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nineteenth annual report.
certain imposts which were to he put upon the trade of such butchers as have hitherto escaped taxation. Should this source of communal income be honestly and judiciously administered for the support of educational and sanitary objects, a new era might dawn upon the rising generation of Jews in Constantinople. A plague-spot might he removed which at the present time destroys from year to year the prospects of thousands of children who are sent to the Talmud Torah Schools. Of this subject I shall treat in the next section.
Ill—Talmud Toeah Schools.
. Constantinople, unhappily, contains as many as twenty-eight Talmud Torahs. These are the nurseries in which the deplorable misery of the rising generation of Jews is per-petuated. More than 2,500 boys between the ages of four and twelve are huddled together in seventy to eighty rooms, which, with few exceptions, are extremely filthy and insanitary. The poor children, whose school-hours are from 8 o'clock to 5 p.m., present an exceedingly unhealthy appearance, ex-cept perchance some little fellows who have only recently been received in these dens of wasted childhood.
Many of the sallow countenances are ominously marked by large dark rings round the lustreless eyes. The destitution of these ill-fed and ill-clad children is still more aggravated by the self-told tale of their mental neglect. The jovial freshness of youth gives way for ever to premature debility. In a forbidding attitude stands before these children their illiteiate teacher, whom some of his patrons may have promoted to this post, on finding that he could not make headway as a dealer in petty wares. He holds in his hand the rod of punishment, and visits upon the helpless children the sins of his own incompetency. The elder boys are made to recite mechanically, in a choral sing-song, the Pentateuchal portion of the week. In chorus they translate parts of the portion of the Law into the Judseo-Spanish dialect, but they are not taught how the precepts of the Bible should be used to improve the heart and straighten the conduct of life.
These schools are maintained from various sources. The parents of the children pay school fees according to their means—1 to 2 gwmYwxw (1 to 2 francs) a month. Additional
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