United States and Palestine Are Called ‘bright Spots for Jews’
Menu JTA Search

United States and Palestine Are Called ‘bright Spots for Jews’

Download PDF for this date

Palestine and America are the two bright spots of Jewish hope today, Judge William M. Lewis of Philadelphia told the Independent Order of Brith Sholom in his report as Grand Master, at the opening of the twenty-ninth annual convention today.

“Fifteen percent of the Jewish refugees from Germany,” Judge Lewis said, “have found a haven in that little land which cradles us as a people. Thousands of others eagerly await the opportunity of escaping to the Jewish homeland where they may find an end to their insecurity and wandering.

“In Palestine these men and women are received and accepted as immigrants and not as refugees. They are in domicile and not in exile. There is land; there are the possibilities in the Dead Sea concession; and there is thriving creative population of close to 300,000.

“The land is being built up by Jews. It is not another ghetto. It is not an annex to some one else’s culture, but a culture altogether Jewish. Today, when the very right of Jews to live is being challenged, Palestine stands out as the most hopeful solution to the seemingly never-ending Jewish problems.”


The Philadelphia Municipal Judge urged his brethren in America that “we must not lose faith in ourselves. The Jew must live more openly. The time for Jews anxious to demonstrate how un-Jewish they can be is over; it never should have been. Only in being himself can the Jew have prestige and dignity.”

Judge Lewis declared that “it is the duty of each of us to stand solidly by the side of those who would preserve the democratic constitutions in these United States. We must be ever alert and constantly on watch that America remain free from those fantastic heresies of the supremacy of any particular people or race.”

He pointed out that along this line Brith Sholom had organized the movement through which the Silver Shirts were denied legal sanction in Pennsylvania.


“The tide of intolerance, however,” he asserted, “is not on the ebb. Anti-Semtism seems to have no frontiers strong enough to repel it. The contagion of the movement, once it is on its way, spread to quarters where it never before had a foothold. It is not merely a local storm we are weathering, but a hurricane whose clouds have burst over Germany and threaten to engulf our people everywhere.

“In Germany a nation has suddenly repudiated the rules of Western civilization. Five hundred thousand of our people find themselves in a caldron dedicated to pagan gods, deprived of their elementary rights, ostracized by their former associates, insulted and humiliated, they are told to go on living, while every source of livelihood is removed. Once before was so ruthless a condition imposed on us—in ancient Egypt, when the Israelites were ordered to make bricks without straw.”


Reporting the transfer in the past year of 7,163 members of Brith Sholom to the “adequate class,” Judge Lewis reported the organization today “is a legal reserve fraternity that is sound from the standpoint of accepted, scientific, actuarial standards.” To those criticising it as an insurance group he pointed out that “economic security is a prerequisite to cultural activities.

“The Jewish problem cannot approach a solution without a proper emphasis on the economic factor.

The long and tragic history of the Jewish people indicates that whenever in any country a crisis arose, either through war or economic depression, there developed a consciousness of economic scarcity, quickly followed by a sense of the competition of the Jew, with resultant discrimination and persecution of our people, who were always available for scapegoats.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund