Today at sundown millions of Jews in the farthest reaches of the world will down tools, close their places of business, abandon offices and forget mundane pursuits to wend their way to thousands of synagogues and temples as well as to hundreds of stores, theatre, halls and lodge rooms converted into places of worship for the holiday. to usher in Rosh Hashanah, the new Jewish year or 5691.
Jewish Telegraphic Agency dispatches indicate that the uncertain political conditions in Palestine will in no way lessen the crowds expected at the synagogues of the Ashkenazic and Sephardic communities, while in Eastern and Central Europe, Jews of all classes are making ready to welcome the New Year with a prayer that it will bring relief from anti-Semitism, economic misery and political disorders that marked the outgoing year. In other Jewries, untouched by anti-Semitism and relatively well-off economically, thoughts will turn to the less fortunate Jews in other lands.
New York, the world’s largest Jewish community, is already assuming a holiday aspect. The synagogues, temples and the improvised places of worship will all be thronged, according to advance reports. A number of new rabbis will speak from the pulpits of some of the leading congregations of the city. Rabbi Louis I. Newman, formerly of Temple Emanu-El, San Francisco, will make his Rosh Hashanah bow at Temple Rodeph Sholom. Tremont Temple in the Bronx will welcome Rabbi L. Elliot Grafman of Tampa and Rabbi William F. Rosenbaum of Washington will start the New Year at Temple Israel.
MANY IMPORTANT PULPIT CHANGES
Similar pulpit changes are noted throughout the country, among them being Rabbi Irving F. Reichert of New York to Temple Emanu-El, San Francisco, Rabbi Adolph Fink from Michigan Hillel Foundation to Temple Emanu-El, Spokane, Rabbi Jacob Weinstein from Congregation Beth Israel at Austin, Tex. to Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco. In New York Congregation B’nai Jeshurun will be celebrating its 105th anniversary while Rabbi Mitchel Salem Fisher, formerly of Temple Rodeph Sholom, will conduct services at the American Synagogue.
Messages and greetings to American Jewry have been made public by the leaders of the various national Jewish organizations. Paul Baerwald, Morris Rothenberg, David M. Bressler, and Judge William M. Lewis, the national chairman of the Allied Jewish Campaign, in a joint statement said, “For the sake of Israel, the beginning of the year 5691 must be marked by a demonstration of Jewish solidarity in the form of intensified activity and generous cooperation with this effort on which the fate and hopes of our brethren in Eastern Europe and Palestine depends”.
Alfred M. Cohen, international president of the B’nai B’rith, found in the year drawing to a close one of “greater prosperity in the things that really count than in the things that come and go … in things of the spirit the year was outstanding”. Hope that the New Year would bring to Israel and to all mankind “release from the Galuth of body and spirit” is voiced by Ludwig Vogelstein, chairman of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.
A renewal of Jewish responsibility to young and old is forecast for the new year by Dr. Israel Goldstein, president of Young Judea, in his New Year message to the Jewish Youth in which he expressed the hope that the New Year will “witness an increasing dissemination of Jewish knowledge, a spreading of the ideal of Jewish service, and a growing sense of Jewish responsibility among the youth of Israel”. Other greetings were from Mrs. Joseph E. Friend, president of the National Council of Jewish Women, and from Mrs. Estelle M. Sternberger, executive secretary of the Council, to the 60,000 members of the Council, from Roger W. Straus, president of the National Federation of Temple Brotherhoods, and Mrs. Maurice Steinfeld, president of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, and the Commission of Social Justice of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. Nathan D. Shapiro, president of the Brooklyn Federation of Jewish Charities, issued an appeal for support for the Federation.
NON-JEWS TO CELEBRATE
Tomorrow night the Fellowship of Faith, a non-Jewish group, will celebrate Rosh Hashanah in Grace-Episcopal Church, marking the first time that a Jewish holiday is being observed by non-Jews. The celebration will be under the auspices of the Threefold Movement. Thirty-five leading ministers members of the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America, have been asked to discuss a subject of Jewish import on Sunday, September 28, while the Synagogue Council of America has received the following New Year message to the Jews of America from the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America:
“At this season, replete with so much spiritual significance to all followers of the Jewish faith, we extend through you to all organizations who represent the religious ideals of the Jews, our sincere Rosh Hashanah greetings. Jews and Christians alike share a concern for sounder morality and ever higher levels of attainment in personal character. In the pursuit of these ends for which you are working through the synagogues and we are working through the churches, we earnestly wish for you another year crowned with increasing success”.
The holiday sermons to be preached tonight by rabbis in various sections of the country indicate what the spiritual leaders of American Jewry are thinking on the eve of a new year. Rabbi Harry Davidowitz of Cleveland will say that “an honest Judaism must recognize Yehudah Halevi’s poetic truth that a vital and operative Judaism can find its heart beat only in Eretz Israel”. Rabbi David Lefkowitz, of Dallas, Texas, president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, will refer to the need of “a reawakening in the New Year to Jewish pride, Jewish worth and values. Above all, the sounds of the Shofar should awaken us to the needs of many of the Jewries of the world which are in direst straits. We must be awake to the physical and spiritual danger of our brethren in Russia, Poland and Rumania and Palestine”.
In Chicago, Rabbi Solomon Goldman, in reviewing the position of the Jew in the world today, will tell his holiday congregation that “genuine comfort will come only from Palestine. Whatever the trials and difficulties the signs of a people’s healthy life are apparent to the discerning eye.” Preaching his first Rosh Hashanah sermon in Temple Rodeph Sholom, Rabbi Louis I. Newman, will say, “Self-defence must be Israel’s watchword in the coming year more than ever before… The present hour calls for the undivided and uncompromising service of everyone who is enrolled among the chosen people”.
PLEA FOR WORLD JEWISH AGENCY
A plea for the organization of a world Jewish Agency or conference to concern itself with the economic and political plight of Jewry, especially in Europe will be made by Rabbi Barnett R. Brickner of Cleveland. He will suggest that the conference be permanently organized in order to envisage the Jewish problem as a whole and that the leaders of American Jewry take the initiative in calling and organizing such a conference.
The dean of Reform rabbis in America, Dr. David Phillipson of Cincinnati, see# God “in the still small voice proclaiming peace and love and justice, the underlying principles of real religion”, and predicts that world peace will make greater strides in the coming year which will see a dying down of the “fires of religious divisions”. In Baltimore, Rabbi Morris Lazaron will tell his hearers that the “times are pregant with opportunity for us to dedicate ourselves to the twofold message of Judaism; to God and people, the God of humanity and, Israel our people… The Faith of the Jew does not exclude the folk of the Jew. Liberal Judaism has too long neglected the emphasis on Folk, people, Israel, the eternal people…” Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver of Cleveland will urge his congregation to meet “with an adequacy of social intelligence and a full measure of moral idealism”, the host of pressing and serious problems with which the year 5691 “will confront every socially-minded man and every loyal Jew”.
In New York many rabbis will make Jewish education the topic of their Rosh Hashanah sermons. This is at the request of the Jewish Education Association. At St. Elizabeth’s Hospital Jewish services will be held for the first time. Dudley Sicher, president of the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies, has announced that services will be held at all of the Federation’s 91 constitutent institutions while rabbis throughout the city will carry to their congregants the appeal of the Federation for contributions to wipe out its deficit of $2,221,000. The HIAS will conduct services at Ellis Island for the Jewish immigrants who are detained there. No Jewish aliens will be deported during the holidays, the Commissioner of Immigration has announced.