The late Jacob H. Schiff was eulogized Sunday evening at a memorial meeting held on the eighty-second anniversary of his birth.
Eight hundred men and women attended the ceremonies at the Jacob H. Schiff Center, the Bronx, dedicated to the late leader, and witnessed the unveiling of a portrait of Mr. Schiff, painted by Mark O. Jaffe. Dr. Cyrus Adler, President of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and the Dropsie College, whose biography of Mr. Schiff has recently been published, unveiled the portrait.
The Schiff family was represented by Mr. and Mrs. Felix M. Warburg.
Sol M. Stroock. President of the New York Federation for Jewish Philanthropic Societies and the Metropolitan League was the chairman of the evening. Addresses were delivered by Louis Marshall, Dr Cyrus Adler, Mayor James J. Walker, Hon. Joseph V. McKee, President of the Board of Aldermen, Samuel Berger, President of the Schiff Center and Rabbi Alexander Basel, spiritual leader of the Center.
Mr. Schiff’s contribution to the city state and nation regardless of creed was extolled by Mayor Walker and Mr. McKee. Mr. Marshall and Dr. Adler painted an intimate picture of the man whose name is the symbol of goods deeds wherever Jews live.
“The life of Jacob H. Schiff.” declared Mr. Marshall, “is a life model which we might all pattern after. It can be studied from many points of view. From whichever point we regard it, it was full of beauty, grandeur and inspiration. The youth who came to America friendless and without wealth and died a world figure, achieved his preeminence because he had character, a tremendous natural dignity, was strong in his convictions, his affections, his loyalty, had fundamental principles adopted in his youth, from which he never swerved,” he stated.
“His loyalty to our faith was without parallel among men.” said Mr. Marshall. “There was no narrowness, no cant or hypocrisy. He was interested in every phase of Judaism. Belonging to two Reform Congregations, it was he who brought about the re-organization of the Jewish Theological Seminary, an orthodox institution and in all the years of his association, never sought to change its teachings.
“Men loved him because of his all embracing humanity. He had no pride of wealth. He met every man on the common ground of merit and work. His influence will be felt for generations to come,” Mr. Marshall concluded.
The life of Mr. Schiff had left a profound impression on him, Dr, Adler said, because he was the outstanding example of how the American and the Jew could be combined. Mr. Schiff, he said, attained eminence in national and world finance and yet could keep himself intact. It is important that we should not talk about being a Jew and an American, but be one, instead,” (###) declared.
The outstanding quality of Mr. Schiff’s life, Dr. Adler stated, was that the never had to be asked to do anything he offered to do. In this connection he related the story of his first meeting with Mr. Schiff.
“I was a student in Baltimore, in 1886, trying to get together a modest sum to buy a Hebrew Library. I didn’t think of going to any one I didn’t know. I didn’t know Mr. Schiff. Oct day I received a Hetter from Mr. Schiff offering me his contribution toward any library, if by that time I hadn’t enough money, and if I had enough, telling me in the future, he wanted to be counted in on such things. With it was an invitation to come to New York to meet him.”
In his message of greeting, Mayor Walker said: “I bring you the respect that is in the hearts of those far removed from Jewry. Mr. Schiff’s life was a lesson from which not only Jews can profit. A great American and devoted Jew. he was an outstanding exemplar that wealth, prestige and prominence do not suffice without religion. May his memory continue to inspire a devotion to your religion.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.