Mrs. Kohut, President of Jewish Women’s Congress, Returns from Europe

Mrs. Alexander Kohut, president of the Congress of Jewish Women, declared her satisfaction over the action taken by the delegates at the International Congress of Jewish Women, held recently at Hamburg.

"I consider," stated Mrs. Kohut on her return on board the S. S. Leviathan, "that the action of the Congress on the Agunoth question is far-sighted and humanitarian. A brief of the Jewish women’s point of view was prepared by Frau Bertha Pappenheim of Frankfort-am-Main. This memorandum was presented by Frau Eselbacher and Frau Marta Bondi of Vienna, to the convention of the Agudath Israel on September 5th. On that occasion this learned body of Rabbis and scholars gave consideration to the plea of our delegates. In addition, Prof. Ginsberg of the Jewish Theological Seminary, wrote a brochure, which was joined with our petition and submitted to the convention, which gave a learned opinion, justifying from a legal point of view, the granting of a definite status to the Jewish Agunoth who have not been able to remarry.

"The Women’s Congress heard petitions of thousands of Jewish women, many of them from the United States, Australia, South Africa, Trans-Siberia, who pleaded for the obtaining of a rabbinical decision to alleviate their status."

Mrs. Kohut further stated : "In addition, the Congress of Jewish Women gave sympathetic expression to their interest in the Jewish Agency but the resolution endorsing it, was not offered for a vote because the Jewish Agency itself had not at that time as yet been formed. We expect, however, to take up, in a referendum to the constituent organizations, during the coming year this question.

"The Executive members of the Congress formulated a program for constructive measures to enhance the social, economic and spiritual welfare of the Jewish women of Eastern Europe. We have established an office of the Congress in Berlin and in New York. A constitution has been prepared which will be submitted to the constituent organizations.

"I was struck particularly during the sessions of the Congress with the progressive character of the delegation of Jewish women of Lithuania and Poland. There was an insistent demand on the part of these delegates that the Congress take cognizance of the need of extension of authority over religious schools, curricula and conditions to the Jewish women. Lithuanian delegates pressed the question of the formulation of a definite attitude on the religious education of Jewish girls under modern auspices.

"My saddest observation was that of Vienna which I consider the darkest spot of Europe. Conditions have gone from bad to worse with the result that the Jewish community (Kulteis gemeinde) is virtually placed in the position where in order to get those sums raised by taxation from the members of the Jewish community, they have to resort to suit against the Austrian government. The loss of income and members, which it has sustained, virtually cripples it."

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