Paris (Aug. 22)
“What right has a Christnan, government member or ordinary citizen, to say how many cults we Jews are allowed to have,” stated Dr. William Filderman, discussing the recently promulgated Jewish communities ordinance enacted notwithstanding the protests of Jewish leaders in Roumania, in an interview with a representative of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, on his arrival here from Zurich. “If it is admitted that a minister can make a law then there is no more independence and no longer religious freedom left. One minister will today pass an excellent law and another will pass a bad one tomorrow. Religion will then be in the hands of the government, becoming a pawn in every minister’s game. The same minister who decides that an infinite number of Jewish cults can exist and that for each cult an infinite number of communities will be established, soon after completely changed his decision, declaring that Jews are entitled to only three cults, without the power to constitute more than one community for each. It is being said that in England and America, Jews are entitled to constitute all the congregations they wish. While in America, the church and state are separated, the Roumanian church forms part of the constitutional system.
“The government member takes liberties with us which he would not take with other religious communities, therefore we claim that the Peace Treaties and the constitution have been violated, that religious freedom no longer exists in Roumania, and that we became religious slaves at the desire of this or that other government member.
“Besides, how can the fact be explained otherwise that Jews unanimously protested, that all political parties in Roumania, the Liberals, the Socialists, the peasants, the Germans and Hungarian parties, as well as the press, protested against the Communities law. How can it be explained that certain deputies of the government party itself, also protested against the law? The statement that the Sephardic community and the Union of Synagogues asked for the law is only a brave attempt to bolster up the lie. The Union of Synagogues not only did not ask for the law, but associated itself with our protest, signing it. The Sephardim did not ask for anything when the law was published. They simply wrote that the law did not affect them, without approving of the law insofar as it concerns us. The Orthodox communities through their president, protested against the law. However, the Roumanian minister of education claimed to have a petition signed by 300 people. I believe that the signatures were false. Even if it is true, is it right to pass a law for 300 people when there are a million opposing it? It is not democracy but reaction.
“It is untrue that the majority in Jewish life in Roumania wish to oppress the minority. On the contrary, our statutes provide that the communities are obliged to satisfy the religious needs of every minority,” Dr. Filderman declared.
Mayer S. Polloch, of Pottstown, Pa., died at the age of 68. He was a charter member of the Mercy of Truth Congregation of Pottstown. He gave a home for Jewish charity work in Atlantic City.