Digest of Public Opinion on Jewish Matters
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Digest of Public Opinion on Jewish Matters

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[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 proposal of Judge Horace Stern, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Jewish Charities to democratize Jewish Federations and widen the ranks of responsibility for their conduct and welfare is commended by the “Jewish Forum,” Orthodox Anglo-Jewish monthly. In its last issue the magazine observes:

“It would seem that the citizens of a democracy found it the natural thing to democratize their institutions. Yet to our knowledge, the attempt being made by Judge Horace Stern of Philadelphia is the first to introduce some of the American system into a Federation of Jewish charities.

“It is to be expected that a group of people who come together for the purpose of helping those less fortunate than themselves, should desire to have a voice in the expenditures of monies they contribute. But it is far healthier for the community to learn the principle of self help, rather than be dependent on self perpetuating boards of control.

“It is not conducive to strength and self-respect to have one element of a community, by far the greater in numbers–to feel that it is dependent, even for such things as hospitals, orphan asylums, and homes for the aged, upon the few who can contribute large sums in bulk. All the more so when Jewish education forms part of the program of work. American Jewry has imported from Europe the method of building a community from above downwards.

“Let American Jewry now become thoroughly American and start building the Jewish community from the bottom upwards, placing responsibility upon all alike for all the work devolved upon Jews as Jews, and giving first place to those who give of themselves–the workers. The educative value of this method is obvious, and the tendency to localize responsibility will no doubt have the effect of making each one shoulder his just share of the communal burden.”


A tribute was paid to the courage of Aaron Rodack, who was killed while defending his jewelry store against hold-up bandits, by the New York “Times” in its issue of Saturday. The paper writes:

“If ever a man deserved a statue to perpetuate his memory it is Aaron Rodack, who kept a little jewelry store in upper Broadway, and died on Thursday, a true hero.

“Seemingly his death was merely in defense of his own property; really it had a much larger object and served a much larger purpose. Easily one can say that Aaron Rodack would have been wiser had he submitted, as so many other citizens of New York have done, when confronted by armed robbers, thrown up his hands, and allowed them to take what they would. He did not have that sort of wisdom; instead he had a courage that pistols could not daunt and a determination to defend to the end, not so much his petty belongings as his rights as a dweller in a city supposed to be civilized.

“And it was not this week that the man first showed this courage. Twice before he had been attacked in the same way, and his reaction was the same. The least aggressive of men according to his neighbors, he could and would fight when fighting was necessary. He twice drove away the villainous assailants, and once he killed one of them The third time also the cowards fled when they had encountered a real man, but, not content with that, Aaron Rodack did what every good General does –he pursued and tried to destroy the hostile army as it retreated.

“Then it was that a chance shot from one of the brigands laid him low–a lamentable result of his display of civic virtue at its highest. For a death so honorable the tribute should be something more than mere mourning.”

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