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Synagogue Council Head Sees Anti-semitism As No Longer a ‘grave’ Issue

Anti-Semitism is no longer one of the “major or grave” issues facing the Jewish people today, and is “much reduced from what it was before the time of Hitler, ” Rabbi Seymour J. Cohen, of Chicago, president of the Synagogue Council of America, declared here this weekend. He made the statement in a press conference at the conclusion of a five-day parley held here under the auspices of the World Council of Churches, with 19 Christian and 10 Jewish leaders present from the United States, Europe and Israel.

Rabbi Cohen rejected the accuracy of reports holding that there has been a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe. He said that those reports stem often from the fact that, once in a while, some “idiot” paints an anti-Semitic slogan or desecrates a Jewish cemetery. He warned, however, that the fact that anti-Semitism was not a “grave” problem does not mean there were not still “some cesspools of hate which still have to be sealed off.”

Another of the Jewish representatives at the conference, Rabbi Balfour Brickner, representing the Reform movement in the United States, said that the fact that anti-Semitism had “barely been mentioned during the Christian-Jewish discussions here was indicative of that subject’s true place in the scale of values.” Rabbi Cohen, as president of the Synagogue Council of America, represented all three major Jewish denominations in the United States–Reform, Orthodox and Conservative.

Only one representative was present from a Communist country. He was Chief Rabbi Moshe Rosen, of Rumania. He assured Rabbi Cohen that the 120,000-member Jewish community of Rumania lived in an “easier atmosphere” than did the Jews in the Soviet Union or in other East European countries.

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