An appeal to all Jews to cooperate with the United Synagogue of America in its campaign to eradicate mushroom synagogues was issued yesterday by Judge Hyman Reit, president of the New York branch of the United Synagogue.
“Deriving its name from the rapidity with which it springs up and flourishes during High Holy Days and the even greater rapidity with which its sponsors pocket their ill-gotten fruits and disappear when the holidays are over, the mushroom synagogue has again reared its ugly head,” Judge Reit’s statement declared.
“This year, thanks to the law sponsored by Senator Lazarus Joseph, commonly known as ‘Frauds on Religious Institutions Law,’ which passed the New York Legislature last June, the activities of some of the unscrupulous who have in other years preyed upon the religious fervor of the Jews has been somewhat curtailed.
“Unfortunately, however, this law, beneficial though it may be is not sufficiently drastic, for it contains many loopholes by means of which the promoters of these illegitimate synagogues can evade its provisions.
“The question then arises, if the law is not able to effectively cope with this fraud upon the Jewish public, what is to be done? To this I would answer that the best and most effective weapon is in the hands of the people themselvesâ€”to shun, as they would the plague, any so-called religious services without having positive assurance that such services are sponsored by regularly constituted congregations holding services not only during the High Holy Days, but throughout the year.
“Do not make a mockery of your religion by attending services during the holidays at theatres, halls and other places of assembly. Go a step farther; if you know or hear of the existence of any mushroom organization in your neighborhood, help to wipe it out by reporting it to the officials of a regularly constituted organization.”