The lack of appreciation of the beauties of Judaism on the part of certain classes of Jews was deplored by Ludwig Vogelstein, chairman of the Executive Board of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations in an address at the graduation exercises of the Hebrew Union College School for Teachers, held in the auditorium of Congregation Emanu-El, New York City on Tuesday. Twenty-four young men and women were graduated at the fourth commencement exercises of the institution.
For some time past the consequences of inadequate Jewish education have been felt,” Mr. Vogelstein said. “There has been a lack of a thorough understanding of the aims and ideals of Reform Judaism which offers to modern man every opportunity to adapt the teachings of our religion to our present day life problems.
“We cannot shut our eyes to the fact that the rapid emancipation from medieval thought and surroundings to our free and liberal intercourse with the people of other faiths has led many of our co-religionists astray. In their bewilderment they have begun to worship Gods that their fathers knew not; they have flocked into other faiths and are worshipping fads and theories which are inimical to the great principles of our faith. But even many of those who claim to be loyal to our faith have substituted materialistic aims for religious ideals. They do not sufficiently appreciate the beauties of their faith.”
Rabbi Samuel Schulman, in his address declared that genuine liberalism among existing religions rather than a union of faiths is needed in America.
Rabbi Schulman reviewed the history of the school which was established five years ago. He said that the institution now has a faculty of nine, and the attendance has increased from an enrollment of 180 during the first year to an enrollment during the past year of 350 students. Ninety-five men and women have already been graduated from the institution, and 150 of its graduates and students have been placed in teaching positions in New York City.
Dr. Julian Morgenstern, president of Hebrew Union College, awarded the diploma. In his address he said: “There are plenty who doubt and say, ‘No, there is no future and no possible life for Judaism in America.’ There must be a will that Judaism should live. With us the will to live, which has become a stock phrase in Jewish circles today, means not merely that Israel shall live as a people or as a nation but that it shall live as a Priest-people consecrated to the high task of making Judaism live as a religion.”
Abraham M. Franzblau, principal of the school, awarded the prizes. Rabbi Louis D. Gross, of Union Temple of Brooklyn, delivered the invocation.