OVERHEARD recently at a winter resort: Complaint by a distinguished looking Jewess against a teacher in the Friends’ School, in Mew York, at which her son is a studen. There is in the some class another Jewish boy. One of these boys, if not both, is enabled to attend The Friends’ his father enjoys a remunerative connection with Tammany Hall. Now This teacher had made a faux pas, two of them in fact. He had launched into a eulogy of Adolf Hitler and, in the same breath almost, a condemnation of Tammany Hall, New what offended this Jewish of Hitler as the condemnation of Tammany.
This lady, a member of that bolde type who would thank you for mistaking her for a Gentile, semed to think that it might have been within the teacher’s right and province to hail Hitler, but that it was, at the least, bad form for him # of his Jewish students. (Why Jewish parents should be sending their children to a Quaker institution is another chunk of thought to chew on, but I pass that up for the present.) Myself I think that it is entirely understandable that a teacher in a Quaker institution should lash out at the national symbol of civic vice and corruption; but that it is worse than bad from for a teacher in an institution conducted by the Society of Friends, a religious so ciety based on pacifism, good will to man, friendliness and I-take-my-hat-off-to-no-man, to praise Europe’s greatest living war-monger, Mussolini not exepted. The offended sense of loyalty to Tammany to which this polite lady was giving polite tongue allowed no room for the simple recognition of this curious contradiction-praise of Hitler by a teacher in a pacifist schol. And, incidentally, I am willing to wager more than a plugged nickel that neither father nor mother of them Tammany lad has ventured to bring a blush to the cheek of a department store clerk by asking whetjer any item of goods offerd fro sale was made in Germany. When I consider how many Jews there must be who have not even a marginal Jewish loyalty I wonder how the anti-German boycott has been so successful as it has #"This People," Ludwig Lewisohn descants on the phemomenon of Jewish self-hate which the leading character in that story observed while at college and of which the leading character in that story observed whilel at college and of which the wife of that character seemed to be a victim. When a Jew affirms a non-Jewish loyalty, while ignoring an offense to Jewishness, that person is expressing by inference a kind of racial self-hate. Even in sending her son to the Friends’ School she is giving expression, in-frerentially, to a similar attitude, for the public school in the neighborhood is probably full of very common Jewish lads, while the Friend’s School is full of very nice Gentile love-locks passes by the genteed lady must feel a repulsion as exquisite almost as that of any Gentile lady.
Don’t mistake me, dear readers, I am writing for the Jewish Daily Bulletin and I was born in Galicia, and all that, but since we are living in New York in the twintieth century, in the fourth decade, we live not along the line of one clear loyalty, but along the lines of overlaping and criss-crossing loyalties. A Jew who is a Jew twenty-four hours of the day, like a non-Jew who is a non-Jew twenty-four hours of the day, must be a bore, a fanatic or a saint, and he is more likely to be a bore or a fanatic tan a # three was no such division of loyalty, and life was much more simple and much more integrated, even if much more painful, than it is now. Perhaps life is still as simple today in the Polish-Russain Jewish world of which Irving Fineman has written so beautifully is his novel, "Hear, Ye Sons.” but now, and here, Tammany Hall-and we use the words now as a symbol-in its manifold variations, has cut across the simple divisions of rance, religion and nationality which used once alty a human being had. From the church, and from the synagouge, men derived all the sanctions they needed for being born, for living and for dying and because we have lost that sense of simple sanction and justification, and because having a reason for bing from on high was essentially a beautiful and satisfying thing, even men of science today, and philosopers of traditon are trying to give us philosophical and scientifie sancitons with a religious turn. Walter Lippmann’s ”A Preface to Morals,” published some years ago, was so succesful because it sought to patch up the religious sanciton which men seem to need. Ludwing Lewishn discovered for himself, and prochalimed as needful for every other member of his people, the needful sanction of race-in-religion, heart Irving Fineman, who was born and brougt up the United States, would recoil from the sight of an old obearded Jew who wore love locks, but his ”Hear, Ye Sons” declard, in the form of a story and with limited application, the message proclaimed in philosophical terms by Mr. Lippmann-that there must be opne loyalty and meaning to life.
I began this column with an anecdote and ended with what sounds very much like an exhortationl. I rather distrust the hortatory note because I myself have not so sim plified the universe that I should presume, even byb suggestion, to tell any other man, or woman, how he or she should live, or what he or she should do. I desrire this column to remain an observation post rather than a pulpit-but maybe that only proves the preceptiveness of the casual acquaintance who told a mutual acquaintance that there was a touch of the Talmud student in my literary criticism. Howeven should have resented the eulogy of Hitler as much as if not more, than the condemnation of Tammany Hall. Even Al Smith doesn’t like Tam many Hall.