NEW YORK (May. 8)
The role of the Hebrew prophets and the Scriptures in the development of “moral insights” which, in turn, led to some of the outstanding legal and political decisions by Western civilization, were stressed here last night in an address by Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the United States, at a dinner marking the 80th anniversary of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.
Addressing 500 guests at the event, which followed a special convocation at which Justice Warren was inducted as the seminary’s first honorary fellow, the Chief Justice asserted that “without moral commitment on the part of the people to obey, the law is quite helpless.” He cited among the “moral insights implicit in the teachings of the Hebrew prophets” such universally accepted legal decisions as the practice of monogamy, and the creation of the Federal Union that led to the establishment of the United States of America under the inspiration of “teaching rooted in Scripture and 18th Century philosophy.”
The convocation at which Justice Warren was inducted into the initial honorary fellowship had been held earlier in a tent on the seminary quadrangle because a recent fire in the institution’s library had damaged its main building badly. Dr. Louis Finkelstein, chancellor of the Seminary, also conferred honorary degrees upon Dr. Robert F. Goheen, president of Princeton University; Prof. Isidor I. Rabi, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist; and Dr. Jonas E. Salk, director of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.
Five Jewish leaders were given by Dr. Finkelstein the seminary’s special 80th anniversary medal for “exemplary leadership in their endeavors to enrich the spiritual life of their communities and dedication to the high principles of Judaism.” The recipients of the medal were George Friedland, of Philadelphia; Samuel Lemberg and Mrs. Albert A. List, both of New York; Irving Schwartz, of Boston; and Miklos M. Sperling, of Indianapolis.