CINCINNATI (Jan. 10)
Jewish nationalism came in for severe attack today at the fifth annual conference of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, while one speaker scored assimilation and another said most Jews would eventually assimilate.
Rabbi Solomon Goldman, of Chicago, addressing the dinner meeting at the Netherland Plaza Hotel concluding the three-day convention, said that in a century or two the Jews of Russia, France, Italy and Germany would largely disappear, and the majority of the Jews in the United States and England would be assimilated.
“American Jewry is preoccupied with goodwill and charity,” Dr. Goldman said. “These will not preserve us.” Regarding the future of Jewry in the Near East, he said that “the Jew is an oriental and will easily be re-orientalized.”
His assertion was in contrast to that of James Marshall, vice-president of the New York City Board of Education, who had said this afternoon: “The last twenty years have demonstrated that the bourgeois ideal of sneaking off into the interstices of Christian society — euphemistically called assimilation — is no go.” He called Zionism “the trembling tail to the kite of imperial ambitions.”
Emil Lederer, of the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research, New York, participating tonight in a discussion of “The Position of the Jew in the Modern World” with Dr. Goldman and Prof. Louis Finkelstein of the Jewish Theological Seminary, said that the Jews of Germany and Eastern Europe must emigrate, but that Palestine was no solution “even under the most favorable conditions.”
Dr. Finkelstein said the Jews were held within Judaism by outside forces and that there was a danger that they might develop a compensative bitterness toward their enemies. “I can think of no worse tragedy,” he said. “We must beware of a retreat into a cultural ghetto” and must reject secular nationalism. He added that Judaism was essentially a religion.
The Council decided last night to recommend to leaders of the Joint Distribution Committee and the United Palestine Appeal “that they arrive at a working agreement for 1938 which will make it possible to conduct uncompetitive campaigns in welfare fund cities.” Other speakers last night included Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, who has just been elected 1938 chairman of the U.P.A., and George Backer, vice-chairman of the J.D.C.