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 contention made from time to time in the past that Rembrandt by Professor Leigh Harrison Hunt, noted artist and head of the art department at the New York City College. In an interview appearing in the Sept. issue of the “B’nai B’rith Magazine” Irving Lippmann quotes Prof. Hunt as saying: “In my mind there is no doubt but that Rembrandt was of Jewish descent.” Explaining the reasons for his opinion, Prof. Hunt said:

“Why did Rembrandt live all his life in the Amsterdam ghetto? It was no great honor to live in the Jewish district, and for an artist who wished to establish himself as a portrait painter, the ghetto was not the most desirable residence. Unless he was Jewish, why did he do it? Yet he remained in the ghetto all his life.

“Another argument that might be forwarded to support the theory that Rembrandt was a Jew is the peculiar aversion that he had toward painting the nude. Even though it was the fashion of the day, he very rarely painted unclad models. But he did have the oriental trait of loving ornamentation and fineries: Whenever it was possible he introduced into his paintings intricate vestments, jewelry, armor, and velvety materials.

“It is a well known fact that Rembrandt chose almost all the models for his religious paintings from the ghetto,” Professor Hunt asserted. “His Christ was invariably a Jewish young man of the Amsterdam ghetto. If Rembrandt were not Jewish he certainly would not have done that.”

“Coupled with the fact that Rembrandt used Jewish models, we have an extensive list of paintings and etchings by the master presenting rabbis, Jewish brides, Jewish women, over and over again. A transient interest in Jews could not possibly have found such productiveness.”

DIFFICULT TO BE A JEW

The recent experience of Mrs. J.G. Spitz of Virginia, who was finalist in the women’s state golf championship tournament but had to forfiet the possible victory because the contest was set for Yom Kippur, is the subject of an editorial in the Wisconsin “Jewish Chronicle” (Sept. 24), which observes:

“According to the story as told by Billy Sixty in the Milwaukee Journal, the committee could have postponed the match under the rules of the U.S. Golf Association, if it desired. But it didn’t desire any such thing, at least not when there was any possibility of a Jewish woman winning the state championship by actually playing golf.

“It is difficult enough to be a good golfer-it is much more difficult to be a good golfer and a good Jew! But let this fact console you, a few years ago it would have been unthinkable to permit a Jew to even enter an important golf tournament. Some day a Jew may be given a fair chance at even the Virginia State Cup! Progress may be slow, but it’s progress.”

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