Tannersville, N. Y. (Jul. 3)
Jewish life in the United States is afflicted with a “plethora of organizations,” many of which might better fade out of the picture, Louis J. Moss of New York City, president of the United Synagogue of America, declared in the opening address before the thirty-fourth annual convention of the Rabbinical Assembly of the Jewish Theological Seminary here today. Rabbis from every section of the country comprised the gathering.
Moss expressed outspoken disapproval of what he regards as the tendency of American Jewry to channelize its activities through the machinery of a maze of organizations.
He decried the fact that “the synagogue has been relegated to a position of secondary influence.”
Hope that the “suppressed liberal forces in Germany will once more lead Germany back to civilization and sanity” was expressed tonight by Dr. Elias Margolis of Mount Vernon, N. Y., in his presidential message.
Dr. Margolis said that despite the fact that the situation of Jews in Germany appeared to be even worse than it was a year ago today, the prospects were, nevertheless, a shade brighter.
“This optimism,” he said, “is not based on the news which comes daily from Germany or the rift between the left and right wings of the Nazi group. Past experience, bitter and costly, bids us to be wary and to place no confidence in rumors and in what may turn out to be a vain hope.”
On the subject of unity among American Jews, Dr. Margolis urged the perfection of a “single and unified organism which will voice the will of the American Jew.”
Declaring that uniformity of American Jewish opinion was obviously beyond reach of achievement by “fiat or resolution,” he maintained that united action, despite diversity of opinion, was still possible. He pointed out that such action had already been initiated in the union of forces of the Joint Distribution Committee of Palestine Campaigns.
Unless united action was forthcoming, Dr. Margolis warned, “the synagogue in America, through its rabbinical and lay leaders working through its units in every Jewish community, will proceed to create and stimulate a Jewish public opinion which will in turn call into being a unified Democratic Jewish body which will speak and act for American Israel.”
Dr. Cyrus Adler, president of the Seminary, in a message expressing regret that his European trip prevents his presence at the conference, abjured the Jews in this country not to “concern yourselves overly much about the anti-Jewish feeling in America, at least not to the extent of engaging in protests and denunciations.”
“This inhuman Nazi assault is fast bringing its own nemesis,” his message said in part.
Another portion of Dr. Adler’s greeting declared that the great contribution that Jews of America can make toward promoting good will among all citizens in this country is that they themselves should set an example of living a complete and perfect life, according to Jewish religion and Jewish ethical concepts.
“Nothing else,” he continued, “will take the place of this and so I urge that the great part of your deliberations be devoted to the strengthening of the synagogue and of the religious school.
“I would also urge that you support in every way in your power all worthy movements which are intended to stamp out immorality in the United States; that you should not hesitate to join those of Roman Catholic and Protestant faiths who are doing valiant work in this direction.”
He also appealed to the members to cooperate with the Synagogue Council and the Seminar.
Moss, in his opening address, declared:
“Of the numerous ills which afflict Jewish life in America, one of the most aggravating is the plethora of organizations with which we are beset, each attempting to give expression to the so-called Jewish point of view. Each professes superior wisdom and often directly or through innuendo seeks to disparage, minimize or undervalue the other.
“I hold to the view that we have enough organizations already to meet any and all requirements and that there certainly is no need for any new ones.
“Moreover, I think if some of those now in existence were to fade out of the scene, Jewry would suffer no great loss.