Cincinnati (Jan. 24)
The three Jewish members of Governor George White’s Ohio Commission on Unemployment Insurance have been attacked by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and by a Cleveland manufacturer on the grounds that their Russian birth has colored their ideas and vitiated their loyalty to the American principle of private initiative.
The three under fire are Dr. I. M. Rubinow, Secretary of B’nai Brith; Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver of Cleveland; and Professor William M. Leiserson of Antioch College.
Two Cleveland rabbisâ€”Barnet R. Brickner and Harry S. Davidowitzâ€”have already arisen to the defense of the three, and in public addresses have branded the criticism as un-American and senseless.
The Ohio Chamber of Commerce, in a brochure analyzing the Commission’s report, expresses “its resentment at the impudent challenge hurled at us by foreign propagandists,” and pointedly asks “When were Christian charity, family love, neighborly kindliness, and human brotherhood scientific?” The brochure heatedly states that “this attempt to foist upon the United States foreign ideals and foreign practices during this trying period is indefensible and disloyal.”
J. F. Lincoln, the Cleveland manufacturer, who is also a member of the Unemployment Commission â€” one of the two who protested against the majority report of the Commission which advocated immediate passage of unemployment insurance legislationâ€”went even further. In a recent address before the Associated Industries in Cleveland, Mr. Lincoln first named Dr. Rubinow, Rabbi Silver, and Prof. Leiserson as the authors of the unemployment insurance bill, and then went on to say that since all three were born in Russia, “their background was the tradition of a land of pogroms, exile, and serfdom, also one of despotism, persecution, misery and immemorial hatreds.” He questioned whether these sponsors of the bill had absorbed the American spirit of initiative, of individual responsibility and self-reliance sufficiently to be trusted with the handling of major social and political problems of this country.
“A man’s birthplace is no criterion of his Americanism,” declared Rabbi Brickner, who said he was rising to the defense only because Rabbi Silver is out of the country. “As a matter of fact, the Russian background of these three men has nothing whatever to do with the unemployment insurance idea. Unemployment insurance was first thought of in England and Germany. Mr. Lincoln is hitting below the belt, and that is un-American. He owes an apology and if he is worthy of his name he will give it.”
“The standpatters of American industry must feel the weakness of the logic and of the convincingness of their arguments against the proposed Ohio unemployment insurance bill when they are reduced to the good old trick of dragging the red herring of Russian birth across its path,” said Rabbi Davidowitz.
“One of the obvious purposes of this pamphlet,” said Alfred Segal in the “Cincinnati Post,” is to show that three of the commissioners were born in European countries. This is supposed to cause all 100 percenters to flame with patriotic wrath; they are expected to forget all about the justice of unemployment insurance while they burn against Dr. Rubinow who has been an American citizen many years, has been a faithful and intelligent servant of the common good, has become nationally known as an expert on social insurance.
“There may be good arguments against unemployment insurance, but the fact that a friend of this measure of social justice is foreign-born is not one of them.”
To stimulate interest in Jewish thought among high school boys and girls, the Board of Jewish Ministers of Northern California has decided to hold an oratorical contest. The competition will be open to boys and girls of Northern California of high school age, the orations to be on Jewish subjects.
A series of chamber music recitals at the Community Center Conservatory of Music, of Congregation Bnai Jesh##un, begin on Monday evening, January 30th, when the Stradivarius Quartet; Messrs, Wolfe Wolfinsohn, Alfred Pochon, Nicolas Moldavan and Gerald Warburg, assisted by Frank Sheridan, Pianist, will present a program.
This is the first of the series of chamber music concerts to be given at the Conservatory by the leading chamber music organizations.