The History of a Fund

History of the Baron de Hirsch Fund. By Samuel Joseph, Ph.D. Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia.

The question of readjusting American Jews to different professions is recently occupying a great deal of attention. It was discussed at great length at the recent convention of Jewish Social Workers in Lake Placid. It is being discussed constantly wherever American-Jewish leaders come together.

The “History of the Baron de Hirsch Fund,” published by the Jewish Publication Society, gives a key to this problem. It shows how the problem of adjusting Jews in America to all kinds of work has been dealt with for years by the trustees of the Baron de Hirsch Fund.

Dr. Samuel Joseph, the author of this book, has put in several years of labor in compiling the material. For this task every historian will be grateful to him. The intensive work of adjusting Jewish immigrants to trade and to farming, and the distribution of Jewish immigrants from congested urban centers to smaller communities is related in Joseph’s work, which shows how successfully the trustees of the Baron de Hirsch Fund have carried out the purpose for which the fund was established.

The principle of the fund being the Americanization of Jewish immigrants, there is hardly a single Jewish immigrant in America who has not benefitted directly or indirectly from the activities of the institutions created by this fund. The aid and protection of Jewish immigrants at American ports, the legal and legislative assistance given them, the relief granted many of them, the agricultural training and trade education with which many were provided, the removing of Jewish immigrants from urban centers—all these activities conducted by the Baron de Hirsch Fund are described in detail by Dr. Joseph in his book on the basis of historical data.

His volume is actually a history of Jewish growth in the United States. The book is indispensable to every intelligent Jew interested in studying the development of the Jewish community in America for the last fifty years. It gives a clear idea of the transplantation difficulties which nearly one-third of the Jews of Eastern Europe face in adjusting themselves to American life.

Students who are interested in Jewish occupational re-direction which has now become a major problem for American Jews should read the “History of the Baron de Hirsch Fund.” This is a book which deserves the attention of every person interested in the social problems now affecting American Jews.

Milton Brown.

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