Excerpts from outstanding sermons preached over the weekend follow:
Rabbi Louis I. Newman, Temple Rodeph Sholom, 7 West 83rd street: Any endeavor to capitalize the Jewish issue either on behalf of or against a candidate deserves to be discouraged to the utmost. As election time draws near, the issue upon which the voters should decide should be entirely divorced from racial or religious considerations. If a candidate enters the list with a view to capture a disgruntled racial minority, he is injecting an utterly irrelevant issue into the scene, and he should be discredited by everyone concerned.
SUPREMACY OF REASON
James Waterman Wise, Free Synagogue, Carnegie Hall: The prophetic significance of Soviet Russia is nowhere more strikingly indicated than in the supremacy accorded reason and intelligence in directing every department of life. As engineers and technicians apply the laws of logic and causality to projects which come within their field, so in Russia today one witnesses the determination to apply these laws to economic and social relations. Inherited customs, popular prejudices, immemorial habits are scrutinized and judged with all the detachment of the laboratory worker. This does not imply that all that is old and time-honored is for that reason outmoded and scrapped. But what sanctions exist are sane and rational. Whether it be in the organization of a prison system from which the motive of society’s revenge has been eliminated, or in the giving of information and advice on birth control and infant care, or in the organization of a new type of collective life either in an industrial center or in a rural district, critical intelligence reigns.
HAVEN FOR THE OPPRESSED
Rabbi William Margolis, Temple Ohab Zedek, 118 West 95th street: I would fain see America daring and undiplomatic enough to be, at last, a true democracy, throwing wide open her gates to the seekers after the American ideal of equality. If Roosevelt can hope to be the successful creator of a New Deal for the economically depressed, let him thus proclaim a fair deal to the racially oppressed. Roosevelt, America’s man of the hour, must at last respond to the inescapable call of justice, to re-proclaim freedom for those whom Hitler would enslave, by setting for the world’s ruler a courageous example that will hurl back into the throats of despots their unworthy challenge to the Jew’s right to live.
PRACTICE OF PREACHMENTS
Rabbi Jacob Bosniak, Ocean Parkway Jewish Center, 550 Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn: People are accustomed to think of the minister in terms of his fulfillment of this rule. He is usually judged by the principle whether he practices what he preaches. The fact is, however, that the Jew is guilty of not practicing what he preaches, at home, in the street, in politics and in social life, even more than in the pulpit.
EVILS OF SELFISHNESS
Rabbi Joseph Zeitlin, Temple Ansche Chesed, West End avenue at 100th street: The people of Sodom were notorious for their selfishness. The philosophy of the day was, “Every man for himself.” And because of this, destruction was inevitable. No society can exist when man is concerned only about his own person and is totally apathetic towards the welfare of his fellow beings. The recent message of President Roosevelt is most pertinent when he invites the cooperation of man with his neighbor. Recovery in an economic and a spiritual sense will come when we will realize that all of us are members of a great family which is built upon the philosophy of brotherhood. That is the method for progress and happiness.