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Digest of Public Opinion on Jewish Matters

[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 significance of the forthcoming cornerstone laying of the new buildings of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Yeshiva is discussed by the orthodox “Jewish Morning Journal” of Apr. 4, in the course of an editorial on the subject of the recent report that a federation of Orthodox Kehillahs has been created in England. The paper draws an analogy between the position of the orthodox East-European Jews in England and those in the United States in the matter of organization and observes:

“Precisely in this respect the great East-European Jewish population in the United States, like that in England, is poorly organized. We are strong in numbers here, in social forces and in Jewish life power to be able easily to outstrip the Reform or Conservative synagogue bodies, but it has so happened that the organizations created by us hitherto are weak; many congregations remain away and those affiliated do not display sufficient or effective interest. America learns from England but the East-European Jews of America have little to learn from the East-European Jews of England. Perhaps it is precisely because we lack the example of such a leadership as the younger generation of the Anglo-Saxon race has in the older, that we do not untilize fully the powers at our command.

“This gives a special significance to the effort being made to bring together prominent spokesmen in the field of orthodox Judaism at the occasion of the cornerstone laying for the new buildings of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Yeshiva. The guests invited who will at this event meet those Jews who are striving to create in New York a central point for traditional Judaism in the new world, will be in the position to fulfill a great duty. The work must and will be performed; the time is ripe for it and it is a special privilege to be able to participate in it. During the next month there must be created a union of orthodox congregations which in itself will be a cornerstone of an edifice with unlimited possibilities.”

CANADIAN PAPER DISCUSSES SAPIRO-FORD SUIT

Regret at the fact that the Jewish issue has been ruled out of the Sapiro-Ford libel suit is voiced by the Toronto (Ont.) “Mail & Empire” of March 22.

The paper recalls with some amusement Mr. Ford’s experience on the witness stand in his famous libel suit against the Chicago “Tribune” and expresses the hope that he may be called to testify in the present trial. It then goes on to say:

“Through the ‘Dearborn Independent,’ a weekly paper owned by Mr. Ford, campaigns have been carried on against the Jews, though it has been patiently explained that the campaigns were not against the Jews but against certain Jews. The paper unearthed old, sensational and discredited documents to show that a clique of Jews was mainly responsible for all the ills the modern world is heir to, including the world war and the soviet republic. The ‘Dearborn Independent’ writer seemed to think that these Jews were plotting for the overthrow of the whole Christian civilization and the establishment of the Jews upon its ruins as the masters of the world. Innumerable Hebrew societies protested against the articles, but were met with the bland assurance that not the race but certain members of it were being properly exposed. But if Mr. Ford’s supposed attitude to the Jews is to be excluded from the record the trial will loose much of its popular appeal. It will, nevertheless, be an important one, since Mr. Ford is a leged to have asserted that Sapiro’s false conduct was due to a conspiracy which aimed at controlling the agriculture of the United States. The motor maker has said simply that the truth of his assertions is their justification, and it is a fact that in nearly all the States the truth is a complete defence in any civil action for libel.”

The same attitude on the subject is taken by the Portland (Ore.) “Oregonian,” which observes in its March 23 issue: “Here is the real essence of the Sapiro suit-Ford’s long warfare of defamation of the Jewish people and their leaders. If his case shall be separated from its actual background, Sapiro will find himself in difficulty.

“A great statesman once said that you could not indict a people. This pompous dictum appears to be incorporated into English and American jurisprudence. If Henry Ford, or any other sees fit to attack a race, or a religion, or a people, or a nation, there does not appear to be anything to do about it except to depend upon the vindication of time, circumstances, history the facts.”

The High Point (N. C.) “Enterprise” (March 24) seems to take the view that the responsibility for the anti-Jewish campaign of the “Dearborn Independent” rests on its editor, Cameron, rather than on Ford. We read, in part:

“The suit has served to bring more fully into public notice the man back of the strenuous assault on the morality of a race. That man is not Henry Ford, and nobody who followed Ford’s testimony in the Chicago ‘Tribune’ trial suspected it was he. Editor Cameron was the marshal of the attack and Cameron now says that Ford’s instructions to him were to be sure he was right and then to go ahead.”

The paper adds: “If Sapiro wins his case, Mr. Ford will be forced to pay. It is conceivable that the Detroit manufacturer would be willing to spend some of his millions in a kind of preaching; up to the present time he has turned very little of that gold loose in the ordinary channels of social service.”

Members of the Jewish Veterans of the Wars of the Republic will meet May 30 in the Selwyn Theater to discuss plans for building a national shrine, in the form of a memorial building, in New York City.

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