Menu JTA Search

Digest of Public Opinion on Jewish Matters

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

[The purpose of the Digest is information: Preference is given to papers not generally accessible to our readers. Quotation does not indicate approval.-Editor.]

The question of woman suffrage in the orthodox synagogues of England which has been agitating British Jewry for some time and which was adversely voted upon at a meeting of the council of the United Synagogue of England on Nov. 1, is the subject of discussion in the London “Jewish Chronicle” and the London “Jewish World.”

Writing on Oct. 29, a few days before the vote of the Council of the United Synagogue, the “Jewish Chronicle” expressed the belief that to grant the women franchise in the synagogue is merely “to go back to the halcyon days when the woman in Israel was accorded equal rights in the congregation with her brother Jew. There is not so much force in the argument that women now demand the franchise, and still less in the contention that the granting of it to them would align the Synagogue with other institutions synagogal and lay, in accord with the spirit of the age. What is infinitely more important is that the opening to women of the avenue of synagogual activity is likely to breathe life into some of the dead bones with which the Synagogue, and consequently, Judaism, are strewn.”

In the same issue of the “Chronicle,” Mentor, in his weekly column, also championed the cause of woman suffrage in the synagogue, observing: “It (woman suffrage) would be an acknowledgement that we have begun to respect our womankind in accordance with modern precept, modern doctrine and modern usage. It would be the performance of a blessed homage to the wise insistence by the Chief Rabbi of the sacred place in the heart and mind of Judaism occupied by woman, which-why not confess it?-has often shown a wide gulf between precept and practice among Jews.

“An objection,” we read further, “to allowing women to vote, which the United Synagogue has agreed to, but which I understand is to be opposed on Sunday next, is a fear on the part of some of the ‘unco’ guid’ regarding their eternal stand-by bogey-the thin end of the wedge. ‘Ah!’ they say, ‘if women are going to vote for wardens. won’t they soon become wardens?’ Well, that is not being asked for at the moment; although I for my part, wish it were. There is many a woman I know who would make an infinitely better warden than many a man I know who now preens himself ‘in the box’.”

The “Jewish World,” commenting on the matter in its Nov. 4 issue, after the vote of the United Synagogue, objects to the injection of the Zionist question into the debate, resenting especially the remark of Maurice Barnett that “we are either English Jews or Zionists….” This assertion, the paper declares, “was a searching challenge to a great deal more and a great deal different from the question of votes for women. It seemed to say that no man could be an English Jew, that is to say, in this matter could vote in accordance with the ideas and ideals of our present environment here, without being false to his Jewish loyalty.

“In other words, this individual placed the question of franchise for women as a test of being true to nationalist principles; and there must have been many among the delegates who preferred not to risk their reputation as Zionists by voting for the admission of women as voters in matters synagogal. I sincerely hope that those who have been for the moment defeated will stand too their guns and not run way.”

Yonkers, N. Y., raised $102,000 at a banquet opening its drive for $250,000 for a Jewish Center building. Samuel Untermyer presided. Max Fertig, Assistant Corporation Counsel of New York City, was the principal speaker.

The Daughters of Israel announced that the new Home for the Aged and Infirm at 107th Street and Fifth Avenue would be completed and ready for occupancy by Dec. 1.

NEXT STORY