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The First Record of the Hebra Guemilut Hasadim

L. D. Barnett

<plain_text><page sequence="1">258 the first record of the hebra guemilut hasadim The First Record of the Hebra Guemilut Hasadim, London, 1678. By Dr. L. D. Barnett. One of the most ancient and interesting records in the archives of the Congregation in Bevis Marks is the document of which the text is herewith published. It is a memorial addressed to the Mahamad of the day, requesting their permission and authority to enable the peti? tioners to establish a Hebra or charitable society for the care of the sick and the performance of the necessary rites over the dead, and is dated a.m. 5438 (1678). It is written on a single sheet of paper, measur? ing 7f inches in width and 12J inches in height, and is preserved in the Vestry Offices at Bevis Marks, having been presented to the Congre? gation by the late Mr. Abraham Tolano, by whom it was shown in the Anglo-Jewish Historical Exhibition of 1887, in the catalogue of which it is registered as no. 606 and described as " Document relating to origin of the Society Queheloth de Israel " (sic /). This memorial marks the first official act in the history of the Hebra Guemilut Hasadim ; the authority of the Mahamad was apparently granted to the petitioners, and the Hebra was thereupon constituted as an organ of the Congregation. Its function of ministering to the sick has long ago been deputed to other bodies ; but it retains still and exercises with vigour its other function, as the official organisation for the care and burial of the dead. The document appears to be in the handwriting of E. Oliveira, whose signature stands at the head of the third column ; like others of his family, he seems to have been a teacher in the Kahal. A. Gon sales was a signatory to the Petition of March 1656 to Cromwell, where his name appears as " Abraham Coen gonsales " ; A. Do Porto had been connected with the Congregation since 1660, and perhaps earlier ; and J. J. Alvares was Gabay in 1677. Most, if not all, of the others were younger men, at any rate as regards their connection with the Kahal. The first London Directory, printed in 1677, gives the address of " Isaac and Jacob Swares " as Duke's Place, and those of J. J. Alvares and A. Do Porto (" Abrah. Deporte ") as St. Mary Axe.</page><page sequence="2">Memorial of the Hebra Guemilxjt Hahat&gt;tm I. Recto [To face p. 256</page><page sequence="3">Memorial of the Hebra Guemilut Hasadim II. Verso</page><page sequence="4">THE FIRST RECORD OF THE HEBRA GUEMILUT HASADIM 259 Recto. Muy Dignos Sres. do Mahamad do K.K. Sahar asamim (sic !) qe nosso Sr. prospere eaugmte. He virtude jeral de todas as quehiloth de Jsrael, em todos os lugares donde abita?, ynstituirem eformarem Hebra, qe exercite ameritoria eurgente charidade qe se deve aos doentes edifnntos, p qe aexperiencia ha mostrado, qe faltando, Nem, os doentes sa? [?assis]tidos, Nem ?s funcoems dos difuntos se acude como he obrigaca?, desta ha caressido the oprezente ste nosso noblissimo. K.K. pois nelle na? se ha formado Hebra de yrma?s Nomeados para os ditos exercisios, pello qe nos abaxo firmados, movidos do zello, stimulados da onra, eobrigados da nessecidade, suplicamos a Vms Nos Conseda? lisensa para trataremos de stableser h?a yrmandade com as condicoems e previlegeos convinientes, que Consedendonos sta Lisensa epostos em ordern, prostraremos asua boa correcsa? ; e ficamos esperando odespacho desta, para sem dilaca? principiarmos sta eroeca obra p gloria do Sso. nome do Sr. DS. de Jsrael qe guarde eprospere a Vms : em companha de todo o K.K. Londres a 13 de Menahem de 5438 @. Na Perassa, eguardara ati. A. teu D5. ao flmamento e Caridade qe jurou a teus pais.1 Abraham de I.(?) Lindo. Eliau oliueira. Dauid Israel Nunez. ^ at ^ T _ Ben. Nunez. Dauid Dasilua. Daniel Lopez Rizo. iahacob ysrael nunez. benjamin francez. Ishac Mendez Ramos. a ^ ^ _ Abraham Do Porto. Jacob Ramos. Iahacob Bueno Frances. Jahacob Jeserun Aluares. J. Abraham De lorenzo. Ishac Isr: Carvajal. Js. de Morais. Abraham Doporto ornoso. Abraham dCasseres. Jacob Rois. Abraham Gonsales. Abraham zuzarte. Abraham Rodriguez Depaiua. Ysaq Rois de soza. Abraham de Palma Carrillo. 1 Deut. vii. 8.</page><page sequence="5">260 the first record of the hebra guemilut hasadim moseh de francia. samaul auila. Abraham Lopez Dauid Abarbanel. Britto [Sa]muel Bueno Bibas. Verso. Abraha? Boiz Pinhel. Jacob Suares. Jacob Abenacai. ishack da costa. Abr. Nauarro. Jaac. Peres Galua?. Translation. Very Worthy Gentlemen of the Mahamad of the Holy Congrega? tion Sahar Asamaim, which may our Lord prosper and increase. It is a general virtue of all the congregations of Israel, in all the places where they dwell, to establish and form a Hebra, which shall practise the meritorious and urgent charity which is due to the sick and dead: for experience has shown that in the absence thereof neither can the sick be attended to (?) nor can the rites of the dead be performed in due manner. Up to the present this our most noble Holy Congrega? tion has lacked it, as there has not been formed in it a Hebra of brethren of repute for the said practices; wherefore we who have signed below, moved by zeal, stimulated by honour, and obliged by necessity, sup? plicate your Worships to grant us permission to undertake the founda? tion of a brotherhood with suitable conditions and privileges, so that having this permission granted to us. and being settled in order, we will submit to your good correction; and we await the despatch thereof, in order that we may without delay set about this heroic task for the glory of the most holy Name of the Lord God of Israel?may He guard and prosper you in company with all the Holy Congregation. London, the 13th of Menahem (Ab), of the year 5438. (As it is said) in the Portion of the Law, and the Lord your God shall keep for thee the oath and the favour which He swore to your fathers.</page></plain_text>