Philadelphia (Nov. 24)
The 150 Lodges of the Order Brith Sholom are urged to adopt the Stern plan, in an article written by Martin O. Levy, Grand Secretary of the Order, in the current issue of the Brith Sholomite.
Discussing “Our part in a new community plan” Mr. Levy gives wholehearted endorsement to the Stern plan but expresses his regret that it is limited to the Synagogue. This Mr. Levy believes can be remedied by extending the plan to include other Jewish units.
“It is generally conceded,” Mr. Levy writes in this article, “that Jewish life in America is not functioning as it should. A community of upwards of four million souls should accomplish more, should be better organized, should respond more quickly to the various issues arising from day to day without the need of artificial stimulus and that ballyhoo to which American Jewry has grown accustomed.
“Like so many others, Judge Stern has given serious thought to these vexing problems. As a result of his study and observation he has suggested a plan for the organization of Jewish life in this country.”
Following an analysis of the Stern plan, Mr. Levy continues: “For myself, I think the plan is a good one. It is fundamentally sound â€” with one exception. This exception is that Judge Stern limits his unit to the Synagogue. Whether we like it or not, the fact, let us say the sorry fact, is that all of Jewish life is not to be found in the Synagogue.
“These Jews should be reached not only for the Synagogue but also for other Jewish interests. Once Judge Stern’s plan is limited to the Synagogue exclusively, the greater major-
ity of the Jewish people are excluded. This is wrong for two reasons. In the first place, we have no right to exclude anybody from Jewish activity. Secondly we cannot afford to be deprived of the co-operation and the contribution of these people. It is in this connection that I think Brith Sholom can supplement the plan recommended by Judge Stern.
“My own thought in the matter is this: Following Judge Stern’s plan, I would suggest, subject of course to the approval of our Lodges, that in each Lodge there be organized a series of committees, each committee to function in behalf of and to further a specific phase of Jewish activity. Thus we could have in each Lodge a Committee on Palestine, a Committee on Jewish Education, a Committee on Foreign Relief, etc. Each of these Committees should either seek out similar committees in the community, or go ahead on its own initiative and further the specific task to which it is assigned. Personally, I think a great deal of good could be accomplished in this way. If, for example, every Lodge of Brith Sholom had a Committee on Palestine, it could very easily join with the other local Committees when the signal is given. In this way Brith Sholom would be taking a leading part and making a definite contribution to this particular piece of Jewish work.
“In the smaller communities where no permanent committees exist, the Brith Sholom Committee might be the nucleus for such a permanent committee. It might take the initiative in organizing the city for just such purposes. Jewish activity of this type is strictly within the province of Brith Sholom.
“To avoid any misunderstanding, I wish to make it clear that I do not seek to take away anything from the Synagogue; nor even to establish what in the eyes of some might appear to be competition. What I have in mind aims to supplement the plan recommended by Judge Stern. Our Committees would be only too pleased to work together with any other committees whether they represent Synagogues or other units in Jewish life. The point is, that Jewish activity would be furthered and stimulated. That after all is of paramount importance.”
Brith Sholom has lodges in approximately one hundred cities, scattered in twenty-two states, with national headquarters in Philadelphia.