Forty-five Reform Rabbis Jointly Repudiate Dr. Morgenstern’s Views on Palestine

Forty-five reform rabbis from all parts of the country, all alumni of the Hebrew Union College, today issued a joint statement deploring the views on Zionism and Palestine recently expressed by Dr. Julian Morgenstern, president of the Hebrew Union College.

The statement, made public by Rabbi Joshua of Boston, calls for the "establishment of Palestine as a Jewish Commonwealth with democracy, freedom and equal rights for all the inhabitants, Arab as well as Jews" It declares that Dr. Morgenstern’s remarks on Zionism and Palestine "appear to us as detrimental to the constructive solution of the problem of Jewish homelessness in this time of sorrow for world Israel."

"We believe," the statement says, "that Palestine as a Jewish Commonwealth is that constructive solution. It is for this reason that we profoundly disagree with the reported views of Dr. Morgenstern both on the necessity of Palestine and the nature of Zionism. We reject his view that Palestine will not be the most important and invaluable factor in the rehabilitation of the Jewish people. We likewise reject the idea that Jewish nationalism is in any way ‘practically identical with Nazi and Fascist theory.’ It is untrue and unfair so to characterize a movement which enjoys the loyalty of so many alumni of the Hebrew Union College, and in which they see great spiritual significance. The Central Conference of American Rabbis in its convention this past June passed a resolution which declared that Zionism and reform Judaism are not incompatible, a resolution which Dr. Morgenstern himself supported.

"We cannot help but regard it as tragic at this crucial hour in Jewish history for any obstacles to be placed in the way of the fulfillment of the Balfour Declaration, the free immigration of Jews to Palestine and the establishment of Palestine as a national home for hundreds of thousands of Jews who will need and will want to leave the haunted house of Eastern and central Europe that Hitler has created, and who can find their individual and collective restoration best in the ancient land of their fathers.

"We therefore vigorously dissent from Dr. Morgenstern’s viewpoint on Zionism and Palestine as it has been reported in the press of the country, and we affirm our equally vigorous support of the Palestine resolution adopted at the American Jewish Conference in September, a resolution which calls for the establishment of Palestine as a Jewish Commonwealth, with democracy, freedom, and equal rights for all of its inhabitants, Arab as well as Jew – a Commonwealth that alone can make possible a basic solution to the present Jewish tragedy."

The statement is signed, in addition to Rabbi Liehman, by the following Rabbi Morton M. Applebaum Rabbi Garry J. August, Rabbi Solomon N. Bazell, Rabbi Albert T. Bilgray, Rabbi Philip D. Bockstaber, Rabbi William G. Braude, Rabbi Barnett R. Brickner, Rabbi Frederick Doppelt, Rabbi Leon I. Fouer, Rabbi Herbert E. Droos, Rabbi Jerome D. Folkman, Rabbi Leon Fram, Rabbi Eric Friedland, Rabbi Milton L. Grafman, Rabbi Avery J. Grossfield, Rabbi Melbourne Harris, Rabbi Bernard Heller, Rabbi James G. Heller, Rabbi Jacob H. Kaplan, Rabbi Julius Kerman, Rabbi Arthur J. Lelyveld, Rabbi Hershel Levin, Rabbi Irving M. Levy, Rabbi Samson H. Levey, Rabbi Lee J. Levinger, Rabbi Felix A. Levy, Rabbi Theodore N. Bewis, Rabbi Maurice Lyons, Rabbi Samuel H. Markowitz, Rabbi S. Felix Mendelsohn, Rabbi Louis D. Mendoza, Rabbi Harry B. Pastor, Rabbi Jacob Polish, Rabbi Max Raisin, Rabbi Marius Ranson, Rabbi Efrain M. Rosenzweig, Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, Rabbi Phineas Smoller, Rabbi Merdecai M. Thurman, Rabbi Joshua Trachtenberg, Rabbi Jacob J. Weinstein, Rabbi Harvey E. Wessel, Rabbi Samuel Wahl, Rabbi Samwel Wolk.

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