Monday, December 14, 2009

Amanuensis Monday: The Greatest Mitzvah

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

"Tzedaka is equal to all the other commandments combined." (Bava Batra, 9A).

Tzedaka means deeds of justice, often translated as charity, and the Talmudic quote above illustrates its religious importance. During Khanike/Hanuka it is traditional to give children money (gelt) and encourage them to use the money for tzedaka.

Below are transcriptions from several news articles I found in the St. Louis Post Dispatch 1874-1922 archives. They illustrate acts of tzedaka by young St. Louisans, including some relatives.

St. Louis Post Dispatch, Sept 5, 1911, page 4.

Saucy Comedy of This Name Given for Babies’ Benefit as Real Schools Open

On the very verge, as it were, of the new school term’s opening today, the big feature of an entertainment recently given by three little girls at 5962 Bertha avenue, which realized $6 for the Post-Dispatch Pure Milk and Free Ice Fund, was a sketch entitled “School Day Troubles,” bless your life!

And they were very typical and diverting school day troubles, too, as set forth by little Misses Lucille Kregesman, Louise B Wilcox, and Catherine Connolly, to the keen amusement of their audience.


Four other little girls gave a show for the Pure Milk Fund’s benefit at 1935 Burd Avenue the other night, earning $6.22 with which to help in saving the lives of the poor babies of the tenements. The helpful girls who gave this show were Edna Wyner, Estelle Kreisman, Rose Feinstein, and Lillian Kreisman, and they are properly proud of their show’s success.


All honor to the helping girls and the helping boys of St. Louis! They have covered themselves with glory this summer.

St. Louis Post Dispatch, October 29, 1913, page 9.


Six young folks living on the 1900 block, Burd avenue, sold lemonade for the benefit of the Post-Dispatch Pure Milk and Free Ice Fund and earned $1.68 with which to help save the tenement babies.

Those who took part in this good enterprise are Rose Feinstein, 1941A; Clara and Jessie Seidel, 1938A; Tillie Cohen, 1947A; and Ben and Mollie Steinberg, 1935A Burd avenue.

St. Louis Post Dispatch, July 23, 1918, page 10.

Miss Susan Barnes and Associates to Present Play Thursday Night in University City

Miss Susan Barnes of 6312 Washington boulevard and associates, who last year presented “The Toy Shop” so successfully for the benefit of the Post-Dispatch Pure Milk Fund and Free Ice Fund, will produce another play Thursday night, on the lawn at 6307 Westminster place, to help the babies. The title of the play is “What Can I Do?” and the performance will start at 8:30 o’clock. The children who will participate are organized this year as the University City Chapter of the Children’s Loyalty League of America and the affair is under the auspices of the chapter.


A show consisting of recitations, dancing, and singing numbers was given at 4724 Newberry terrace, July 20. All but one of the children traking part live on Newberry terrace. With the street numbers, they are: Henrietta Racine, 4717; Mabel Cohen, 4730A; Ethel Smith, 4718A; Belle Gerber, 4724; Adeline Feinstein, 4732; Mildred Steinwolf, 4748; Helen Gerber, 4724; George Cohen, 4730; Burton Cohen, 4730A; Shalben Baskem, 4733. The other participant was Marian Fisher, 4713 Vernon avenue. The receipts were $12.51.

Rose Feinstein was born in 1901 in St. Louis, Missouri, the youngest daughter of my second great grandparents, Selig and Annie (Perlik) Feinstein. So she would have been ten years old in 1911, and twelve in 1913.

Adeline Feinstein was born in 1908, daughter of Selig and Annie's oldest son, Harry. So in 1918 she would have been ten. (She was one of the orphans who moved in with my great grandparents circa 1930.)

Selig, Annie, and their children were likely living in tenements themselves through 1905.

If you choose to join me in Amanuensis Monday and post your transcriptions, feel free to add a link to your post below, or in the comments.

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