1. Jews Gave Charity to Irish During
Famine 163 Years Later, a President Visits to Say Thank You
By JIM DWYER
Jacques Judah Lyons had a strong tenor voice, one that people were glad to hear
in song or speech. One March night, he used it to challenge a crowd in Lower
Manhattan. Strangers in a far-off place needed their help, he said, but he knew
that members of his audience had principled objections. So many of their own
people, they pointed out, other Jews right there in New York, were also
destitute and needed assistance.
But were these objections real, he asked, or just 'excuses which the lips utter
while they are rejected by the heart''
He was speaking in a synagogue on Crosby Street on March 8, 1847, where he was
the chazan, or prayer leader. His subject was relief for people in Ireland who
were starving to death in a famine caused by failures of crop and government. By
the end of that evening, Mr. Lyons had collected about $200 from the
congregation, Shearith Israel, according to an account in the April 1847 issue
of The Occident, a monthly on Jewish subjects.
On Sunday, more than 163 years later, the congregation, now at 70th Street and
Central Park West, will be visited by the president of Ireland, Mary McAleese.
She will give thanks for the generosity of Shearith Israel and another New York
congregation, Shaaray Tefila, during the famine years. About $1,000 for relief
was collected by Jews in New York.
The Irish famine, which ran from about 1845 to 1852, was among the first
humanitarian crises to be reported in the early days of global media. People and
religious groups from around the world responded with donations, as described by
Christine Kinealy, a professor at Drew University, in the current issue of Irish
The first major contributions came from Calcutta, where about 40 percent of the
occupying British Army was Irish-born. The Choctaw Indians, who were displaced
from their homelands in the southeastern United States earlier in the 19th
century, sent $174 to Ireland. Money was raised from prisoners in Sing Sing,
former slaves in the Caribbean, convicts on a prison ship in London, slave
churches in the South. Major sources of donations included the Society of
Friends and the British Relief Association, led by Lionel de Rothschild.
The famine began with a blight on the leaf of the potato, a staple of Irish
tenant farmers, and accelerated through a system of absentee landlords and
colonialism. The relief efforts became tangled in bureaucratic snares and rigid
commitments by British authorities to free-market solutions. . Some evangelists
saw an opportunity to swap soup for the conversion of Catholics.
But there was no such agenda for most of the donors, including Shearith Israel.
The congregation was formed in 1654 by Spanish and Portuguese Jews who had been
living in Brazil and were driven out. When 23 refugees reached New Amsterdam,
the Dutch West Indies Company ordered Peter Stuyvesant to accommodate them,
'provided the poor among them shall not become a burden to the Company or to the
community, but be supported by their own nation.'
Mr. Lyons became the chazan in 1839. He helped found Jews Hospital, now known as
Mount Sinai. His appeal in 1847 on behalf of the Irish bluntly stated that the
Jews who gathered on Crosby Street had almost nothing in common with the people
on the tiny island. 'There is but one connecting link between us and the
sufferers,' he said. 'That link, my brethren, is humanity.' When Mr. Lyons died
in 1877, his niece, Emma Lazarus ' author of the 'Give me your tired'
inscription for the Statue of Liberty ' wrote a verse in his honor, 'to requite
the just man's service with a just man's death.'
Mr. Burgess, the Irish government's senior official in New York, learned about
the gifts of the Jews here from a friend who saw some information about them in
the Irish Jewish Museum in Dublin. Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker,
connected the Irish officials with the Shearith congregation.
The congregation has continued its charitable works since 1847. The Irish are
now among the leading donors of official development aid. Mr. Burgess said that
was part of the famine legacy: 'A few years back, President McAleese said, 'We
are a first world nation with a third world memory.' '
2. Was the Tartessian
language a Celtic Dialect?
"Considering comparanda from Goidelic, Brittonic, Gaulish, and Lepontic, as well
as Hispano-Celtic, many further Celtic etymologies for Tartessian can now be set
out as worth consideration. The overall density of more-or-less probably Celtic
forms within the corpus thus increases significantly. This observation is
particularly the case for the longer and best-preserved epigraphic texts.
Therefore, it now appears that the more promising working hypothesis is that
Tartessian is simply an Indo-European language, specifically a Celtic one."
3. Archaeology: Brit-Am Version of
From: david meadows <email@example.com>
Pondering Neanderthal cognition:
Palestinian police confiscated an 'undated bust' from near Nablus:
'It is impossible to rightly govern the
world without God or the Bible.'
Brit-Am is the "still small voice" that contains the truth.
[1-Kings 19:12] AND AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE A FIRE; BUT THE LORD WAS NOT IN THE
FIRE: AND AFTER THE FIRE A STILL SMALL VOICE.