New York assumed a different appearance from its usual workaday aspect, business was virtually suspended in many trades, offices were closed and traffic noticeably diminished, as a million and a half Jews observed Rosh Hashanah, ushering in the year 5690, crowding all synagogues and temples to capacity and many extra halls where overflow services were held. Temple Emanu-El, the most beautiful new temple in America, headed a number of new houses of worship opened throughout the country for the High Holiday services.
The peace mission of Premier Ramsay MacDonald, the death of Louis Marshall and the Palestine situation, were the principal topics for sermons to Reform, Conservative and Orthodov congregations, many expressing the hope that MacDonald’s statement on Friday will clear up the situation in Palestine.
The break in the Stock Exchange occurring on the eve of Rosh Hashanah affected large numbers of the Jewish population, but the holiday spirit was undaunted, the food market showing a scarcity, notwithstanding huge imports of poultry and foodstuffs amounting to millions of dollars.
The Jewish press, with the exception of the Communist daily, “Freiheit,” did not appear. Metropolitan dailies were undelivered in Jewish sections of the Bronx and Brooklyn because the standkeepers were at services. The hunger for Jewish news, particularly how Palestine Jews were faring as they observed the holiday, was marked. The mood rose to optimistic expectations as a message ran through the synagogues and temples that all was quiet at the Wailing Wall on the first day of Rosh Hashanah.