Philadelphia, Pa. (Feb. 28)
(Jewish Daily Bulletin)
Philadelphia was depicted as the center of initiative for many Jewish activities in the last century at an inter-congregational dinner held at the Adath Jeshurun Synagogue last night.
“It is not only in the field of charity that Philadelphia occupies a premier position among the communities of the country,” Dr. Julius H. Greenstone, president of the Philadelphia branch of the United Synagogue of America, declared. “Most of the efforts put forth in this country during the last century and more toward stabilizing Jewish life and toward fostering the growth of Judaism on this soil, first have been conceived and carried out in this city.
“The names of Isaac Leeser, Sabato Moraid, Rebecca Gratz, Marcus Jastrow, Meyer Sulzberger and scores of other Philadelphians are indissolubly connected with every movement that was inaugurated in this country during the past century tending toward the greater solidarity of Jewish life and toward the extension of Jewish learning, the basis and indispensable reservoir of Jewish life and thought.
“It was here that the first Jewish Sunday school was established almost a century ago; that the first college for higher Jewish studies was established; that the first normal school was inaugurated; that the first communal organization for Hebrew education was called into being, and it was in Philadelphia that the impetus was given to the establishment of the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Jewish Publication Society, the Jewish Historical Society and many other institutions that have become national in scope.”
Dr. Cyrus Adler in the opening address stressed the importance of strengthening the ties of Judaism among the Jewish student youth. He pointed to the work which the United Synagogue has accomplished through the Jewish Student Houses which it maintains at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University.
Dr. Adler delivered a stinging arraignment of the Jewish students who deny their Jewish identity. “Such students are held in contempt by all others with whom they come in contact,” he declared. In this connection he related his experiences in London last year. Dr. Adler declared that in a conversation with a leading educator in London, he was told that “Jewish boys from America come to England and have denied their Jewish identity. You can imagine the contempt in which boys of this type are held in English universities.
“This, unfortunately, happens in America, as well,” Dr. Adler continued. “But if we will make it possible for the United Synagogue to establish Jewish Student Houses, at least the excuse will have to be removed.”
Addresses were also delivered by Dr. Herman Abramovitz, President of the United Synagogue of America, and Rabbi Mortimer J. Cohen of the Congregation Beth Sholom.
The following organizations were represented at the dinner: Adath Jeshurun. Beth Israel, Beth El, B’nai Jeshurun. Beth Sholom, Har Zion, Lenas Hazedek, Ohel Jacob, Mikveh Israel, West Philadelphia Jewish Community Center, Brith Israel and Beth Am.