Detroit, Mich. (Jul. 1)
Unreserved endorsement of the Jewish Agency was voted at Sunday’s session of the fortieth annual convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, meeting at Temple Beth-El here. The Committee on the president’s message unanimously went on record favoring the recommendation for the endorsement of the Agency but removed from the adopted resolution that part of the president’s message which favored approval of the Agency with the understanding that it be free from political entanglements.
The conference also went on record favoring a revision of the prayerbook in use at present by more than 400 Reform congregations in this country. The resolution calls for a thorough revision of the prayerbook and for such studies as will facilitate the revisions. Dr. David Phillipson of Cincinnati, Dr. Edgar F. Magnin of Los Angeles and Dr. Abba Hillel Silver of Cleveland took up the fight against a drastic change in the prayerbook. Rabbi Samuel Goldenson of Pittsburgh and Rabbi James G. Heller of Cincinnati supported the resolution which was adopted.
Rabbi David Lefkowitz of Dallas, Texas, was elected president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, Rabbi Morris Newfield of Birmingham, Alabama, vice-president, Rabbi Felix A. Levy of Chicago, treasurer, Rabbi James Heller of Cincinnati, corresponding secretary, and Rabbi Jsaac E. Marcuson of Macon, Ga., recording secretary.
A report filed with the Conference contained a recommendation of the Social Justice Committee, of which Rabbi Edward L. Israel of Baltimore is chairman, that birth control be recognized as a method of coping with social problems. It was recommended to the conference that the question of control of parenthood be made the subject of papers to be discussed at future conferences.
That the Reform rabbi has come in for a great deal of criticism from the laity was pointed out. The reasons were given by Dr. David Philipson to be the turning by certain rabbis of their pulpits into book reviewing agencies, while other Reform Jews objected to the discussion of popular plays from the pulpit.
Eight former presidents of the Conference in their addresses pleaded for a more dignified pulpit and called on the rabbis to devote their activities to matters Jewish. The former presidents were Rabbi Joseph Stolz, Rabbi Joseph Silverman, Dr. Philipson, Rabbi Edwin Calisch, Rabbi William Rosenau, Rabbi Leo M. Franklin, Rabbi Abram Simon and Rabbi Louis Wolsey. Dr. Silverman declared that many Reform rabbis have strayed afar from the objects of their organization in taking part in political and industrial affairs. Declaring that the rabbi’s place is in the pulpit and religious school and not in the shop and coal mine to solve labor disputes, Dr. Silverman said that rabbis “have fallen into the devious and evil ways of the Council of Churches of Christ,” and have emulated them to the rabbis’ detriment.
Dr. Rosenau joined with Dr. Silverman in insisting that as rabbis they should stress things that are Jewishly relevant and that un-Jewish things should be removed. The good-will movement had its beginning in his administration, Dr. Franklin recalled, and it developed during the administration of Dr. Simon as president of the Central Conference.
The Hebrew Union College Alumni Association held its annual meeting Saturday evening.