The remarks of Rabbi Abraham L. Feinberg, who recently resigned as associate rabbi of Temple Israel because he thought that organized religion had been reduced to a business institution, were declared to be those of a “young and immature, disillusioned idealist,” by Rabbi Jacob Kohn, in a sermon Friday night in Temple Ansche Chesed, on West End Avenue. “Mr. Feinberg should have remembered that organized religion, after all, is an institution made up of human beings who are subject to human errors,” said Rabbi Kohn.
“Rabbi Feinberg’s criticism never-###the less has its benefits,” declared Rabbi Kohn, “in that it serves to bring to public attention certain human errors in the church that are in need of correction.
“Rabbi Feinberg is an idealist, and his remarks were those of an idealist, and when he refers to commercialism in organized religion, his remarks are the remarks of the disillusioned idealist. He was premature. He should have remembered that it is not fair to condemn the religious institution as a whole because some human errors had upset his inspiration. It would be just as unfair to condemn the entire judicial system of a nation because one magistrate had yielded to corruption.”
Rabbi Feinberg, in his last sermon in Temple Israel last week, had declared that religious preachers are no longer the molders of public opinion and that synagogues and churches were no longer places of worship but large, beautiful, expensive buildings lacking in true spirituality. He placed the blame for this situation on the fact that people were concentrating in the large cities and also on the fact that trustees and boards of directors placed too many restrictions on ministers and rabbis.