American Jewish communities should refrain from building new synagogues for the next five years, according to Rabbi Nachman H. Ebin, president of the Rabbinical Association of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, an organization of young English-speaking orthodox rabbis who are graduates of the Yeshivah College, which has been holding its second annual convention at the Hotel Pennsylvania this week. In discussing the synagogue building activities of American Jews during recent years, Rabbi Ebin said:
“Since the financial crash communities have been overtaxed by the building of new and large synagogues. We have forgotten that the Jewish name was not made by towers and pyramids. We therefore call upon American Jewish communities to refrain from building enterprises for a period of five years. Let us turn to building Jewish consciousness here and a homeland in Palestine.”
Rabbi Ebin also declared that while his organization regards the Agudath Ha’rabonim (the organization of older, Yiddish-speaking orthodox rabbis) as a supreme authority in the interpretation of Jewish law and is not competing with the latter organization, there are nevertheless problems of vital import which cannot always be discussed at their conventions. These problems, he said, affect particularly the younger rabbis, under whose influence are tens of thousands of children.
Among those who greeted the convention was the famous Lubawitscher Rebbe, who urged the younger orthodox rabbis to talk Yiddish everywhere and teach Yiddish to the younger American generation. “Without the Yiddish language,” he stated, “you won’t go very far in implanting Judaism in this country.”