Plan to Plug Loopholes Found in ‘mushroom’ Temples Law
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Plan to Plug Loopholes Found in ‘mushroom’ Temples Law

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Senator Lazarus Joseph, sponsor of the Frauds on Religious Institutions law directed against “mushroom” synagogues, will be petitioned to introduce at the special session of the Legislature an amendment intended to eradicate “loopholes” in the law, Bernard G. Richards, president of the Jewish Council of Greater New York, announced yesterday.

This decision was reached at a special meeting of the Council’s administrative committee in the offices of Carl Sherman, a vice-president of the Council, at 51 Madison avenue.

According to Richards the meeting was called after the Jewish Daily Bulletin, in a story published last week, disclosed “loopholes” in the Joseph law. The story pointed out that promoters of illegitimate synagogues could easily avoid prosecution by incorporating their establishments.

At the meeting it was emphasized, Richards said, that in most cases of incorporations of religious institutions, it is required that a Supreme Court justice shall approve the certificate of incorporation. This provides the opportunity of ascertaining its purpose and the personnel behind the organization.


But, it was further stated, in the case of ordinary synagogues any seven persons can get together, hold a meeting and incorporate a new congregation. Moreover, these same seven men can act as the organizers of any number of synagogues, without any restrictions being placed upon them.

“It would seem to be desirable to have the Joseph law so amended that some sanction of authority will be required to pass upon the character of any new organization,” the Council declared.

Other angles of the “mushroom” synagogue situation were also discussed at Monday’s meeting. The Council confirmed its previous stand that permanent synagogues must be the chief factor in providing a solution for the problem.


It was brought out that some Jewish sections of the city do not provide enough synagogues to accommodate all worshippers during the High Holy Days. Reiterating a previous statement, Richards declared that wherein such cases exist it should be the duty of permanent synagogues to help direct the worshippers to a number of “provisional” synagogues. A number of such “provisional” synagogues are to be provided by the Council, Richards said. Many permanent synagogues already have signified their intentions of cooperating in this plan.

According to the tentative plans outlined by Richards, the “provisional” synagogues will be set up in the halls of various Jewish institutions throughout the city. Tickets of admittance will be distributed by the parent body to those who cannot afford to pay. The aim of this plan is to relieve a difficult situation facing permanent synagogues and to obviate many “mushroom” synagogues which cater to this group of people.

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