CAPE MAY, N.J. (Jun. 23)
Dr.Felix A. Levy of Chicago tonight attacked the validity of a Judaism originating in Jewish lodges, welfare and philanthropic organizations with he regard for the synagogue. He rendered his presidential message to the opening session of the forty-seventh convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis.
Addressing sharp criticism to Jewish activities that “flout religion and flaunt secularism,” he said:
“Lodge Judaism, despite the religious ritual of initiation and the synagogue affiliation of a portion, large or small, of the membership is no substitute for Jewish religious life. No fraternal order can speak for Israel and take the privilege that be longs to the synagogue alone.
“Philanthropic Judaism will soon be emptied of all Jewish content if the synagogue does not take control and show leadership, Rabbis must insist that no one not synagogue-minded and interested in religion has a right to any position of responsibility in the Jewish community.”
He urged a Jewish content of sermons, saying that “the rabbis’ function is not to discuss the latest play, moving picture or best-seller. The rabbinic office does not include the duties of college professor, dramatic critic and radio reader.”
Dr. Levy scored humanism, Fascism and Communism, blaming the world’s predicament on its having abandoned basic religious principles. Because Jews are fundamentally religious folk, he asserted, general secularization is more fatal to them. He urged the rabbis to lead the way back to a religious approach.
An address of welcome was given by Max Currick of Erie, Pa., vice-president. Memorial resolutions were passed for Jacob I. Meyer of Hazelton, Pa.; Rabbi Isador Isaacson of Hollywood, Calif, and Dr. Salo Stein of New York.
The conference will be in session for a week. It was organized in 1869 by Dr. Isaac M. Wise of Cincinnati. Approximately 200 rabbis from various parts of the country are attending.