The real rabbinate in this country is not overcrowded, Dr. Cyrus Adler, president of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, stated yesterday in an address delivered at the opening assembly of the institution.
Dr. Adler expressed agreement with the viewpoint that there are “more rabbinical schools in the United States than are justified adequately to express the different trends of thought into which our communty is divided.”
Some of these could have been spared, Dr. Adler stated. At the same time he pointed out that “if our Jewish community would reconsider itself I think it would come to the conclusion that the stock market is not the only organization which might with advantage propose the squeezing out of excess water.”
Discussing the rabbinate and the statements made recently that it is overcrowded, Dr. Adler said: “But the rabbinate itself is not overcrowded. I mean the real rabbinate. Owing to our lack of any form of religious government or authority, a group has developed whom I believe you know in common parlance as the free lance without regular training from any school, often devoid of knowledge and possessed only of glibness of tongue. They are selected by a congregation and by virtue of election become rabbis. If there were any authority which could deal with this sort of irregularity as similar irregularities can be dealt with in the medical and legal professions, there would be ample room for many more good men. The quack is always a detriment.
Dr. Adler’s address yesterday was the first public speech he has made since his return recently from a trip abroad.
Other addresses at the exercises were delivered by Sol M. Stroock, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Seminary and Arthur Oppenheimer.
A special exhibition is being held this week in the Museum of Jewish Ceremonial Objects.