The sum of $59,000 for the maintenance of the schools of the Jewish Education Association which is seeking a fund of $100,000, was raised at the eleventh annual Chanukah dinner of the Association at the Hotel Biltmore on Sunday night.
Governor-elect Herbert H. Lehman was the guest of honor and principal speaker of the evening. He emphasized that character building agencies such as the Jewish Education Association are as important as those which minister to the physical needs of society.
Other speakers included James Marshall, Israel Unterberg, president of the Association ; Mark Eisner, Borough President Samuel Levy, Mrs. Gabrial Hamburger, president of Ivriah, and Magistrate Jonah J. Goldstein. Bernard Semel, honorary secretary of the association, was the toastmaster.
Governor-elect Lehman declared in his address, which will be the last he will deliver at a public function for the next several months, owing to the pressure of public work, as follows :
“Your association stands for spiritual leadership and character building, and there has been no time within this generation when the need of spiritual leadership was so great. The material resources of the community are lessened by economic and industrial depression. The suffering that comes from widespread unemployment, exposure, hunger, worry, cold, and lack of shelter, taxes the resistance and strength of thousands of our citizens.
“We are striving, with all the forces at our command, for material and economic reconstruction, and we cannot afford to overlook the potent force and value of spiritual leadership and character building in combating discouragement, and in maintaining morale.
“And at this particular time courage and morale are sorely needed in our fight against conditions which must, and will be, overcome.
“Spiritual leadership certainly should include religious training and religious education. It must apply to adults and children alike. Many of those of use who have reached manhood or womanhood appreciate the importance of spiritual values, and wish to supplement our lives with these values.
“When the elemental call of bread for the body reaches our ears we are naturally tempted to lay all else aside, and regard all other things as superfluities.
“Nothing, of course, can be permitted to interfere with the care of the immediate and compelling needs of our fellows. But we cannot afford to neglect either the body or the spirit. We can not afford to feed the bodies of our children, and permit their souls to starve.
“True religion teaches justice, charity, tolerance, love and good citizenship. We are aiding good citizenship when we teach children to revere, respect, and love religion, regardless of the particular denomination or faith of which they are adherents. Character-building and character-preserving agencies are, at this time, substantially as important as those which minister to the physical needs of society.”