Milwaukee (Jun. 30)
The Central Conference of American Rabbis, which concluded its forty-seventh annual convention here this week, took a firm stand on a number of issues affecting not only the religious, but the social, economic and political life of the country.
One of the highly interesting features of the convention was the paper on the concept of God in Jewish life and literature read by Dr. Bernard Heller of Ann Arbor. Mich. Defending the traditional Jewish concept of God, Dr. Heller criticized the school of Jewish thought which attempts to “dovetail the implied creed and implicit character of Judaism with the ideologies of modern Humanism, secular Hebraism and a non-religious or even irreligious type of nationalism,” and which claims that “allegiance to the Jewish people rather than to the Jewish religion is supreme and cardinal in Jewish life.”
The importance and position of the synagogue in Jewish life also came in for discussion at the session. The conference went on record as favoring the recognition of Russia by the United States; commending President Roosevelt’s far-reaching social legislation program social control of the profit system and other social measures; favoring the principle of freedom of expression by the rabbi in the pulpit and in other fields; as condemning sweat shop operators, particularly Jewish employers in that category as “representing an element unworthy of membership in a group which has held for thousands of years the social justice ideals of Israel.” as opposing the private manufacture of war materials, and favoring legislation to make this impossible, and for justice toward the Negro.
A resolution protesting the increasing growth of restrictions against the Catholic Church in a number of lands was adopted by the convention, which also sent a message to President Roosevelt and American delegates to the World Economic Conference pointing out that as long as Germany’s present political policy and persecutions of minorities continued, her promise was of little significance.
The conference failed to accept a stand proposed by its committees on two questions of importance to American Jewry. One of these was that the conference oppose attempts to introduce Yiddish as a language course in New York schools. A recommendation that the conference oppose invoking the power of the courts to enforce Kashruth regulations also failed of ratification.