German Pay Tribute to Claude Montefiore English Liberal Leader
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German Pay Tribute to Claude Montefiore English Liberal Leader

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(J.T.A. Mail Service)

A special issue to observe the seventieth birthday of Claude G. Montefiore, was published by the "Juedisch-Liberale Zeitung," containing articles by Herr Heinrich Stern, the President of the Federation of Liberal Jews in Germany, Dr. Leo Baeck, President of the Union of Rabbis in Germany, and Miss Lily Montague, Honorary Secretary of the World Union of Progressive Judaism.

"If Montefiore, the President of the World Federation of Liberal Judaism, belongs primarily to our movemnt," writes Herr Heinrich Stern, "it must be remembered, however, that he is no onesided partisan, but a man who has always kept in touch with Jewish life as a whole. In less than eight weeks from now Claude G. Montefiore, as the recognised and official leader of Liberal Judaism, will open the World Congress of Liberal Judaism here. It will be a public manifestation of what all who stand close to Liberal Judaism now feel inwardly–the leader of our movement will be among us. God keep and guard him that he shall see his work bear fruit. God keep him for his family, his friends and co-workers, for Judaism and mankind.

"On his seventieth birthday," writes Dr. Leo Baeck, "we all who know him give our heartiest congratulations to Claude Montefiore–a septuagenarian whom no one will credit his years. We honor above all his personalty. We are grateful to have such a man and we hope that he will longer remain among us."

Miss Lily Montague writes: "He has shown in his life that it is possible to convert the Jewish ideal of sanctification into reality, for he has attained it not only in his work but also in his daily life. His kindness and his child-like spirit have made him beloved among all his co-workers and among the pupils in the various institutions with which he is associated. They all recognise in him a friend."

Lucien Wolf publishes an article in the "C. V. Zeitung," the organ of the Central Union of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith.

"There have been times when Claude Montefiore was the most abused person in our public life. In a community which, taken as a whole is the most strictly observant west of the Vistula, he embodies a tendency which in the ‘disruptive reform movement’ is regarded as the most radical. In a country which is the headquarters of official Zionism and whose Government has underteaken to re-establish the Jewish National Home in Palestine, he is the most outspoken and unbending anti-Zionist and anti-Nationalist. These differences of opinion were bound to bring in their wake opposition and violent attacks, yet it all vanishes today before the human sentiment on his 70th birthday. Today the Community sees only the honorable character of this man, the loveliness of his life, the long and successful story of his public activity, his splendid scholarship and the earnestness and courage with which he has held to his mission, which, if it is mistaken, is profoundly sincere and is inspired by the desire for the greater glory of Judaism.

"Claude Montefiore has worked not only for Judaism. For fifty years his name has been identified with every social movement in the community. As the Prophet of Liberal Judaism, he will certainly find an important place in Jewish history, but as the friend of the poor and of all who suffer, as the untiring worker for the elevation of the Jewish masses and the purification of Jewish life and as the ever wakeful guardian of Jewish honor he has found a secure place in the hearts of his Jewish brethren. His activity has not been restricted to his own fatherland. As President of the Anglo-Jewish Association and the Joint Foreign Committee, he was for a whole generation one of the driving forces in the great relief work by means of which West European Jewry seeks to liberate the East European Jews from oppression, suffering and ignorance. Although he rejects Jewish nationalism, he is not untouched by what affects the House of Israel; even as he is a religious universalist, he is a universalist in the love of his neighbor and in charity. He is a great Jew and a true and steadfast Englishman."

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