BOSTON (Nov. 16)
Delegates to the 75th anniversary convention of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations voted today to move the organization’s national headquarters from Cincinnati to New York City following a prolonged debate on the subject. In so doing, the 1,200 delegates upheld the recommendation of its Committee on Union Headquarters and the action of its executive board.
The argument in favor of New York, voiced by most speakers, was that it was the capital of American Jewry, and the home of the large masses of American Jews. Advocates of Cincinnati claimed that that city better represented the “grass roots” of America.
Addressing the convention last night, Dr. Abba Hillel Silver declared that Israel presents no problems of “dual loyalty” to American Jews. “The Jews of Israel,” he said, “will be Israeli citizens, and the Jews of the United States will be citizens of the United States, and similarly with Jews in other lands. Jews throughout the world will owe undivided allegiance to their respective countries and they will discharge loyally their full duties as citizens, as Jews have always done. But they will retain a special attachment to the land of Israel which will in no way interfere with their duties and obligations as citizens of their respective countries.”
The Zionist-anti-Zionist argument is over, Dr. Silver pointed out. “The state of Israel is here,” he said. He also emphasized that Israel will not become “a theocratic state.” The more orthodox, he said, may seek to establish again a central religious authority in Israel as in the days of old, with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel at its head, in the same manner as the international Catholic community has its religious center in Rome. If such a center is ever re-established, it will, of course, have authority only over those who will voluntarily recognize its authority either in Israel or outside.