Agudath Israel Celebrating 20 Years Since Its Formation

The Agudath Israel World Organisation has issued a statement drawing attention to the fact that Sivan 11th: and 12th., corresponding to June 15th .and 16th. will be the 20th. anniversary of the Conference held at Kattowitz, which resulted in the formation of the Agudath Israel as an inter-territorial organisation of traditionally observant Jews. There were about 300 Rabbis and laymen from Germany, Austria, Russia, England and other countries at the Kattowitz Conference. Mr. Jacob Rosenheim, now President of the Agudath Israel World Organisation, read out the statement of policy on which the Organisation was founded as a world organisation of all Jews who see the essential significance of Judaism in the Torah, and seek to unite knowledge of the Torah and the Jewish intensiveness of the East with the modern ways of life of the observant West European Jews, in accordance with the saying “Tora im derecherez”.

The programme which was adopted at the Conference also dealt with the need of alleviating the economic conditions of the Jewish masses in the countries of economic distress and in Palestine, and with the representation of Torah-observant Jewry in respect to the outer world and the beating back of attacks directed against the Torah and its observers as such.

The first big Conference of the Agudath World Organisation after the war was held in Zurich in 1919, and the first Kenessiah Gedaulo was held in Vienna, in August 1923. Rabbi Dr. Pinchas Kohn, of Vienna, conducted the affairs of the Agudath Israel from 1920 until the second Kenessiah Gedaulo was held in 1929, and elected Mr. Jacob Rosenheim as President.

The Kenessiah Gedaulo meets every five years.

In Poland the Agudath Israel has formed the orthodox Jewish Labour organisation, Poale Agudath Yisroel, and an orthodox Jewish Women’s organisation, the B’noth Agudath Israel, and it has established about 70 Jewish orthodox girls’s schools, attended by over 10,000 pupils.

The supreme body of the Agudath Israel is the Rabbinical Council, including among its members some of the greatest living Rabbis, like the Chofetz Chaim and the Gerer Rebbe, to which all decisions have to be submitted for ratification.

The Agudath Israel World Organisation claims to have a membership of more than 500,000, and 30 organisations in various countries.

It conducts work in Palestine through the Palestine Central Office in Frankfurt, and educational work through the Keren Hatorah, which has its seat in Vienna.

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