Jews Must Refuse Assimilation Rabbi Tells Baltimore Seminar

“Some people think the Jews constitute a separate race. We know today that Jews never formed a biological unit among the races of the earth. If we still speak of a Jewish race, we have reference to those psychic peculiarities which any group, whose fortunes have been molded by the same historical forces, is apt to develop.”

These were some of the statements made by Prof. Israel Bettan of the Hebrew Union College at the Christian-Jewish Seminar held yesterday at John Hopkins University. Other speakers were Rabbi William Rosenau, Rabbi Nathan Krass, Rev. George Bull and Rev. Dr. Samuel McCrae Cavert, general secretary of the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America.

“Judaism is the Jews’ birthright and badge of honor,” said Prof. Bettan. “By clinging to his ancient but evergrowing faith, a faith that has produced prophets, sages and saints, the Jew can best serve the world. Let Israel therefore refuse assimilation. Israel is eternal. It is because of the heritage of responsibility which is mine that I find ample satisfaction for all of my spiritual deeds, that I am eager to preserve my Jewish identity despite the difficulties and hardships involved.”

The afternoon session was attended by 425 people. Rabbi Edward Israel introduced the chairman, Prof. Hornell Hart, sociologist of Bryn Mawr College, who said among other things:

“The task which we have is to transfer the emotional energy from the collective struggle between Jews and Christians to a struggle in which Jews and Christians unite to bring the Kingdom of God on earth. The energy which many Christians ignorantly use in anti-Semitic feelings could be transferred to a struggle against poverty, against disease and for the cultivation of a better political order of society.”

Rabbi Nathan Krass stated that “the problems of adjustment between Christians and Jews are colossal. The limitations of the Seminar are in the fact that speeches are not enough. The situation demands action.”

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