Persistent identifier:
MS137_AJ95_150_9
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SIXTEENTH ANNUAL REPORT.
Amongst the difficulties to be overcome in modernising the instruction of Jewish children in Turkey, are, happily, not to be reckoned any obstacles or difficulties likely to be interposed by the Turkish authorities. The Government of the Sultan is tolerant of all religions, and has never failed in affording full protection to the Jew. Every reasonable request made has been acceded to, and the ignorance now existing in the Israelite communities is, so far as Turkey is concerned, in no part attributable to the constitution of the country. In an interview with which I was favoured by Ragib Bey, the Sultan's confidential adviser, at the Palace of Yildiz, he assured me that the Government has always been desirous of forwarding the interests and improving the condition of the Jews ; and that the Sultan is personally well disposed towards them. He emphasised this by the statement that the Sultan had recently sent for the Chief Rabbi of Constantinople, and, having inquired as to this welfare, gave orders for him to receive an allowance of £TG0 per month. The evils upon which I have animadverted are traceable to the action of the people themselves, in the first instance; and, in the second, to the existence of the schools of the Talmud Tor a, which are a national evil to the community, standing like a perpetual barrier in the path of progress. The old Rabbinical theories are here exclusively inculcated, whilst modern innovations and improvements are studiously shut out, as though the light would defile the darkness in which their system of education is shrouded. As observed, a child at one of these institutions receives education in Hebrew only, the preceptor himself knowing but little else. When the pupil arrives at the age of fifteen he is turned out to make his way in the world. But of what avail is his superficial acquaintance with the Talmud and its commentators ? He knows nothing of the essentials of Judaism, of the elements of real education, nor of any handicraft or useful work whatsoever. The boy so educated, or rather uneducated, is therefore lost. He becomes the prey of the nearest missionary, or he exists in the eyes of his neighbours as an example of ignorance and bigotry, the odium of which reflects upon the community generally. The converse of all this holds good in the case of the pupils of the Alliance and Anglo-Jewish Schools; and the results of the opposite system under which they are brought up are seen in their superior morale, physical and mental, and in their greater intelligence and improved habits, manners, and appearance.
I visited the School for Boys at Galata. This school is
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