||The Jewish Chautauqua Society was founded in 1893 by Rabbi Henry Berkowitz, of Philadelphia, as a program to educate Jews about their Judaism. The Jewish Chautauqua Society (JCS) represents a formative chapter in the history of American Jewish education. It organized the first national Jewish teachers institutes as well as a correspondence school for religious-school teachers, and was a pioneer in the areas of adult education, textbook publication, audio-visual production, and curricular development. Ultimately it failed to become the national center its founders envisioned it to be.
||Jacob Henry Schiff (1847-1920) was born on in Frankfurt- am-Main, Germany. The son of Moses and Clara (Niederhofheim) Schiff, he was a descendant of a distinguished rabbinical family that could trace its lineage back to 1370. He received a secular and religious education at the Israelitische Religionsgesellschaft.
At age 18, Schiff emigrated to the United States and became a citizen. He went to work in a brokerage firm in New York and he later became a partner in Budae, Schiff and Company. He met and fell in love with Theresa Loeb, the daughter of Solomon Loeb, head of the banking firm, Kuhn, Loeb and Company. They were married on May 6, 1875, and he entered her father's firm.
In 1885, he was named head of the firm because of his financial abilities. Schiff was a strong advocate for the gold standard and he opposed the Silver Purchase Act of 1890. Despite his success in the financial world, he always felt he had a special obligation to the Jewish People. He fulfilled this commitment through his philanthropies.
Schiff was a Reform Jew, but he still retained many of the Orthodox habits of his youth. He was especially active in the establishment and development of the Jewish Theological Seminary and the Hebrew Union College. He was a large contributor to the relief programs for the Jewish victims of the Russian Czar's anti-Semitic programs.
There was hardly a Jewish organization which was not the recipient of his contributions. His interest and love for Jewish literature found him contributing generously to the Jewish Publication Society. He funded a program for a new English translation of the Bible. He helped to establish the Jewish Division in the New York Public Library.
Schiff was always concerned about humanity and sickness. He contributed heavily to Montefiore Hospital in New York where he served as president for 35 years. During those years, he visited the hospital weekly. He contributed generously to many Jewish and non-Jewish organizations, including the Semitic Museum at Harvard University; he gave one million dollars to Barnard College; contributed to the American Red Cross, Tuskegee Institute, the Henry Street Settlement, etc.
He was one of the founders of the American Jewish Committee and was active in the Jewish Welfare Board.
Jacob Henry Schiff died on September 25, 1920, in New York City.