Digest of Public Opinion on Jewish Matters
Menu JTA Search

Digest of Public Opinion on Jewish Matters

Download PDF for this date

[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 adoption of the declaration on social justice and the rights of labor by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations at its Cleveland convention last week is discussed by the “Jewish Morning Journal” and the “Jewish Daily News”, orthodox dailies of New York.

“This attitude on the part of the Reform leaders,” writes the “Jewish Morning Journal” of Jan. 21, “indicates the changes which have taken place in our industrial and social life during the past several decades. Formerly the ‘operators’ and ‘biglers’ were orthodox, while the manufacturers and the managers were members of the Temple. In those days Reform was definitely ‘capitalistic’ and only a Jew who had acquired wealth could hope to enter into the midst of the rich who were radical in religion and conservative in economic matters. The economic radical was inclined to anarchy and was regarded as a menace both to the temple and the beth hamedrash. Today the contractor and jobber are as a rule countrymen of the ‘pressers’ and the class conflict is conducted among ‘landsleit’. Business has expanded and the political radicalism of Eastern Europe is not confined to the workers alone. The cloak manufacturer no longer occupies the highest place in the temple, where one can now find mostly American born Jews listening to sermons by preachers from Lithuania or Galicia who derive their spiritual inspiration from Mencken and Sinclair Lewis. It has become stylish to be radical and patriotism is no longer manifested through the one-time formula that ‘Washington is our Jerusalem’. The president of the Reform congregation perhaps has a desire to belong to the ‘intelligentzia’ and there is really no reason why the rabbi cannot be a ‘parlor Socialist.’

“This is what the declaration in favor of the workingman means, and we hope that the Jewish workers will be overjoyed in accordance with the expectations of those who drew up the declaration. Still, perhaps Rabbi Foster was right when he declared that the statement on economic radicalism, through which it is sought to avoid trouble in the temples, will most likely bring on more trouble.”

The “Jewish Daily News” points out that the principles contained in the declaration of the Cleveland convention were enunciated centuries ago by the Bible.

“As regards the statement that the labor of a man is his life,” we read, “that is an ancient orthodox pronouncement. In the Bible we are told that you must pay the laborer on the same day before the sun sets for he is poor and his wages are his life. In other words, the life of a poor man depends on his wages. It is a pity that the Reform Jews have abolished the reading of the Torah in their temples. Had they not done this they would hear at least sometimes what the Torah says about such matters. They would then be spared the trouble of making such declarations at their conferences.”


The inauguration of Governor Graves of Alabama, who is said to be connected with the Klan forces, is the subject of an editorial appearing in the Baltimore “Sun.”

“While Tennessee is still struggling to cast out the devil of false theology which has come to her in the guise of an angel of light, Alabama now wakes up,” we read, “to find that the Ku Klux fiend of bigotry has put over on her an ‘Exalted Cyclops’ as Governor-that she is presented to the country as the political vassal of a secret organization that represents religious and racial intolerance and almost incredible mental credulity and stupidity.”

Despite the general belief that Graves is a Klan member, we learn from the Baltimore “Evening Sun” that the Klan forces failed in their plan to stage a spectacular demonstration at the Governor’s inauguration ceremonies in Montgomery, owing to the measures taken by the mayor of that town.

“The Mayor of Montgomery announced that he would jail anyone appearing on the streets robed, but apparently he made no extraordinary preparations to back up his words,” we are told. “The ordinary police force was not largely increased, in spite of the fact that thousands of Klansmen were in town for the occasion. And there was not the slightest hint of trouble.

“What does this mean? So far as we can see, there is only one reasonable construction of the facts-namely, that it is true, and the Mayor of Montgomery knows it is true, that one unmasked cop is more than a match for at least ten masked Klansmen.”

An Advisory Council of the Artisans Bank of Tel Aviv, Palestine, was organized, under the Chairmanship of Benjamin Winter, at a dinner given by Isaac Meister, treasurer of the Zionist Organization of America. Louis Topkis of Wilmington, Delaware, was made treasurer.

Samuel Kramer, who recently returned from a visit to Palestine, described the operations of the Bank, which is making it possible for artisans, proprietors of small workshops, to carry on their business in Tel-Aviv. Leon Greenberg, representative of the Artisans’ Bank, made an appeal for the purchase of stock in the bank. The National Advisory Council was formed at the suggestion of Joseph Barondess.

Others elected to the Council are Harry E. Shill. Secretary: Isaac Meister, Morris Weinberg, Louis Marcus, Morris Eisenman, Samuel Ginsburg, Samuel Kramer, Philip Kleinfeld and Joseph Barondess, Vice-Chairmen; General Committee, Samuel Rosoff. Charles Rosenberg, Jonah J. Goldstein. Morris Kulok, Arthur Diament, Max Blumberg, Jacob Levy, Louis Gold, Samuel Witty. Dr. Jacob Mendelewitz, Nathan Wilson, Nathan Minskoff, A. Markel, S. Rosen, Paul Gossett, Max Rosenfeld and David Meister.

Up to the present five thousand shares at $5.50 each have been sold in the United States, principally in New York. Five thousand additional shares are to be offered for sale.

A subscription of $100,000 by the Abraham and Straus families of Brooklyn. N. Y., and another of $25,000 by Nathan S. Jonas, President of the Manufacturers’ Trust Company, were announced Sunday by Walter S. Rothschild, Chairman of the “1927 to 1930 Campaign Committee” of the Brooklyn Federation of Jewish Charities, as the first to be received in the campaign. The committee has begun to raise $2,500,000 for twenty-four affiliated charitable organizations to carry them over the next three years. It has set three months for the period within which the sum is to be raised.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund