Mexico City (Oct. 16)
The establishment of a B’nai B’rith house in Mexico City, under the direction of J. L. Weinberger, is the first step toward a systematic aid of the immigrants, who in large numbers, are coming constantly to Mexico. At present the Jewish population numbers over ten thousand, no exact census having been made, and a large majority of these are young men and boys who not only have no homes but who, literally, have no place to go and no one with whom to speak.
From the day of its opening the B’nai B’rith became a meeting place for the newcomers; for over a thousand young men and boys who belong to no Jewish organization whatsoever.
Work in aiding the immigrants is done through an agent in the port of Vera Cruz, who straightens out all landing difficulties, provides those who have nothing with a place to sleep, and aids them to reach the capital, where at first they are lodged in the B’nai B’rith house, if they have no money. The house has several large dormitories, small rooms, bathroom facilities, restaurant, clubroom, and the beginning of a gymnasium.
The most important branch is the employment agency, which is active in finding positions for the newcomers, preferably in industrial and professional fields. It is aimed to relieve the congestion in the fields of pedding and small dry goods establishments. While many of the immigrants were fitted, both by training and experience, for technical work, their ignorance of the language and customs made it practically impossible for them to obtain this sort of position. There is a nucleus of a school, classes have have been opened in Spanish and commercial branches, as well as industrial. There is a large shoemaking class, which apprentices work through a co-operative system. Considering the future there is in Mexico for shoemaking branches, this class is a wise institution. It is taught by one of the Jewish manufacturers of the city. Many of the beginners of Spanish are taught by students themselves, boys who have been in Mexico longer and who can make themselves understood, while the advanced Spanish classes are in charge of trained teachers.
It is expected that the B’nai B’rith House will become the center not only of social welfare for the immigrants, but the point from which the peopling of Mexico with Jews will spread, an idea that is not talk nor idle dreaming, but an actually occurring fact.