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Synagogue Council of America Formed into Permanent Agency Uniting All American Jewish Religious Bodi

(Jewish Daily Bulletin)

Philadelphia, the city of Brotherly Love, yesterday morning saw the foundation of a new brotherhood representing all shades of Jewish religious thought. This new organization will be known as the Synagogue Council of America.

The Council is made up of representatives of Synagogue organizations of the Reform, the Conservative and the Orthodox. The constituent organizations are the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America and its Rabbinical Council representing the Orthodox, the United Synagogue of America and its Rabbinical Assembly representing the Conservative and the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, representing the Reform wing. Rabbi Abram Simon of Washington was elected president, Captain N. Taylor Phillips and Rabbi Elias Solomon, vice-presidents; Ben Altheimer, treasurer; Rabbi Abraham Burstein, secretary to the Board and Rabbi Jacob B. Pollok, secretary.

The formation of the Synagogue Council of America is the culmination of a series of conferences which occurred during the last eighteen months.

The sessions were held at the Mercantile Club and were attended by representatives of the three wings in Jewish religious life in this country. A characteristic feature of the conference was the dispatch with which the business was disposed of despite the wide divergence of opinion. Following two hours of discussion, the constitution was adopted.

In the preamble of the constitution it is declared:

“Whereas it is desirable that the national religious organizations of Americ meet to take counsel together for the purpose of speaking and acting unitedly in furthering such interests as the constituent organizations have in common, be it resolved that a Synagogue Council of America, composed of representatives of national religious organizations of America be formed, it being clearly provided that the Council in no way interfere with the religious or administrative autonomy of any of the constituent organizations.

“The name of this organization shall be “The Synagogue Council of America.

“The organizations constituting this council shall be The Central Conference of American Rabbis, Rabbinical Assembly and the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Rabbinical Council of the Union of Orthoddox Jewish Congregations of America, Union of American Hebrew Congregations, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, United Synagogue of America, and such similar organizations as may be admitted from time to time.

“Each constituent organization shall be entitled to three members in the Synagogue Council as well as to three alternates. The alternates shall have the privilege of attending all the meetings of the Council and participating in the discussion. In case of the absence or disability of a delegate, an alternate shall be entitled to vote in his stead.

“The officers of this organization shall be a chairman, two vice-chairmen, a secretary and a treasurer. They shall hold office for one year, beginning with May and shall discharge the duties usually pertaining to their offices.

“Every decision of the Council shall require the unanimous approval of the constituent organizations as expressed through a majority vote of each constituent organization.

“Notice of amendment to this constitution must be served upon all members of the Council at least thirty days before a meeting.

“The regular meeting of the Council shall take place in November, February and May of each year. Meetings shall be called by the chair at the request of any constituent organizations.

“Dues shall be determined on the basis of annual budget and shall be divided equally among the constituent organizations.”

Among the subjects on which the Synagogue Council took action at its meeting yesterday was the problem of the growing secularization of Jewish life in America, goodwill and cooperative relations between Jews and Christians in social work and the problem of the unattached Rabbi. The Council decided to speak jointly in the name of all wings of Jewish life in issuing informative notices to the press and to Universities and other educational authorities concerning Jewish festivals and observances.

The Council endorsed the movement for aiding the Maranos of Portugal in their return to Judaism and endorsed the movement for a more general adoption of a five day working week as giving promise of facilitating Sabbath observance by all religious denominations in America.

Committees were appointed to make a survey of Jewish affiliations in this country, and another survey to discover the extent of the role which the synagogue and temple play in the Jewish philanthropic and cultural life of the country. Plans were set on foot for the establishment of a Central Bureau for itinerant Rabbis.

Rabbi Abram Simon presided at the conference. Others who participated were: Rabbi Jacob Pollock of New York, Rabbi Solomon Foster, Newark; Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein, New York; Captain N. Taylor Phillips, New York; Benj. Altheimer, New York; Rabbi Isaac Landman, New York; Morris Engleman, New York; Rabbi Louis Wolsey, Rabbi Max D. Klein, Rabbi William Fineshriber, Philadelphia; Rabbi David de Sola Pool, New York; Rabbi Max Drob, New York; Rabbi Leo Jung, New York and Rabbi Abraham Burstein, New York.