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Clergyman Criticised for Unfriendly Comment on the Jewish People

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The unfriendly comment made in connection with the Jewish population figures by the Rev. William J. Reid, writing in the “United Presbyterian,” Pittsburgh religious weekly, is being discussed in the Anglo-Jewish press.

The “Jewish Criterion,” published in the same city as the “United Presbyterian,” writes:

“We are quite accustomed to irresponsible utterances of ignorant and unreasoning folk regarding the Jew, but we have the right to expect from such a distinguished source as the ‘United Presbyterian,’ a weekly religious journal, published in this city, rational and measured comment. Whethere the editor was away on his vacation and some anti-Semitic office boy assumed charge, we are in no position to state, but something must have gone very much awry to have made possible this bigoted, un-Christian and completely unwarranted attack upon our people.

“We think that decency demands a complete retraction on the part of the publishers and editor of the ‘United Presbyterian’ of the wilful and malicious falsehood that ‘his (the Jew’s) children are as a rule utterly lawless.’ If such a retraction is not forthcoming, we shall be forced to the conclusion that the ‘United Presbyterian’ is a religious journal in name only.”

The “Jewish Press” of Omaha, Nebraska, states:

“The statements of the learned Doctor of Divinity naturally ruffle the pride of the Jew, but on closer examination the injured attitude may turn to one of amusement. The queer mixture of ideas conceyed by Dr. Reid show that at the same time he admires and condemns the Jews. He has grown up in a world that has taught him that the Jew is a fit subject for humiliation and persecution. But, the worthy scholar has observed around him large numbers of Jews who, instead of arousing hatred in him, aroused the deepest respect, In intellectual fields, in cultural pursuits, in philanthropy, and in any number of other commendable lines of endeavor, he has found Jews whom he could not force himself to hate. This placed him in a rather anomalous position. And now he finds the explanation of the phenomena in the belief that perhaps these leaders were likable because they had escaped from the bounds of their religion. The prejudice of ages has made it impossible for him to conceive that such persons could be the products of that faith. We, who know a little more about Judaism, are inclined to believe that perhaps those whom Dr. Reid accuses of deserting their Judaism are more typical of that faith than most of the others.

“The most unjust accusation of the entire tirade is the statement that the Jew is thoughtless of the rights of others and that his children are lawless’ Where Dr. Reid gleaned this thought is hard to imagine. At least he did not reveal the source nor did he present any facts to substantiate his argument. If he had consulted criminal statistics, he would have been sorely disappointed. The percentage of Jewish criminals is very low. As for Jewish youth, it is no more lawless than the other young boys and girls of the land. The chances are that what offends Dr. Reid’s eyes is the sight of Jewish youth insisting on their rights as well as the children of any other faith.

“But the unkindest cut of all Mr. Reid’s aspersions was his calling the Jew life’s supreme egoist. An egoist is one who always acts and judges everything according to his own personal standards. A thing is good or bad as it effects him regardless of the rest of the world. Then, is the Jew who has given millions upon millions for the relief of the suffering in all parts of the world an egoist? If he were an egoist, why would he have spent so much wealth and effort to aid the needy of both his co-religionists and non-Jews? No, the Doctor of Divinity must have made a mistake. It cannot be true.

“Dr. William J. Reid would do well to restrain his pen when he thinks of Jews. With no facts to prove his assertions and only with a prejudice, that he accuses the Jews of having, to guide him, he presents a sorry spectacle,” the paper concludes.

The Detroit Muncipal Opera idea was conceived and advocated by Harry Widre of that city. Credit for his being the pioneer in the movement is given by the Detrioter, the Detroit Board of Commerce weekly, in an editorial in the issue of Aug. 16.

“We must remember that the idea was first brought to this organization by Harry Widre.” writes the “Detroiter” “He worked for months on his idea and it was generously supported by Detroit’s newspapers. Then he brought it to the Board of Commerce and as a result, visited the great St. Louis Open Air Opera with Philip Breitmeyer and other members of the special committee that investigated the possibilities of such a project. He was the salesman behind Municipal Opera. We wish to acknowledge publicly our gratitude for his inspiration and vision.”

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