Philadelphia (May. 16)
The Jew finds discrimination in the field of commercial, industrial, or even professional employment, Dr. I. Dr. Rubinow, world Secretary of the International Order ###nai Brith, said speaking at the National Conference of Jewish Social Service held here to-day, and as the vast majority of people are forced to earn their living through employment contracts, the possibility of discrimination presents a danger for nearly every Jew. It is fairly well known that in certain important branches of office and clerical work, the door to the Jew is almost absolutely closed.
Of course, none of the professions are absolutely closed to the American Jew, he went on. In fact, the impression prevails that the professions are over-run with Jews, and this is often cited as justification for the growing policy of discrimination and exclusion. Whether the charge be justified or not, it is well known that outside of Government service (federal, state or municipal) which constitutes a rapidly expanding field of employment of professional workers, and which is either governed by a rigid system of civil service or subject to political influences measured by voting strength-it is in this field of professional employment that inquiries as to the social, religious, racial and nationality status of the applicant are most searching, and discrimination against the Jewish applicant most frequent.
Dr. Rubinow scouted the suggestion that either small independent commerce, agriculture, or factory employment constitutes a way out for the Jew. The first, he said, is gradually being ground out by the economic revolution and the chain stores. The second is rapidly becoming industrialised and mechanised, with continual creation of surplus labour, and the same process is going on in industry.
A small minority in the field of big business, an increasing number in hectic salesmanship, an unwilling drift to factory work, and a growing intellectual proletariat without permanent occupation, this, for all we know, may be the future economic position of the Jew if the present tendencies continue unabated.
Is there anything we can do about it? Dr. Rubinow asked. I must confess that I cannot get very enthusiastic about the plan of organising special Jewish employment offices. In the long run a special Jewish employment office may only facilitate anti-Jewish discrimination and maybe make for sub-standard conditions of employment for Jewish labour.
WE MAY BE FORCED TO ACCEPT SITUATION AS A FUNDAMENTAL CONDITION OF JEWISH LIFE IN UNITED STATES AS NEGROES HAVE PRACTICALLY BEEN FORCED TO DO: WE MAY MAKE BEST OF BAD JOB AND CONTINUE TO CROWD INTO THOSE OCCUPATIONS IN WHICH BY SILENT PRESSURE WE ARE BEING CROWDED
We may try to control the tendency towards discrimination by education, persuasion, preaching, or even legislative action, Dr. Rubinow proceeded.
###or, as has been suggested, we may be forced to accept the situation as a fundamental condition of our life in the United States, as, for instance, negroes, have practically been forced to do. We may be forced to organise most of our economic life on the basis of intra-group differentiation, creating all the various economic and social groupings within our midst to serve ourselves, and thus further increase the degree of social as well as economic isolation. We may make the best of a bad job and continue to crowd into those occupations in which, by silent social pressure, we are being crowded.
Dr. Jacob Billikopf, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Federation of Jewish Charities, son-in-law of the late Louis Marshall, followed Dr. Rubinow, giving facts and figures relating to the conditions in various trades and industries, where he showed racial discrimination against Jews as being definitely in evidence.
Mr. James Marshall, son of the late Louis Marshall, made a special plea to the Conference on behalf of the children, because the world-wide depression, he said, was bearing down most heavily upon them.
Children cannot grow up twice, Mr. Marshall said, and it is of the utmost importance to change the current outlook in dealing with present-day social problems, especially since it has become evident that it may be many months, or even years, before a stabilised economy can reabsorb the millions who have been thrown out of employment.
Our thinking must be enlarged to deal not only with the immediate and obvious need for material relief, for housing and food and medical aid, but also to protect to-day’s children so that there may be some hope of preserving our institutions and traditions. We cannot do that if we are to continue to sacrifice every type of community and character-building activity, as we are doing to-day. We must strain our resources to this end. It is no longer a question of character building alone; it is social insurance-insurance that our traditions, our institutions shall be preserved.
MORE THAN SIX MILLION DOLLARS SPENT ANNUALLY ON JEWISH EDUCATION BY AMERICAN JEWRY
The Jewish people in this country spend over six million dollars annually on Jewish education. In New York City alone the Jews spend upwards of 3Â½ million dollars, Mr. Albert B. Schoolman, President of the National Council for Jewish Education, told the Conference. Despite the economic hardships which Jewish parents are forced to meet, he said, they are not depriving their children of their religious education.
A plea for the establishment of a Jewish Medical School to provide teaching facilities for Jewish students unable to gain admission to the existing Medical Colleges of America was made by Dr. Israel Strauss of New York.
We advocate the establishment of Medical Schools in Jewish hospitals, Dr. Strauss said, because we feel that in so doing not only will the standing of Jewish hospitals in the community be improved but also the efficiency of the institutions themselves would be increased.
We must recognise that the existing medical schools cannot take care of all the Jewish applicants. By the establishment of new Jewish medical schools, we can open the door to Jews of outstanding ability. We believe that no man should go into medicine unless he has not only great aptitude for his profession but also a singleness of purpose and a high sense of responsibility to humanity.
We know, he concluded, that all teaching institutions are limited as to the numbers they can admit. And we know also that there is discrimination against the Jews-because of their race or religion.