite of Emancipation, a separate Jewish welfare system ought to continue. The authors of this document were all members of the “Committee for the Poor”  Armen-Collegium of the German Israelite Congregation. This body supervised communal welfare activities. The letter was addressed to the supervisory committee of the Congregation. The authors positioned themselves in the debate concerning the future of the Congregation vis-à-vis its welfare institutions, now that the constitutional changes of 1860 placed the Jews of Hamburg on an equal footing with non-Jews. Inside the Congregation’s Council, disunity prevailed as to whether the continuation of a separate Jewish welfare system was absolutely necessary, given the elimination of Congregational self-rule. A minority among the superintendents argued that the Jewish needy should, from now on, turn primarily to the public domain. The majority saw things differently, and the open letter reflected its opinion. It spelled out in a particularly emphatic way the paramount importance of Jewish welfare activities for the social cohesion and preservation of identity for the Jews of the Hansa city.
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Recommended Citation

The Committee for the Poor of the German Israelite Congregation: “To the honorable Supervisory Committee of the German Israelite Congregation” (15.4.1863), Hamburg, pp. 1-11 (translated by Richard S. Levy), edited in: Key Documents of German-Jewish History, <https://dx.doi.org/10.23691/jgo:source-26.en.v1> [December 12, 2018].