Whether or not members of District No. 1 of the Independent Order B’nai B’rith, the largest American Jewish fraternity with a membership of over sixty thousand, should at public functions arranged by the lodges of the order, be provided with a kosher meal, food prepared in accordance with the Mosaic Dietary laws, was the question debated for a long time at the seventy-fourth annual convention of the district which closed its session here yesterday.
The question was raised by Dr. Herbert S. Goldstein, president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish congregations of America, who, althought not a delegate to the convention was given the floor by a vote of the delegates. He was supported by Judge Abraham K. Cohen of Boston, Mass., by Myron Sulzberger and other delegates who argued that while liberal Jews do not commit any offense against their religion and conscience by eating Kosher food, the Orthodox members of the fraternity would be compelled to abstain from participating in the meal served at these public functions if the recommendation is not accepted.
Charles Hartman, New York delegate, led the opposition against the recommendation declaring that the Order, being composed of Jews of all shades of opinion and religious affiliations, could not endorse such a policy which would give out the impression that it is an Orthodox organization.
With an overwhelming majority the convention voted “to recommend to all the lodges of District No. 1 of the Independent Order B’nai B’rith including also the Grand Lodge that at all banquets held by the lodges Kosher should be provided for.”
This was a compromise brought about by the suggestion of Judge Cohen of Boston which provides the possibility for those members of the Order who do not believe in Kosher to have their way and those who adhere to the Mosaic dietary laws to have it served their way.
Another resolution adopted by the Convention following a heated debate was to the effect that the Old Age Home established by the Order forty-three years ago with the capacity of 110, be offered for sale, so that a new home at another site might be erected to comply with the present needs of the organization. It was pointed out during the debate that the standard of prosperity among the membership of the Order rose in the last forty years to such a degree that an increase in the possible candidates for inmates in the institution is unlikely. The plea of Myron Sulzberger to turn the Home into an American institution which would be administered under the auspices of the Order but which would admit not only members, was outvoted.