“free Pulpit and Free Pew” Basis of Los Angeles Synagogue

A community synagogue on the principle of a “free pulpit and free pew” has been organized here by Rabbi Meyer Winkler, who recently resigned as spiritual leader of the Sinai congregation. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur service by the new community synagogue were held in the Wilshire Ebell auditorium.

“By the term free pulpit,” Rabbi Winkler explained, “I mean that the rabbi or minister should be absolutely free in his utterances by virtue of his ordination. I shall not be a hired man. My ministry assumes a voluntary character—the sermon must be the product of an unshackled mind from its inception to its crystallization. By the free pew, I mean that the people who belong to my church will be free from obligatory taxation—all money contributed will be by free offering. My church will be literally a ‘good will’ synagogue. I will preach fellowship between Jew and Jew, and between Jew and Gentile.”

Speaking of his fundamental religious views, Rabbi Winkler said:

“I did not change my religious views. I am an exponent of traditional Judaism. The rites and traditions and symbols cannot be discarded. Rather they should be presented to the modern mind in an intelligent and understandable way—if necessary those fundamental values of Judaism can stand a reinterpretation and revaluation. The God of yesterday must be interpreted to the man of today in terms of today.”

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