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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 prediction that “Reform Judaism in America will in the future disappear to be replaced by Conservative Judaism, which will take on more and more the aspect of Reform, and that Judaism in this country will be perpetuated by an Orthodox minority,” is made in the “Jewish Daily News”, orthodox organ, by the editor of the paper, Gedaliah Bublick. In the last of a series of articles on the present state of American Judaism, Mr. Bublick summarizes his conclusions (April 15 issue)

Tracing the history of orthodox Judaism in America, Mr. Bublick refers to the factors which chiefly obstructed its course, namely, radicalism and Reform. Whereas radicalism was influential with the first generation of immigrants and lost its influence later, Reform, weak at first, gained more and more ground with the rising generation of American Jewry. But today the chief danger to Orthodoxy is seen by Mr. Bublick to be Conservative Judaism. The reason is explained as follows: “A new kind of Reform has arisen which is more dangerous than the old Reform but calls itself by a name that misleads many. The name of the new Reform movement is Conservative Judaism, which has all the essentials of Reform, is based on its principles and employs its methods. Conservative Judaism believes in changes, preaches that American Judaism must be different from the Judaism in the other countries and, like Reform, institutes praying of men and women together, brings up rabbis who know nothing about the subject of Kashruth, converting Judaism into an institution of preaching and particularly for social work. But Conservatism conceals its purposes in such a way that it succeeds in combatting orthodoxy by posing as a sort of orthodoxy itself. That is why the Centers, the chief institutions of Conservative Judaism, are filled with Jews coming from the orthodox camp, while no Reform Jews are to be found there.”

Contending that the only true and lasting Judaism is Orthodoxy and that it is possible to bring up a loyal generation of Jewish youth in the orthodox faith, Mr. Bublick deplores the absence in America of the “chedarim” or Jewish schools prevalent in Eastern Europe. Only one percent of Jewish children in this country attend schools where they receive a full orthodox Jewish training; thirteen percent attend Talmud Torahs, which Mr. Bublick finds inadequate. In conclusion, we are told: “A large part of American Jewry will assimilate through intermarriage and other ways; Reform will disappear almost completely by merging into Christian Science and other wings of Christianity; Conservative Judaism will go more and more in the direction of Reform until it will take the place of Reform which will then have disappeared; there will remain an Orthodox minority which will perpetuate a full and vigorous Judaism. This minority will assure the existence of Judaism and will transmit it from generation to generation, for it has been proven that it is a law of Jewish history that the life of the Jewish people rests with Orthodoxy, which carries always the weapons of defense against extinction and never discards any of these weapons.

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