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Roumanian Government Fails to Keep Promise to Call Jewish Communities Congress to Advise on Statutes

The Roumanian government has ordered the Ministry of Cults to work out alone the administrative regulations for carrying into effect the Jewish Communities Law, in view of the diversity of opinion and replies received by the government from various Jewish communities from whom the government had inquired concerning their attitude toward the law and how it should be applied. The replies indicated a variety of opinions and disunity among the Jewish communities answering. The government being anxious to put the law into operation, has consequently issued instructions to that effect to the Ministry of Cults, a Vienna report states.

This action on the part of the Maniu administration is likely to again stir up considerable agitation among the Jews of Roumania, who never agreed to the modified Jewish Communities Law, passed without consulting with them, and as a result of which they have been in controversy with the Maniu government. The present law, which is a modification of the one passed under the Bratianu regime in 1927, provides that the various Jewish communities may set up kehillahs or communities for each denomination of the Jewish community, Neolog (reform), Sephardic and Orthodox. This the Jews oppose and point to the original Bratianu measure which provided for a unified Jewish community in every locality without regard to denominations, except in Transylvania and in the Sephardic communities of Old Roumania where special conditions prevailed.

Amendments to the law made by the Maniu government provide for three kehillahs within one locality. All Jewish groups in Roumania fought the enactment of the modified law because their leaders felt that the government was endeavoring to foist upon all the Jewish communities of Roumania laws which were devised to meet particular conditions existing in one province.

With the amended law passed, the Jews of Roumania turned their attention to the statutes determining the application of the law. One article of the law provides that in framing these statutes the advice of representatives of the Jewish communities should be taken. A statement by Prime Minister Maniu to the effect that “the decisions of a special congress of the Jewish communities will be taken into consideration before drafting the final statutes governing the application of the law” was issued on August 6, 1929 through I. Rosenthal, counsellor to the Roumanian Legation in Washington.

The new instructions to the Ministry of Cults indicate that the promise to consult the decisions of a special congress of the Jewish communities has not been kept and that instead the responses of individual communities have been taken.

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