Long Branch, N. J. (Jun. 27)
(Jewish Daily Bulletin)
The establishment of a half million dollar fund to provide pensions for retired rabbis was presented to the Wednesday morning session of the Rabbinical Assembly of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, which is holding its convention at the Hotel Scarboro here.
A report of the committee on the pension fund was presented by Rabbi Bosniak of Brooklyn, recommending that ways and means be found for establishing the pension fund. The cost of maintaining the fund would be about $50,000 annually in premiums, it is estimated, and a sum of $500,000 would be necessary to establish the fund. Action by the convention is to come up during the session.
Cooperation between the Rabbinical Assembly and the United Synagogue of America was urged by S. Herbert Golden, president of the United Synagoue, who brought the greetings of his organization to the convention. Expressing thanks for the support rendered in the past, Mr. Golden urged further cooperation.
Rabbi Louis Finkelstein of the Jewish Theological Seminary, in his paper. “Can Maimonides Guide Us Today,” declared: “The constitution of the United States has had added to it in the course of the last century and a half not more than a score of amendments of which ten are hardly changes or additions at all, merely working to express and make more explicit what has been implicitly in the instrument itself, but there can be no doubt that the Supreme Court, through its daily interpretion of the Constitution, has given the document a vastly different and more workable significance than it had when it was first published. In a way, the task that lies before us rabbis of this generation is similar to that of the American judges. We have before us words and traditions of many ages and it is our task in interpreting the law not to be blind to the circumstances about which we are to render decisions, no more than we can ignore the historical, traditional and well-established legal principles on which any decision must be based.
“I believe that the Maimonidian formula of ‘an immutable Torah with adaptable parts’ is exactly that by which we can hope to retain loyalty to the Jewish traditional custom in this land.”
A round table discussion was held under the charmanship of Dr. Israel Davidson and the following papers presented: The Jewish Community in Warsaw by Rabbi David Aronson; The Jews of Vienna by Rabbi Jesse Binenfeld; the Jews of Germany after the War by Rabbi Kurt Wilhelm, Chief Rabbi of Brunswick, Germany.
Rabbi Louis M. Levitsky was toastmaster at the banquet held last night at which the speakers were Rabbi Charles I. Hoffman of Newark, Rabbi Moses Hyamson of New York City, Rabbi Elias Margolies, Rabbi Moses J. Abels of Brooklyn. Rabbi Abels, who spoke on the position of the Rabbis in various communities, said that in some communities the congregations have high salaried cantors and low salaried rabbis. He has been trying to bring about a reversal of this situation and has met with some measure of success.
An Executive Session was held on the admission of new members, after which the following members were admitted: Rabbi Maxwell Farber of Pottstown, Pa., Rabbi Milton Steinberg of Minneapolis, Rabbi Harry Jolt, Rabbi James N. Cohen, Rabbi Harry Fisher, Rabbi Harry M. Katzin, Rabbi Meyer J. Berman and Rabbi L. H. Lesser of Chicago.
In a paper “Judaism as a Civilization,” Rabbi Mordecai M. Kaplan declared that Judaism does not depend on external conditions, such as persecutions, nor does it depend on the nationalist movement, but is an internal force, a civilization or a philosophy of life. He expressed disapproval of the action of some elements in Palestine who, he said, have stripped Judaism of all religious significance and left only the nationalistic and cultural part.
Dr. Chaim Tchernowitz presented his plan for the publication of a Talmudical Library in 12 volumes in English and Hebrew. Action on the plan will be taken during the sessions, it is expected.
The third Seminar on Relations with Mexico, organized by the Federal Council of Churches of Christ, which wil open in Mexico City July 5 will be attended by Rabbi Leon Fram of Temple Beth El, Detroit. Rabbi Fram will be the only Jewish member. Rabbi Fram intends to make a study of the effect of the Chuch and State situation in Mexico upon moral and religious education.