Newark (Dec. 13)
At the official celebration held here last Sunday night to mark the tercentenary of the birth of Baruch Spinoza a resolution was unanimously adopted petitioning the 1933 session of the New Jersey Legislature to extend a formal welcome to Professor Albert Einstein, now en route to America, where he will later join the faculty of the new Institute of Advanced Studies at Princeton University.
The resolution suggested by A. Silverstein, chairman of the tercentenary committee, and presented by A. Sigmund Kanengieser, Grandmaster of the Independent Order B’rith Sholom, protested “against the unfounded and thoroughly unjustifiable attacks provoked upon the greatest scientific mind of the century, Professor Einsteinâ€”to whom freedom of conscience is just as precious as it was to Spinozaâ€”by a super-patriotic and inflated organization.”
The resolution declared further that the attacks “in effect constitute a travesty upon the splendid judgment exercised by Louis Bamberger, Mrs. Felix Fuld, Dr. Abraham Flexner and trustees of the new Institute of Advanced Studies, in inviting Professor Einstein to honor the state of New Jersey by becoming a member of the faculty of the Institute.”
Dr. Ruth Gruber, of Brooklyn, who recently surprised scholars of two continents by having the Ph.D. degree bestowed upon her at the age of 20, was the principal speaker at the observance. Challenging the oft-repeated assertion that Spinoza was an atheist, she pleaded for a “wider recognition of the religious precepts which motivated his life.”
W. P. Montyn, Consul General for the Netherlands, brought official greetings on behalf of the government of Holland, where Spinoza was born. Milton M. Unger, lawyer and member of the Board of Education, brought official greetings as a representative of Mayor Congleton, who previously sent a laudatory communication to the tercentenary committee. Mr. Kanengieser, who served as vice-chairman of the tercentenary committee, greeted the assemblage on behalf of the B’rith Sholom, and Mr. Silverstein presided. He read messages relating to Spinoza’s life and precepts, specially directed to the Newark celebration, from Secretary of the Interior Wilbur, President Robinson of City College, New York; Professor Adolph S. Oko, of Hebrew Union College; Dr. Frederick Kettner, author and director of Spinoza Center, New York; and Benjamin De Casseres, author, and only living lineal descendant of Spinoza.