Cincinnati (Aug. 5)
An attack upon Reform Judaism which appeared in a recent issue of the “London Jewish Chronicle” is answered by Rabbi Victor Emanuel Reichert of Rockdale Avenue Temple in an editorial in the current issue of the “American Israelite.” The “Jewish Chronicle” had attacked Reform Judaism on the occasion of the recent conference of the World Union for Progressive Judaism.
“It is curious to see how the ‘Jewish Chronicle’ dusts off the antiquated and rusty flintlocks for attack against Liberal Judaism,” says Rabbi Reichert. “It accuses it of ‘rejecting tradition as something to be avoided per se.’ It argues that the principle of K’lal Yisrael, the historic conception of the unity of the House of Israel, is denied by Liberal Judaism. While grudgingly admitting that Liberal Jews have been singularly alert in endeavoring to cope with religious indifference within the ranks of Israel, the ‘Jewish Chronicle’ maintains that the reason for this may be found in their conception of Judaism which makes it a ‘more congenial thing for them to diagnose the disease, even though the remedies they apply are at best merely calming palliatives, and at worst sheer empiricism, if not religious charlatanism’.”
Rabbi Reichert denies that Reform Judaism wishes to break completely with Jewish tradition, but declares that “it seeks to re-invest our tradition of ethical and spiritual living with pulsating ideals.”