Geneva (May. 21)
The Director of the International “Fixed Calendar” League, Mr. Moses B. Cotsworth, has made a statement to the J.T.A. representative here in which he claims that Calendar Reform would bring a considerable number of advantages to the Jews, and that the campaign which is being conducted against the calendar reform project by Rabbis and Jewish lay leaders is mistaken, and is not likely to be successful. He is convinced, he says, that the calendar reform plan, including the insertion of blank days, is going to be carried into effect.
What are the benefits which the Jews would gain by accepting the proposed Fixed Calendar? he begins.
JEWS WOULD BE FREED FROM INCONVENIENCES AND ECONOMIC LOSSES CAUSED BY ARCHAIC JEWISH CALENDAR
Beyond the 24 practical benefits of general importance emphasised by the advocates of the reform which the Jews would gain in common with all the people among whom Jews live in every nation, they would derive the far-reaching benefits indicated here: They would be freed from the many inconveniences, financial handicaps and economic losses, which the cumbersome, complicated and antiquated Jewish Calendar imposes upon them through the fact that they must date every day and arrange their family, business and public affairs to accord with the National Calendar for each country in which they live. Among the inconveniences we note the confusion caused by their Calendar requiring them to rest till sunset on Saturday, when each national Calendar helps its people to rest upon Sundays complete 24 hours. Members of the majority of families work for, or in contact with businesses, some of which trade on S
CAN’T UNDERSTAND WHY JEWS SHOULD WANT TO OBSERVE SATURDAY SABBATH: SABBATH WAS MADE FOR MAN NOT MAN FOR SABBATH: INSISTENCE ON KEEPING SATURDAY SABBATH AROUSING ANTAGONISM AGAINST JEWS BECAUSE EMPHASISING JEWISH PECULIARITIES AND REFUSAL TO MEET FAR GREATER NEEDS OF MAJORITY OF NON JEWS
Our experiences and enquiries made while in the 60 countries visited, Mr. Cotsworth pursues, convince us that in nearly all countries the Government and other authorities consulted, consider that the Orthodox Rabbis, by insisting upon their congregations observing the Sabbath after Sunset hours on the civil Friday until the Sunset time on Saturday, are alienating increasing numbers of progressive Jews from their synagogues, and (we regret to say) are arousing anatagonistic feeling against Jews by such peculiarities which emphasise to all around the refusal of the Rabbis to meet the far greater needs of the majority of non-Jews, and their failure to recognise the ever increasing public demand for them to realise that “the Sabbath was made for man” – not man for the Sabbath under conditions existing 3,400 years ago, which were very different from the freedom this generation requires.
The early Christians used the Sabbath from Friday Sunset; but the needs of their time caused them to change to Sunday beginning at mid-night.
We are convinced that all Jews, Rabbis and religions would benefit far more by accepting the proposed Calendar’s weekly day for rest; even if the Rabbis accepted the proposed Calendar’s Saturday to gain their desired five-day for weekly work.
Our proposal to insert the last day of every year as the “Year-day” ending every 52nd. week to establish one universal-day for weekly rest to equally benefit all races and creeds, would benefit the Jews more than any other race. A Fixed Calendar by being made universal would abolish many extra costs and losses now caused by the five conflicting calendars used in the Balkan countries, Turkey, Egypt, and other African countries, and end Jewish difficulties with the 17 different calendars used in India.
We regret, Mr. Cotsworth says, that the pamphlets and speeches of the Rabbis do not record any such benefits. On the contrary they make so many misleading statements that they are alienating many true friends of the Jews. They claim to speak for Jews throughout the world. But adequately informed authorities know that they cannot truly speak for the 17 per cent. of Jews who are the main supporters of the Russian Soviet. Large numbers of Jews in America and the British Empire will not support the opposition by the Rabbis, when they know the benefits the reform will bring.
The allegation that the 366th. day (Year-day) would not be counted among the days of the month or even among the days of the week is wrong. It would be the 29th. of the month and the 8th. day included in the last week. The allegation that “a strong minority” (of the Committee of the United States Chamber of Commerce) “opposed any change in the Calendar” is refused by the fact that it was the small minority of 2 out of 15 members. The allegation that “endless litigation in connection with leases, etc., would follow, has no basis in fact. Though more than 300 millions of people have changed their Calendars since the Great War no such imagined litigation has arisen.
Times have changed, Mr. Cotsworth concludes, and are changing rapidly. The ancient complexities of the Jewish Calendar do not meet the requirements of progress.