JEWISH WELFARE BOARD, an or ganization formed in New York on April, 9, 1917, as a result of the confer ence of representatives of the United Synagogue of America, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congre gations, the Agudath La—Rabbonim, the Jewish Publication Society of America and the Council of Y. M. H. A. and kin dred associations. The meeting was to remedy affairs such as occurred on the assembling of troops on the Mexican border, when the various Jewish agen cies acted independently and had not co ordinated their very well meant efforts. The purpose was to arrange that all welfare work necessitated by the par ticipation of Jews in the war should be under the supervision and direction of a Central Board representing the seven organizations present, such a Board to be composed of one representative from each of the organizations enumerated, and two additional persons, to be elected by the seven representatives. At subse quent meetings representatives of other organizations attended. The Board se cured permission from the War Depart ment t,o engage in work in the various cantonments and camps and it was made plain that this would be granted only if all Jewish agencies were co ordinated and would work through one organization.
The Board built up an organization and personnel for field work in the United States and abroad and to secure funds with which to finance the pro jected work. By Dec. 1, 1917, the Board had secured thirty-seven men for its field service, many of whom were volunteers, and had distributed them among the more important concentration Points. A joint campaign for funds was launched in New York City, as a result of which $900,000 came into the Board's treasury. The Board was thus enabled to open headquarters in New York City with an administrative staff. A train ing school for welfare workers was es tablished, and many classes were gradu ated. The workers were assigned to field work to help Jews in the army. Two thousand applicants for home and overseas service were considered. The work of the field representatives was conducted primarily in camps, canton ments and naval stations throughout the country. The Board was represented in 149 camps, cantonments, forts and hos pitals, and 44 naval stations, navy yards, submarine bases, and arsenals—a total of 193 places. The 'Welfare Worker was known as the Star of David Man. Meade, Upton, and Pelham Bay had Jewish Welfare Buildings, and others followed in rapid succession, fifty-one buildings being authorized, and thirty-five com pleted, 220,000 prayer books, 185,000 Bibles, 12,000,000 letter heads, 6,000,000 envelopes, and other literature were dis tributed.
jEWS, HEBREWS, or ISRAELITES, a people whose ancestors appear very early in the written history of mankind on the banks of the Euphrates, Jordan, and Nile, and whose frag-ments are now to be seen, in large or small numbers, in almost all the cities of the world; and though thinly scattered, both among the rudest and most civilized nations, pre serving through thousands of ages com mon features, habits, religion, literature, and the same lang-uage--a phenomenon unparalleled in history. Descended from Abraham, the Jews were at first called Hebrews, from the alleged ancestor of that patriarch, Heber. After the time of Jacob, their first appellation was re placed by the word Israelites, from Israel, a surname of Jacob. The term
Jew, derived from Judus, dates from the captivity in Babylon. The Jewish people assign their origin to Abraham, whom they designate the father of their race. After Abraham, Isaac, his son, became their chief; then Jacob, or Israel, the son of Isaac. Jacob had 12 sons, among them Judah, the ancestor of David and of Jesus Christ. The de scendants of Jacob multiplying very rapidly, they were eventually divided into 12 tribes, each of which was re garded as having been founded by one of the children of Jacob. In the closing years of his life Jacob settled in Egypt, in the land of Goshen. His posterity, powerful at first, were afterward en slaved and persecuted by the Pharaohs. Moses delivered them from their bond age in Egypt, and put himself at their head to conduct them into the land of Canaan. Under his leadership, the Jews miraculously passed the Red Sea, when Pharaoh and all his host were drowned. After wandering for 40 years in the desert, where Moses died, they reached the Land of Promise, their leader being Joshua, who had succeeded Moses. Joshua established the Jews in the Land of Promise and, dividing. the country into 12 parts, gave a portion to each of the 12 tribes. After Joshua, the govern ment was confided to a council of elders, then to judges; subsequently it became monarchial. Saul was the first king of the Jews; David succeeded him, and was followed by Solomon. These three kings established the dominion of the Jews throughout the ancient land of Canaan, and, for a short period, the kingdom extended to the Euphrates and the Red Sea, on which Solomon possessed the port of Elath. But on the death of the last king, the 12 tribes were divided, and from that schism sprang two king doms. The kingdom of Judah remained faithful to the lineal descendants of David, and offered allegiance to Reho boam, son of Solomon; the kingdom of Israel elected for its sovereign Jeroboam. These two kingdoms, weakened by per petual warfare and discord, were in the end enslaved. The kingdom of Israel was destroyed by Shalmaneser, King of Assyria, and the kingdom of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar, who first carried cap tive to Babylon a great part of the in habitants, and afterward took Jerusalem by assault, destroyed the temple, and re duced to slavery the whole of the people. After a captivity of 70 years, the Jews obtained from Cyrus permission to re establish themselves in Jerusalem, where they were governed by high priests. After the fall of the Persian empire, the Jews passed successively under the do minion of Alexander; of Ptolemy, King of Egypt; of Seleucus Nicator, King of Syria; and after once more falling under the sway of the kings of Egypt, were subsequently enslaved by the Syr ians. Against these the Jews rose, un der the leadership of Maccabmus, and threw off their yoke. The Maccabees became the hereditary sovereigns. Sub sequently, the Romans interfered in the internal affairs of the Jewish kingdom and placed Herod I. on the throne of the Maccabees, 37 B. c. It was under the reign of Herod that our Saviour was born. After the death of King Herod, Palestine was distributed among his sons, and divided into four portions, called tetrarchies (Juda, Galilee, Abilene, Itu rwa) but in a few years the Romans sent into the country a pro-consul, who governed in their name, and shortly aft erward Rome was sole master of the whole kingdom.