By far the most illuminating account of the general Jewish position in Russia is contained in the impressions now appearing in The Day, New York Yiddish Daily, from the able pen of Mr. B. Z. Goldberg, associate editor of the paper. The impressions cover a wide field but notes referring to Jewish religion are of particular interest. Commenting on them, the Jewish Chronicle says:
He gives a graphic account of the difficulties that the Jew who wants to conform to Jewish religious rites encounters. Technically everyone is allowed to practice any religion, but actually anyone exercising such a right has to suffer the consequences. He cites many instances, and especially cases of Jews being deposed from important positions because it was discovered that owing to the family’s insistence their boy had been circumcised, even though the father was able to produce an alibi showing that he was absent from home when the ceremony was performed…. It is through economic pressure that religion, in any case on the wane as a result of heretical propaganda, has little prospect in the future. The Jewish religion in its old form has no future in Soviet Russia, according to the writer’s opinion. The present circumstances and tendencies are forces working against it. He, however, hastens to add that the Jewish religion has the advantage over other religions in that, apart from the religious element, there is that indefinable factor, the “Jewish spark,” which is national in character. It is true, he explains, that Jewish Communists have excommunicated Jewish nationalism, but in spite of it there is a national tendency among the common Jewish workers.
Whether the existing “Jewish spark” is capable of developing and absorbing some of the old forms of Judaism, the writer does not venture to answer. Those who believe in the Nezach Yisrael (Israel’s eternity) will of course not hesitate to answer in the affirmative.