In his third article on the future of Judaism in America, H. Lang (in the “Forward” of Dec. 28) quotes the opinions on this subject of Mr. Louis Marshall, chairman of the American Jewish Committee and Mr. A. Lessin, editor of the Socialist monthly “Die Zukunft”. Mr. Marshall, we are informed by Mr. Lang, refuses to discuss the problem of the future of American Jewry, not because of a lack of interest but because he prefers doing concrete work in the interests of his fellow-Jews to discussing theories.
“Mr. Marshall has very definite opinions on the Jewish problem but he expresses his opinions through his public activities. Mr. Marshall’s Judaism is of a practical nature. It is not a ‘programme’ Judaism; it is not of the Zionist sort, but also not of the sort that opposes everything that preserves the Jews as a separate people.
“Mr. Marshall champions Judaism as well as the Jews, and there is a worldliness about his Judaism. His is the Judaism that has made peace with the world about it. He would not countenance a proposal to establish courses in Yiddish at the public schools where Jewish children predominate. He wants Judaism taught in the English language and his reason is a very practical one: Yiddish will be forgotten by the children and Judaism with it. Mr. Marshall believes in doing practical work for the perpetuation and welfare of the Jewish people so that the coming generations of Jews may be loyal Jews in the American spirit.”
Taking up Mr. Lessin’s views on the matter, Mr. Lang shows that, strange as this may seem to the friends and admirers of the Yiddish poet and editor, his opinions on the Yiddish language coincide with those of Mr. Marshall. He does not believe Yiddish will survive long for the Jews discard it in favor of English as soon as they become acclimatized here. Mr. Lang continues:
“With his great knowledge of Jewish history Mr. Lessin brought forth a number of examples to show that the Jews adopted various languages at different times of their history and later discarded them and he expressed his conviction that Yiddish would meet with the same fate. But he has no misgivings about the future of American Jewry. The new generations of Jews growing up were will be healthy and normal and untroubled by the sicknesses of soul and mind which were present in the older generations. Mr. Lessin also sees the development of a new national pride among the young generation of American Jews and he feels very pleased over this. Although he is a Socialist, he is likewise an ardent Jewish nationalist and he is convinced that American Jewry will benefit from its new sense of national pride and when its potential powers will come to the surface it will record achievements as glorious as those of the Jewries in any other land.