London (Jan. 6)
(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)
The Liberal Jewish Synagogue of London and the Board of Jewish Deputies are engaged in a controversy over the opinions of Rabbi Israel 1. Mattuck. an American, graduate of the Hebrew Union College of Cincinnati, who is rabbi of the synagogue.
Rabbi Mattuck created a stir in Anglo-Jewish public opinion by an article published in “The Spectator” entitled, “Liberal Judaism and the Modern State.” In that article. Rabbi Mattuck conveyed the impression that it was only with the advent of Liberal Judaism in England that the English Jews have been made fit to discharge their duties as citizens of England. The Orthodox English Jews who have retained the old prayers for return to Palestine, he argued, are “inconsistent.”
The article was discussed at a meeting of the Press Committee of the Board of Jewish Deputies and the Committee decided to send a letter to Dr. Mattuck pointing out that his article in “The Spectator” could be made use of as a weapon in the hands of anti-Semites, throwing doubt on the complete loyally of the greater number of the Jews in England. Rabbi Mattuck replied to the Press Committee in the following terms:
“I have before me your letter of the 8th inst. It interested me to learn that my article in a recent number of “The Spectator’ was read before your Press Committee. Inasmuch, however, as it does not seem to have converted the members of the committee to my opinions, they will, I am sure, understand why their resolution, though unanimous, has not altered my views. Moreover, I try to be guided, in what I write and say, by my own conscience and ideas, and, in what may affect my fellow-Jews, by my own conception of what is in the best interests of the Jewish Community. These considerations necessarily limit the measure of my appreciation of your committee’s resolution.”
Rabbi Mattuck’s attitude caused a heated discussion at the last session of the Board of Jewish Deputies. Dr. Joseph H. Hertz. Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, answered Dr. Mattuck in an article in “The Spectator.”
The Council of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue issued a statement yesterday in which it expressed its undiminished confidence in Rabbi Mattuck, notwithstanding the censure directed at him by the Board of Jewish Deputies.