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Atlanta Rabbi Rebukes Negro Audience for Rejecting Jewish Help

Rabbi Jacob Rothschild of Atlanta’s Temple Israel warned a frequently hostile Negro audience here today that violent revolution and black separatism could not work and that he resented attempts “to bar me from the battle to achieve human rights.” He said “I do not like being told that this is not my battle.”

Rabbi Rothschild, a member of the Atlanta Community Relations Board, told the audience at the Hungry Club Forum that “as a Jew and as an American citizen, I am not going to forget my religious commitment in the face of black separatism, no more than I, as a Jew, did in the face of white segregationism.”

Hostile questioners asserted that merchants in the ghettoes were exploiting Negroes and charged also that Jews became involved in Negro rights movements for “selfish reasons” and perhaps to distract anti-Semitism. The rabbi told such hecklers that they did the Jew an injustice and that the answer to the Negro’s problems was not to destroy society but to create programs to bring them self-reliance and self-respect.