[The purpose of the Digest is informative: Preference is given to papers not generally accessible to our readers. Quotation does not indicate approval.--Editor.]
The amount of sacramental wine bought by the Jews in the United States for the Passover holidays this year, as reported by the Prohibition Office in Washington, is regarded by the “Jewish Morning Journal” (Mar. 29) as an indication of the condition of Judaism in this country today.
“Jews have bought, on government permits, half a million gallons of wine for the Seder ceremony,” the paper says, “and if we accept one gallon per family as the average, which is certainly not too much, it means that from this source alone five hundred thousand families have bought wine for the holidays.
“As a matter of fact the average is very likely smaller, for there are surely more families that use half a gallon than those that buy one and a half or more. And this shows that the half million gallons have been distributed among more than half a million families. To this must be added a considerable number of Jewish families that make their own wine, which is legally permitted. It is a conservative estimate to add at least another 100,000 families to that half million, and that gives as a total of 600,000 families, which, figuring five persons to a family, shows that over three million Jews practice Judaism sufficiently to buy or to make wine for Passover.”
The “Morning Journal” declares that among the Reform Jews who are in a minority, about 200,000 persons, are some who perhaps also buy wine for the Passover, and, furthermore, the “economically radical masses are more Jewish than the sceptics would believe.”
On the basis of this estimate, the paper concludes that “three-fourths, maybe even-four-fifths, of the American Jews have not broken away from Judaism, and this is more encouraging for the Jewish future than all the fine speeches about the sacredness of the Passover.”
99 IN 100 DO NOT KNOW THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
Among 100 people questioned, including some who advocate the obligatory reading of the Ten Commandments in the public schools, only one knew the Decalogue in full, according to Walter B. Pitkin, Associate Professor of Journalism in Columbia, who is making an investigation on this subject. Giving the results secured by him so far (N. Y. “World,” Mar. 28), Prof. Pitkin also cites the rating of five Jewish newspaper men, who were included in a group of 18 journalists questioned by him.
“The eighteen journalists averaged 6.5 Commandments,” we read. “I grieve to say that this average was badly dragged down by the scandalous ignorance of several benighted scribes who knew only three of four, and by one scoundrel who knew only two, and was not sure of these.
“One odd feature in this group is that it contained five newspaper men who had been raised in strict orthodox Jewish homes, and the score of these five was 4, 6, 6, 7 and 7 respectively. There remains to be said that the highest score in this group was eight Commandments, and most of the men who touched this peak have no religious connections or beliefs.”
THE BEAUTIES OF TOLERANCE
The beauties of tolerance are real, native American traits, declares the New York “American” of March 30, in an editorial commenting on the celebration last week in Baltimore of the anniversary of March 25, 1634, when religious tolerance was first declared in the state of Maryland.
“President Coolidge,” the paper writes, “once praised tolerance as the most needed of the virtues. More recently Irvin S. Cobb, in quite other words of course, sang the same praise. Last week in Baltimore the beauties of tolerance were effectually brought to mind as real, native American traits.
“There a committee of the Calvert Associates held a celebration to mark the anniversary of March 25, 1634, when, to quote The Commonweal, ‘an assembly of citizens decreed for the first time in the history of their race that persecution was not the normal function of the State or a majority.’
“The statutes of the colonists of Lord Baltimore on that day ‘ordained and enacted that no person or persons whatsoever within this province shall from henceforth be any waies troubled, molested or discountenanced for or in respect of his or her religion, nor in the free exercise thereof.’”