Jews who base their judgments of what Jews should do on what non-Jews may say or do, were advised to get out of Jewish life by Rabbi Stephen S. Wise of the Free Synagogue in an address delivered yesterday morning at the first Sunday services in Carnegie Hall this fall.
Rabbi Wise’s statement, without referring to Rabbi Samuel Schulman of Temple Emanu-el by name, was a reply to the latter’s attack upon the Geneva Jewish Congress and the American Jewish Congress in a statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
“Those who are prepared to form their judgment of what Jews should do on the ground of what non-Jews may say and do, should get out of Jewish life, taking their base pusillanimity with them and leaving it to Jews with courage and decent self-respect to counsel and lead in Jewish affairs,” said Rabbi Wise, who is the honorary president of the American Jewish Congress which took the initiative in convening the Geneva conference.
“Sorrow and pride would have touched your hearts, if you could have heard at Geneva,” he said, “the story of Jewish life, as it must be lived by more than half of the Jews of the world. Sorrow for their lot and pride in the dignity and courage with which that tragic lot is borne. Above all, pride in the tone and spirit of these Geneva deliberations, deliberations worthy of any Parliament in the world.
And yet the complaint is made by a rabbinical tourist to Europe that ‘practical men’ were missing, practical men being nothing more than a paraphrase for ‘money bags.’ The ‘practical men’ have not seemed quite so effective and illuminating in recent years and the notion that ‘only money talks’ has not yet quite inflected all of Jewish life.
“The Jewish Daily Bulletin of August 14, 1932,” he pointed out “declared : ‘The Central Union of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith has in recent weeks been flooded with communications from the provinces revealing how hitherto peaceable Jewish life in the small towns has been turned into a veritable hell where the Jews fear for their lives’. And yet we are told ‘that the conference played into the hands of the Hitlerites and enabled them to say that the Jews were interfering with the internal affairs of Germany.’
“Our life, our faith, our tradition, our dreams, all of these we would have had to abandon because all of these have been twisted and tortured against us by anti-Jewish passion,” Rabbi Wise asserted.
“Shall we give up the Hebrew Bible because a recent writer in the Hibbert Journal finds in its pages approval of ritual murder among Jews as a people?” he asked.
“What I said in Geneva, I am prepared to say again and again and I should be ready to go to Berlin to say it even there,” he challenged. “The high and courteous slogan of the Hitlerites is “Judaea Perish!” There is a twofold answer to be made. Judaea will not perish. Peoples that cry “Judaea Perish” may perish even as many of them have perished!”