In the important reference book on the Jewish Landsmanshaften, Di Yidishe Landsmanshaften fun Nyu York, produced by the WPA in 1938 there is a chapter on the Constitutions of the Landsmanshaften by E. Fershleyser. These Constitutions were vital matters though their contents seemed dry.
Unlike the early Constitutions of American synagogues these institutions received from their members genuine institution loyalty. The demands made of members seemed reasonable and the benefits that they offered were irreplaceable and as a result valued highly. If you were the son [or daughter] of a small Polish town you couldn't just get irritable about any little thing and go and start another society for residents of that town. Aside from the simple social value of having a place to go outside of you own small apartment or room the members of the Landsmanshaften had a kind of club house to go to where you weren't a stranger. The big city of New York was that much less lonely. In addition to that basic benefit, the Landsmanshaften provided marriage benefits (and some supervision), sick benefits, assistance with Shiva, assistance in times of financial need, cemetery plots and burial benefits, as well as, in many cases, synagogues where their sons could be Bar Mitzvahed (sorry girls, nothing for you here). It is interesting to see in the different documents just how much paternal interest the societies intended to or actually claimed in the ways that the most significant events in their member's lives took place.
Hannah Kliger in her edited and abridged translation of Di Yidishe Landsmanshaften fun Nyu York, translated this essay ( in Jewish Hometown Associations and Family Circles in New York) and has an essay, "That Will Make You a Good Member: The Rewards of Reading the Constitutions of Jewish Immigrant Associations" in A Double bond: the constitutional documents of American Jewry,edited by Daniel Judah Elazar; Jonathan D Sarna; Rela M Geffen.
We offer here a few Landsmanshaften Constitutions and a Gemilut Hesed document. These are available for sale at hollanderbooks.com. Subject to prior sale.
Konstitushon der Hevrah Bnei Yitshak Anshe Narayov Gegrindet der 5ten November, 1895/ Constitution of the Cong. Bnei Isaac Anshe Narajow. New York, Cong. Bnei Isaac Anshe Narajow, 1895 or possibly later. 32mo, stapled paper covers, bottom open corner creased, a few pages slightly torn, 32, 32 pp. Softbound. Good. Text is in Yiddish and English. OCLC Number: 646907160. (71403) (For this item and the next see Di Yidishe Landsmanshaften, p. 318). Sold
Gemilut Hesed shel Hevrah Bnei Yitshak Anshe Narayov. New York, Cong. Bnei Isaac Anshe Narajow, 1936. 32mo, stapled paper covers, 4 pp., very small chip to the front cover. Softbound. Good. Text is in Yiddish and English. Rare (71406) Sold
Konstitutsye fun di Progresiv Slutsker Yong Mens Benevolent Ass'n, Gegrindet Yanvar 30ten, 1904/ Constitution and By-Laws of the Progressive Slutzker Young Men's Benevolent Association, Organized Jan 30, 1904. New York, The Progressive Slutzker Young Men's Benevolent Association, c. 1933. 32mo, black cloth with a gold emblem on the front board, 41, 39 pp. Hardbound. Very Good. Text is in Yiddish and English (71405) (For this item see Di Yidishe Landsmanshaften, p. 324). $125.00
Konstitutsye. Vishkover untershtitsung farayn. New York, Vishkover untershtitsung farayn. , 1944. 32mo, black cloth with gold emblem on the front cover, 48 pp. Hardbound. Very Good. Text is in Yiddish. OCLC Number: 19313975. (71404) (For this item see Di Yidishe Landsmanshaften, p. 283). Sold
Elazar, Daniel Judah; Sarna, Jonathan D. and Geffen, Rela M., edited by. A Double bond : the constitutional documents of American Jewry. Lanham : University Press of America, 1992.
Kingman, Gordon and Rontch, Isaac E., edited by. Di Yidishe Landsmanshaften fun Nyu York/ The Jewish Landsmanschaften of New York. Tsugegreyt durkh der Yidisher Shreyber-Grupe oyf'n Federalen Shreyber Proyekt Works Progress Administration in the City of New York. New York, I.L. Perets Shreyber Fareyn, 1938.
Kliger, Hannah, edited with an Introduction and Afterword by. Jewish Hometown Associations and Family Circles in New York: The WPA Yiddish Writers' Group Study. Bloomington, Indiana, Indiana University Press, 1992.