That it is insufficient to regard religion from the standpoint of intellectual and cultural interests and that an approach to it should be with a view of acquiring a personal faith to live by, was the burden of Rabbi Samuel H. Goldenson’s sermon at Temple Emanu-EI, 1 East Sixty-Fifth street, on Saturday morning.
“We are confronted with a paradox, an incongruity,” Rabbi Goldenson said. “We are living at a time when there is much discussion of religion. Bookshelves on religion are growing, magazines contain numerous articles on it. It is the topic of conversation everywhere. At the same time there is marked decline in religious worship.
“The reason for this phenomenon is that the interest in religion has changed to one of intellectual character.”
While such intellectual interest is but a natural development, according to Rabbi Goldenson, he at the same time urged that those who speak for religion do not actmerely as “external witnesses” but offer some “internal testimony.” He conceived true religion as a personal matter for the soul and said that it was truly felt only by those for whom it was a necessity, “an irresistible expression.”
Moses was cited by Rabbi Goldenson as an example of one expressing himself religiously in those terms. Moses was determined to go forth to sacrifice for the sake of his suffering brethren, instead of remaining in peace when he had an opportunity, the rabbi pointed out.
REGRETS WHITE HOUSE SILENCE
Regrets regarding White House silence on the Hitlerite treatment of the Jews were expressed by Rabbi Louis I. Newman of Congregation Rodeph Sholom, 7 West Eighty-third street, in his Sunday morning sermon.
“President Roosevelt has ample precedents for governmental intercession on behalf of persecuted German Jewry,” Rabbi Newman charged. “Previous governments have not failed to make their position known when Jews in European countries have been maltreated. Apparently no heed has been paid in Washington to data gathered or. this subject by Max J. Kohler.
“If the President had wished to find a way to reassure the Jewish community of this country and their co-religionists abroad, he could have already done so.
“Surely President Roosevelt will not wish to be deaf to the opinions of large numbers of his fellow-citizens, and consider himself above comment regarding his inaction on the German situation since its tragic inception. In the end, he and is official family will be grateful to those who have spurred him to a wise and statesmanlike utterance in the name of human liberty, equality and righteousness.”
HAPPINESS IN SACRIFICE
Rediscovery of essential values in some ancient forms of worship was called for in the week-end sermon of Rabbi Joseph Zeitlin of Temple Ansche Chesed, West End avenue and 100th street.
“Modern man often looks with disdain upon the ancient system of sacrificial worship in religion,” Rabbi Zeitlin stated. “However, even though we would not desire a reversion to such customs, we still can discover in the old habits that untold happiness emanates from sacrifice not only on the part of individuals but on the part of nations as well.
“Civilized peoples are called upon today to do their share and to sacrifice their securely neutral and complacent position in order to give expression to their indignation about the action of a barbaric people.
“Public opinion must protest against smug passivity.”
EULOGY FOR DR. WISE
A eulogy of Rabbi Stephen S. Wise on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday, featured the Sunday sermon of Rabbi Jacob Katz of the Montefiore Hebrew Congregation, Hewitt and Macy places, Bronx.
“When Zionism was an anathema amongst the reform and only a dream amongst the orthodox, Rabbi Wise made himself the spokesman for true Zionism, the making of Palestine a cultural center for the Jewish people, irradiating a profound spiritual power throughout the Diaspora. What conviction and courage in those days such a platform demanded in the heart of young Wise! He then set a sail upstream He had reached the harbor whence he can view his work achieved.”
NEED FOR JEWISH UNITY
It is difficult for friendly Gentiles to understand how a people as imperllied as the Jews can be so disunited, Rabbi Israel Goldstein declared Sunday morning before Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, Eighty-eighth street, West of Broadway.
“The Gentile world is surprised at the lack of Jewish unity in the face of the present emergencies,” Rabbi Goldstein said.
“We should give heed to the categorical imperative of unity which devolves upon us today. The Gentile world conceives the term ‘Jew’ as embracing more than religious kinship and as including racial and cultural community. All Jews would do well to escaping it as many have sought to do by ‘ipsedixit’ definitions of the term ‘Jew’ as a religious affiliation only.
“The time has come when we must be realists and acknowledge, accept and espouse all the implications of our Jewish identity.”