Colonial Period's Purim Oddities
"A Merry Purim and a Good
Haman," wrote the Jewish shop-
keeper Meyer Josephson from the
Pennsylvania frontier to his Phil-
adelphia friend Michael Gratz on
March 5, 1763. Josephson, points
out Dr. Jacob R. Marcus, direc-
tor of the American Jewish Arch-
ives in Cincinnati, obviously had
in mind the Christian greeting, "A
Merry Christmas and a Happy
New Year." Wanting to be a good
American, however, he made up
an American Jewish Purim greet-
ing of his own. It was, of course,
a rather curious greeting since
"good Haman" was none other
than the scoundrel who wanted to
kill the Jews of Persia.
Not to be outdone in the cele-
bration of Purim was another 18th
Century American Jew, Joseph
Darmstadt, a Richmond, Va., mer-
chant. An active member of the
community and grandtreasurer of
the Virginia Grand Lodge of Mas-
ons, the former Hessian sutler was
well known for his wit. In March,
1789, he was invited to attend a
Purim party given by his friend
Jacob I. Cohen, whose wife's first
name was Esther, after the Queen
of Persia. Actually Esther Cohen
had been born a Christian, and her
name had originally been Eliza
beth, but she . t o o k the Jewish
name when she became a convert
to Judaism. Darmstadt, as it hap-
pened, was unable to attend the
Purim party held at the Cohen
home on March 12, 1789, but he
sent a poem to commemorate the
occasion and to enhance the festi-
vities. It was difficult for this ini-
migrant to write good English, but
he persisted, nonetheless. His ef-
fort to write what he thought was
English poetry has been preserved
and reads in part:
"Why is it sure a drohl affair,
Out of 365 days in a year,
Not to find one day which is feet (fit)
To give a body a diner to eat?
• • •
Then you find your only satisfaction,
Then you make us drink and sing,
Because you think like Ahasuerus
i What—have not I Queen Esther's
And besides, silver, gold, and treasure.
Therefore at my ease
I can invite wen I please.
• • •
All thes I say and no more.
May He who knows us all bless you as
And keep you many Purim
And I will drink your health in a glass
I am, with respect,
Your most humble sere.,
Such incidents are preserved - in
the American Jewish Archives on
the Cincinnati campus of the He-
brew Union College-Jewish Insti-
ute of Religion.
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
Friday, February 25, 1966-15
Objectionable Slaughter Bill Is Withdrawn
ALBANY (JTA) — A humane
slaughter bill that had come under
heavy fire from Jewish organiza-
tions in the State was withdrawn
by its sponsor in the New York
Legislature. Another bill, which
remains on the legislative calen-
dar, has been called unobjection-
able by Orthodox, Conservative
and Reform rabbinic associations,
national congregational bodies of
Conservatism and Reform, and
major Jewish civic organizations.
The measure that was withdrawn
was the so-called Hausbeck bill,
sponsored by Assemblymen Albert
J. Hausbeck of Buffalo and backed
publicly by the Friends of Ani-
mals, Inc. The still pending bill is
known by the name of its chief
sponsor, Senator Kenneth R. Wil-
lard of Nunda, who represents
Genessee, Livingston and Monroe
Counties. That bill has the backing
of the New York State Humane
Association, which includes most
Pioneer in Fight on TB
Maurice Fishberg, an American
Jewish physician whose career
spanned the turn of the century,
was a pioneer in the fight against
tuberculosis in this country. He in-
troduced the pneumothorax treat-
ment of the disease.
of the humane societies in the League of Bnai Brith; Jewish
War Veterans of the U.S.A.; Cen-
tral Conference of American Rab-
Hausbeck announced withdrawal
bis; and National Council of
of his bill on the assembly floor Jewish Women.
the same day that every member
of the legislature received indi-
vidual letters signed jointly by the
presidents of rabbinic, and Jewish
congregational and civic organiza-
tions, stating they were "unalter-
Complete from Detroit
ably opposed" to the Hausbeck bill
but had "no objection whatsoever"
to the Willard bill.
The signatories were: Union of
American Hebrew Congregations;
Jewish Labor Committee; Rabbini-
cal Council of America; American
Jewish Congress; United Syna-
gogue of America; Rabbinical
A s s e m b l y; Anti - Defamation
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