April 23, 1909
NEW JEWISH INSTITUTE.
Spurred on by a desire to better the condition of the Jewish emigrant to this country and this city, the Jewish educational institute was organized six years ago and occupied a small building at 812 East Fifteenth street. After the fourth year of its existence the officers in charge decided to make it more of a power among the Jewish communities of Kansas City. To this end the late home of the institution, 1702 Locust street, was secured and the work was taken up with renewed vigor. During the past two years the utility of the institute has been demonstrated by its growth in popularity and the number of Jews who have attended the night school. The consequence of this growth was that the institute outgrew its home.
The handsome new building, at Admiral boulevard and Harrison street, is constructed of vitrified brick and is three stories in height. In the basement of the building is located a gymnasium and bath rooms for both men and women. The second floor will be given over to educational work of all kinds. Chief among the educational branches is the class in English for those who have recently come to America, and classes in civil government will be given special attention. Besides these classes, manual training, such as cooking and sewing, is to be established for the women.
The new building will contain a library composed of good fiction and reference books. The top floor is given over to a large auditorium in which weekly lectures are to be held for the patrons of the institute. This room will also be used for social events as well. The day nursery department will be one of the most praiseworthy features of the institute, and there the children of the women who are forced to work for a livelihood will be cared for during working hours.
DR. EMIL G. HIRSCH.
Before an audience that filled the auditorium last night, Dr. Emil G. Hirsch of Chicago, in his dedicatory lecture, spoke on the duties of society.
"We are what we are through others," said he. "What little charity we give by no means measures what we owe. The property which you own has increased in value through no effort of yours. Its situation and mainly the incoming population has made it increase. You have not so much as touched a spade to it. This is Socialism, but what of it?
"Under Jewish law, land belonged to God, and no man had a right to the same property more than fifty years. Man, today, holds his possession in a title to which society is a determining element. Since you receive great returns from society you must give something to society.
" 'Am I my brother's keeper?' questioned the first murderer. That is indeed a murderer's question. Society is never better than the worst in society. We are our brother's keeper. Insane and evil are individual and perpetual elements, but society is responsible with the individual for the blood spilled and the sighs which are winged to heaven.
"As we keep our brother, in that manner shall we improve or degrade society."
From the question of general society Rabbi Hirsch turned to the matter of the discrimination against the Jews as a class.
"It is the greatest insult when one approaches a Jew and tells him that since he looks so little like a Jew he will be welcomed into a certain sect. I tell the man who utters such insults that I am better than he.. In the University clubs throughout the country, Jews are barred for no other reason. When I pass the University club in Chicago, I feel that I should pass on to Lincoln park and stand before the monkey cage.
"There no monkey holds his tail a little higher because it happens to be a little longer than any of the others, and I can derive more benefit by watching the monkeys. This veneer of culture is sickening, and it shows the lack of true refinement under the surface.
"Let the leanest of us Jews be mightier than the mightiest of them; let the weakest of us be stronger than the strongest of them. We are our brother's keeper and by them shall we be judged."
At the beginning of the dedicatory services and after the building had been accepted from A. Rothenberg of the building committee by Alfred Benjamin, president of the United Jewish Charities, Mr. Benjamin was presented with a loving cup form the Jewish population of Kansas City. For the past five years Mr. Benjamin has been the president of the organization and it was to express their appreciation of his services that the people presented him with a token of their esteem.
The opening prayer was delivered by Rabbi L. Koplowitz of the orthodox church and the benediction was pronounced by Rabbi H . H. Mayer of the reformed church.