Did Not Endorse “king of Kings,” Was Merely Courteous

(Communication to the Editor)

Sir:

My attention was called to a news item in the “Jewish Daily Bulletin” of Dec. 1st, in which your correspondent reports that Cecil de Mille’s film production the “King of Kings” which has called forth objections from Jews and Gentiles is being shown in Germany “with an endorsement of Rabbi Israel Goldfarb of Beth Israel Anshe Emes.”

I was rather surprised that what I intended to be an expression of appreciation of the courtesy extended to me to witness a presentation of “King of Kings” was taken by the producers as an unqualified endorsement of the film.

I liked the picture for its fine aesthetic atmosphere, its artistic setting, its stupendous effects and, most of all, Hugo Riesenfeld’s splendid musical accompaniment, and I wrote the management how I personally enjoyed it all.

But when one comes to consider the historical accuracy of the picture, its theological implications or its social influence, it is altogether different. Personally I do not look for historic accuracy or theological truths in works of art such as the moving picture or the historic novel. These I usually judge for their artistic and literary value.

In countries where social relations are strained, where religious antagonisms are pronounced and bitter and where the atmosphere is charged with prejudices of all sorts, it is certainly unwise to exhibit pictures that might aggravate the strained relations of the citizens.

Hoping that you will kindly give this statement due publicity in the interest of truth and peace, and thanking you in advance for the courtesy, I am,

Yours very sincerely,

Israel Goldfarb, Rabbi, Congregation Beth Israel Anshe Emes;

360 Clinton St.,

Brooklyn, N. Y.

December 5, 1927

CORRECTION

In a communication to the editor, Rabbi Isidor B. Hoffman of Temple Beth El, Utica, New York, takes exception to the description of his congregation as Reform in a despatch reporting a statement by Rabbi Hoffman that he intends to introduce the calling of women to the Torah. The Bulletin regrets this inaccuracy. The congregation. Rabbi Hoffman informs us, is close to the type of congregation usually termed Conservative.

Rabbi Hoffman has not introduced the innovation but stated that its introduction is being considered. He also declared that he had been incorrectly quoted and that he had not said ‘at one time women said the Kaddish, today it is unheard of except in rare cases.’

A dinner in honor of Representative William W. Cohen, Democrat, of the 17th Congressional District, New York City, was given at the Mayflower Hotel Washington, by a delegation of 250 who went to Washington to witness Mr. Cohen’s seating in the house.

NEXT STORY