Digest of Public Opinion on Jewish Matters

[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 comparative possibilities of permanent reconstructive relief for Russian Jewry of the two principal efforts now being made in its behalf, namely, the colonization plan of the J. D. C. and the work of the Ort Reconstruction Fund, which concentrates on assisting Jewish artisans, are discussed by the New York “Times” of Sept. 3. In an editorial commenting on the statement of Dr. Henry Moskowitz, chairman of the Executive of the American Ort, who has just returned from Europe, the “Times” observes:

“Dr. Moskowitz reports that the Ort’s tool-supply service, on a revolving fund of $20,000, has rendered assistance to 1,200 families. He estimates that the sum of $1,000,000 might provide anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 families with the means of livelihood. Not only is the colonization form of relief much more expensive, but in the nature of things only a very small fraction of Russia’s Jewish population can ever be transferred to the land.

“The Jews of Russia have profited politically and socially under the Bolshevist Government, but have suffered badly under the Communist economic policies. The Communist war against ‘capitalism’ has gravely affected a population of which perhaps as much as 50 per cent was formerly engaged in some form of trade. Similarly the industrial and labor policies of the Government have worked havoc with the Jewish craftsmen. Any relaxation in the Government’s war against the ‘petty bourgeoisie,’ in the way of permitting the establishment of small shops employing a few workers, would probably bring greater help to the Jews of Russia than the transfer of Jewish townsfolk to the farm.

“For the Russian people as a whole,” the “Times” concludes, “the revival of small-scale production would be a blessing. The country suffers from an acute famine in manufactured goods. The peasants are reported to be carting back their grain from the markets because they cannot obtain the commodities of which they are in dire need. Communist doctrine might well bethink itself of affording freer opportunities to the Jewish artisan population.”

IRVING BERLIN’S OPINION ON INTERMARRIAGE

Irving Berlin’s opinion on the subject of intermarriage, of special interest because of his own recent marriage to a Catholic girl, is quoted in the “Jewish Tribune” of Sept. 3.

Speaking to the interviewer, Mr. Berlin said:

“In purely American circles it (his marriage to Ellin MacKay) was of minor importance. That at least has been my impression. You see, Ellin comes from the most exclusive society, the American aristocracy of finance. In Europe you may have the idea that this group is very proud if one of its members boasts of a very humble beginning. That’s where you are wrong. Humble beginnings are only spoken of if they date somewhere about the Mayflower period.

“As I say, I was rather under the impression that my self-madness was a handicap in these circles. My Jewishness, so I thought, was only of secondary importance there. Of course in the Jewish world it is primary. But, strange as it may seem, the Jewish world in America did not show any resentment, and even friends of real orthodox sphere did not make any move to excommunicate me for having married a shickse. Am I not accepted because I am a Jew, or because I do not belong to that society? Well, it is hard to differentiate. I suppose they mean the same thing.

“When it comes to love, religion passes to the background. It never struck me that I would be sacrificing a parcel of my Jewishness by marrying Ellin, and I suppose Ellin felt the same way about her religion….”

THE TRANSFORMATION

The continual flow of Jewish immigration into Palestine despite predictions to the contrary made several years ago, is commented on by “The Presbyterian” of Philadelphia. The paper remarks:

“The eye persists in looking for the fascinating facts concerning the advance of Palestine interests, for Jerusalem remains the center of the world to religious students and world citizens. In 1925, the total immigration into Palestine, exclusive of tourists, was 33,801, a number almost equaling the four preceding years. It was believe that when the final enthusiasm of the Zionist cause had subsided, the tide of immigrants would rapidly diminish; but the very opposite of this is revealed by the logic of figures, and the transformation continues.”

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