whom, indeed, no one appears to be interested.
Latterly a number of Ashkenazim have begun to realize that such a situation cannot continue, and that there must be created a strong Ashkenazi community which should concern itself not only with the spiritual life of its members, but should also cooperate in easing the lot of the poor amongst them. With these objects in view they have invited the well-known young Rabbi B. N. Friedman to study the situation on the spot. Friedman, who is a native of Hungary, had for the past few years conducted the affairs of the Liberal community in Holland.
Rabbi Friedman spent several weeks in Barcelona and made an attempt to organize Jewish religious life in Spain. He investigated the position in Spain exhaustively, came into touch with influential statesmen and submitted to the Government a report regarding the actual situation. First of all he tried to set up a large Gemeinde, regardless of the differing customs, in order that the various forces might not be split up. If he should not succeed in this, he has in mind the creation of a separate organization of Ashkenazim which should devote itself primarily to raising the standard of the religious and cultural life of the immigrants. It is no easy undertaking, but he is determined to give a great deal of effort to the task.
One of the most important and most painful problems engaging the attention of Rabbi Friedman, is that of the poverty of the Jews. There have come into the country people without capital and without any knowledge of the Spanish language. They swept in without any prospects whatever; they came solely because they were admitted. And the outcome is indeed tragic. For in the present Spanish economic situation, such people have nothing to do. The result is that they become burdens on their particular consulates, and as the consulates con do little for them, they are eventually deported and suffer anew a modern “Spanish Expulsion.”
Rabbi Friedman believes that if the community life should develop well, it would help to establish a number of these unhappy wanderers. With unity and cooperation an effort could then be made to raise the fallen, as is the case in other lands.
The best among the Ashkenazim pray with every fibre of their being that Rabbi Friedman may prosper in his work. His enthusiasm and devotion to the cause of organizing Spanish Jewry give every reason for the hope that his advent in Spain will produce good results.